Saturday, July 17, 2021

Alsace Wines’ Heart and Soul - Land Sustainability, Family Tradition and Food Compatibility #Winophiles #DrinkAlsace

I had attended the Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting® in June, which was not only a fun virtual event to taste so many wines from Alsace, France at the comfort of my own home, but also a fantastic opportunity to learn about the heart and soul of Alsace wines - Land Sustainability, Family Tradition and Food Compatibility. I went deep-dive into how sustainability gains momentum in Alsace, where 32% of the vineyard acres practices organic farming and over 4% of the acres are certified biodynamic in 2020. DOMAINE FREDERIC MOCHEL, DOMAINE JEAN-MARIE HAAG, and DOMAINE ALFRED WANTZ, which are at different stages of the organic and biodynamic journey, are featured in my "Land Sustainability" blog. Like a lot of domaines in France where winemaking is a family tradition, what makes the Alsace wine stories particularly engaging are the family-run businesses' willingness to modernize while continuing with the practice of ancestral wisdom. DOMAINE MELANIE PFISTER, MAISON JEAN HUTTARD, LES VIGNOBLES RUHLMANN-SCHUTZ, and LEON BEYER, which are featured in my "Family Tradition" blog, are some of the domaines that pass down the know-how of winemaking from generations after generations, as far back as from the 16th century, but still don't lose sight of tuning into the changing environments and consumers. In this blog, I'll get to do the most exciting part of the Alsace wine journey, enjoying Alsace wines and see how these wines take the centerstage of the recent causal elegant dining trends, which vegan, vegetarian, lighter foods, fresher alternatives, and ethnic cuisines are cool to serve at home and in causal restaurant settings. FRANÇOIS SCHMITT, SIPP MACK VINS D'ALSACE and MAISON PIERRE SPARR are some of the producers who beautifully showcase their wines with a gastronomic mind. Thanks to the Alsace wine samples provided by Teuwen Communications, I also get to taste some additional fantastic Alsace wines like the Domaine Andre Kientzler Riesling 2018, Albert Mann Pinot Blanc 2018 and Domaine Barmès-Buecher - Crèmant d'Alsace 2018. Without further ado, let's taste the wines...


François Schmitt, which owns around 33 acres of the vineyards, is located at Orschwihr nested on the south of Alsace's wine route, on the hillside of Bollenberg and Grand Cru Pfingstberg,  where limestone and clay soils are in the former village and sandstone and limestone soils are in the latter. Their philosophy is to let the wines express the terroir, through the practice of organic and biodynamic agriculture. 

AOC Alsace Grand Cru Pfingstberg Riesling 2017 Paradis Biodynamie
Taste: Minerality, texture, and salty finish.
Food Compatibility: Grilled or stir-fried vegetable medley, lightly fried seafood with mildly spicy aioli dipping sauces.

AOC Alsace Riesling 2019 Effenberg Biodynamie
Taste: Pronounced acidity, lemony, dense and complex palate.
Food Compatibility: Grilled or steamed shrimp, fish, clams, oysters, Korean seafood pancake

AOC Alsace Sylvaner 2019 Effenberg Biodynamie
Taste: Fresh, semi-dry, fuller-bodied, complex palate.
Food Compatibility: Thai stir-fried noodles such as Drunken Noodle, Pad Thai, Vietnamese lemon grass grilled shrimp or chicken.

AOC Alsace Pinot Noir 2019 Bollenberg Coeur De Bollenberg Biodynamie
Taste: Ripe and juicy fruit, dense and supple tannins, and oaky notes.
Food Compatibility: Soya-sauced braised chicken, Peking duck, cold noodles with shredded chicken.


The Sipp Mack Winery is nestled at the summit of Hunawihr, a picturesque wine village between Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr. Today, the family winery is run by Jacques and Laura Sipp and their daughter, Carolyn who joined the team since 2009. The family’s mission is to produce top-notched organic Alsace wines that express their varietal character consistently. The 63 acres of vineyards are predominantly calcareous clay soils indigenous to in Hunawihr, Ribeauvillé and Bergheim. The winery’s flagship wines are from the Grands Crus Rosacker and OsterbergIn excellent years, the winery also produces Late Harvest wines.

AOC Alsace Grand Cru Rosacker Riesling 2016 Rosacker Bio
Taste: Notes of flint on the nose, fresh red apple notes, zest of lemon, complex palate.
Food Compatibility: Mini Chinese puffs with ground curry beef, mini vegetable quiche, fried shrimp toast.

AOC Alsace Riesling 2018 Vieilles Vignes Bio
Taste: Lovely lemon blossom aromes on the nose, lively mouthfeel, a touch of minerality.
Food Compatibility: Chinese dim sum, fried tofu cubes with soya dipping sauce, sweet potato fries. 

AOC Alsace Gewurztraminer 2018 Vieilles Vignes Bio
Taste: Exotic fruit and rose on the nose, juicy mouth of lychees and mangoes, semi-dry. 
Food Compatibility: Spicy Korean chicken wings, Thai pineapple fried rice, Vietnamese summer shrimp roll with spicy and sour dipping sauce.

AOC Alsace Pinot Blanc 2019 Tradition Bio
Taste: Dry Pinot Blanc with apricot and citrus notes, long final with a crisp acidity. 
Food Compatibility: Steamed oyster with ginger and scallion, hummus with pita chips.


Maison Pierre Sparr is located in the heart of the Alsace wine region. While the domaine has 38 acres of its own vineyards, they also souce grapes from 325 acres of land managed by other experienced growers. The diversity of grapes from various combinations of soils and terriors propel a large porfolio of wines by Maison Pierre Sparr, ranging from sparkling Crémant, Late Harvests, Noble Rots, Clos Sainte Odile to high-end Grands Crus and fitting all the gastronomic needs and consumer budgets. The taste of the folllowing wines in the Maison Pierre Sparr attest to how food-friendly these wines are. In fact, Maison Pierre Sparr's website does offer great wine pairings to the foods and trends (i.e., Aperitif, fish and shellfish, poultry and white meatthat would impress even the pickiest foodies. 

AOC Alsace Riesling 2019 Sol Calcaire Raisonnée
Taste: Dry and elegant wine with hints of minerality, well-balanced and long lasting finish.

AOC Alsace Riesling 2019 Raisonnée
Taste: Aromas of fine minerals, ripe voluminous body on the palate.

AOC Alsace Grand Cru Mambourg Gewurztraminer 2018 Raisonnée
Taste: Expressive spices and fruit aromas, balanced sweet and acidity.

AOC Alsace Pinot Noir 2018 Clos Sainte Odile
Taste: Well-structured, red fruits on the nose, tart cranberry note on the palate.
Kientzler Riesling 2018 (SRP$19); Albert Mann Pinot Blanc 2018 (SRP$17); Domaine Barmès-Buecher - Crèmant d'Alsace 2018 (SRP$24)
- Widely Available in US (sales links below) 

Taste: Elegant floral and mineral notes,  full, ripe pear palate with lemon freshness, vibrant acidity,  fresh, dry, with a pure, tangy finish.

Taste: Distinctive acidity and fruit, slightly sharp pear fruit and petrol on the nose, sweet and sour chewy pear and mildly sweet white grapefruit flavor on the palate. 

Taste: This sparkler is a blend Pinot Gris 48%, Auxerrois 36%, and Chardonnay 16%. Bright, medium bodied, refreshing citrus, charming textures, fringed with brioche, meringue, and jasmine-blossom tea.

To enjoy more wines from Alsace, check out #Winophiles bloggers' Wine of Alsace posts...

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