Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Do you know your Sylvaner from your Muscat? Your Pinot Gris from your Pinot Blanc? Here’s a quick and easy guide to the nine main varieties of grapes used in the production of various Alsace wines. We would wager that there may be one or two varietals here of which you’ve never heard.

article summary —

Most Alsace wines are varietals. This means that the wine is usually made from a single grape type. In Alsace, the name of the grape usually features prominently in the branding and wine label, setting a precedent which has been widely followed in the New World. There is just one red wine grape found in Alsace; it’s called the Pinot Noir. There are six main white wine grapes grown in Alsace; we list all six below but we also include two other white wine varietals — Chasselas and Auxerrois — which are found less often but warrant a mention as they are both very distinctive. You’ll find a select list of recommended Alsace wines, with affordable examples for each varietal, on our website.


Aficionados of German, Austrian or Australian Riesling may disagree, but our view is that in terms of value for money and sheer style, the Riesling wines of Alsace knock spots off the opposition. Expect powerful, dry, age-worthy whites, often characterized by citrus notes and orange zest, a pleasing minerality and refreshing acidity. At their best, Alsace Riesling wines show great finesse. For many devotees of Alsace wines, the Riesling is the king of the region’s grapes.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 63.