Wine & Travel

Snooth User: vin0vin0

Trip Report - Alsace France

Posted by vin0vin0, Jun 9, 2016.

I'm starting this thread in order to drop a few notes and pics of the wine related portions of our Alsace trip. We're here with two other couples and although we have consumed a fair amount only a small portion of this trip is centered on wine.
 
The first problem we encountered was the lack of rental cars due to the railway workers strike. We hired a local guide to take us into the country side and visited two wineries. This was Sunday so the only places open were the larger ones. We started out at Pfaff, in Pfaffenheim, with an excellent tour of the facility led by one of the local winegrowers (the winegrowers take turns manning the tasting room on the weekends).
 
 
We tasted thru a half dozen offerings, most of which were nice but not overly inspiring. (Side note: Alsace only officially recognizes seven different grapes for their AOC wines - Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat d’Alsace, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir).
 
The second stop was in Equisheim at Wolfberger. No tour here but the tasting was much better. A number of Grand Cru wines (in Alsace, only Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat are authorized to be designated as Grand Cru) were offered, this Steingrubler Riesling was one of my fav's.
 
 
Yesterday we roamed the streets of Colmar and stumbled upon two wineries here in town, Domaine Martin Jund and Caveau Robert-Karcher.  The wines at both places were fine but not up to the Wolfberger GCs.
 
 
 
We're off to Ribeauville today where we have an appointment with Maison Trimbach, so stay tuned.

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Replies

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 9, 2016.

Nice start so far, hope Trimbach doesn't disappoint!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 9, 2016.

Thanks, VV.  Keep up the posts.  Looking like a lot of fun.

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Reply by EMark, Jun 9, 2016.

Excellent, v v.  Thanks.

Here's a question for you, or anybody else.  Am I correct in my understandingthat Alsace AOC rules require that the grape type be specified on the wine label with the exception blends which are labeled "Edelzwicker?"

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Reply by duncan 906, Jun 9, 2016.

Sounds like you are having a good time. Alsace is a part of France I have not been to.Enjoy yourselvesd

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 9, 2016.

Very interesting trip and lots of fun I bet!

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Reply by rckr1951, Jun 9, 2016.

EMARK - This is from Vins d'Alcase:

The wines of AOC Alsace, in which the grape variety typically appears on the label, are comprised of 100% of that varietal. Where not indicated, the wine is typically a blend of several grape varietals, sometimes called “Edelzwicker” or “Gentil”, or bearing a brand name. 

I had a few with the "Gentil"on the label but none with the “Edelzwicker” moniker.

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Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 9, 2016.

Emark, we were told today that Alsatian wines are 100% of the grape variety on the label, none of this 75% stuff here. Edelzwicker is a white blend which can be any combo of whites.

We had a great time in Ribeauville today. One thing that really struck me on the bus ride from Colmar was the vastness of the vineyards. It's hard to convey in a picture but here you go.

We had a 4 pm appt. with Maison Trimbach but got there around noon to check out the town and maybe fit in another tasting or two. Duh, we should know by now that everything except the restaurants and cheesy tourist shops close between 12 and 2, so we had a 1 1/2 hour lunch and a nice walk. We found ourselves outside of the Louis Sipp winery and decided to head in. Thirteen dry wines and three cremants later we were all walking with smiles on our faces. The Rieslings here, especially a couple of the Grand Crus and an old vine (vieilles vignes) were mighty fine. These Rieslings are bone dry with fantastic aromatics, lemon, green apple, bright acidity and long finishes.

On to Trimbach. We didn't get quite the number of wines to taste here, so we focused on the Rieslings and Pinot Gris. We recognized the familiar yellow label from our big box wine store so we mainly went for the reserves and reserve personelle. All of these wines were very good but somehow paled in comparison to the Sipp wines we had earlier. A bit of a letdown as Trimbach has received huge accolades from the big boys.

Just a few more pics from Ribeauville and the surrounding area:

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Reply by rckr1951, Jun 9, 2016.

Man - those pics are excellent - having a blast no doubt.

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Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 11, 2016.
Yesterday was Kientzheim day.
 
I looked into renting a car for a day trip, went to the Avis web site and saw some fairly high rates for some very small cars $50-$70 for one day. Decided that the price was a bit steep but clicked a bit further in the booking process. When I got near the last step the "extra" charges showed up - more than doubling the price!!!  Thankfully the public transportation here is excellent and we had no trouble getting to our destination comfortably and on time.
 
Kientzheim is another small village along the route des vins d'Alsace, not near as big as Ribeauville but still a cool place with a couple restaurants and a number of wineries.
 
 
 
After an enjoyable lunch we headed out for our 2:30 pm appt. at Domaine Paul Blanck. Folks around here don't fool around with their tastings. We must have sampled up to 18 different wines, some of their classics, lieux-dits, a good number of grand cru and a vendage tardive. When I asked about tasting fees all I got was a blank stare - not heard of around here. All of these wines were excellent and each one was just a bit different from the other. I'm really digging the Rieslings here, some are bright and acidic with a good bit of citrus and green apple, others are more subtle, showing more body, less bite but still with a good bit of bracing acid to add an edge to the rounds.
 
 
 
After Paul Blanck we walked towards Kaysersberg where I had previously scoped out Domaine Weinbach. We didn't have a lot of time before the last bus so we did a bit of a speed tasting, pinot gris, blanc, gewurtz, riesling and a late harvest riesling. These were all some of the best wines we tasted during this trip. These were also some of the more expensive but for 31 euros, I was more than happy to grab a bottle of their 2012 Schlossberg Grand Cru Riesling. We could see the vineyard from the tasting room which made this taste just that much better.
 
 
 
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Reply by EMark, Jun 11, 2016.

Still loving the updates, v v.

I think Snooth is messing with their system, this weekend.  I am finding it to be painfully slow.  Also, it appears that pictures that are being added, today (v v's, above, and Mjet's, over in another thread) are not displaying.

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Reply by MJET, Jun 11, 2016.

VV-look's great! Thanks for sharing! 

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 11, 2016.

Weinbach is good, as mentioned earlier. And so are so many of the rieslings in the area; glad to see you're enjoying them. Took me a few encounters to adjust to them since I teethed on German rieslings, but very much enjoy their style for a long time now. No one getting on the gewurtz or pinot blanc or even sylvaner bandwagon?

Need to remember that those highway-robbery tasting charges in Napa, etc. are a fairly recent occurrence. I don't think I've paid tasting fees in even 5% of all the winery tastings I've done, and that's since the 1970s in a couple dozen countries. Those charging were almost entirely in California and neighboring states over the last decade or two.

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Reply by rckr1951, Jun 11, 2016.

I agree with both assessments on the site as I'd love to see this wonderful pics.

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Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 12, 2016.

Glad to see the picture issue has been resolved. Here are a few more shots that I really liked. We were only able to check out a very small portion of the wine route which stretches North to South for about 100 km.

View from our apartment.

Colmar - 
 
 
Self serve pizza - 
 
 
Strasbourg
 
 
All in all, a great trip with fantastic friends in an awesome setting with world class wines!
 
All in all, a great trip with fantastic friends in an awesome setting with world class wines!
 
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Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 17, 2016.

Yeah, it's back! Thanks Mark A. for the fix, sorry I broke Snooth.

DM, next after the rieslings it was pretty much a tie between the spicy, aromatic gewurtraminers and the dry but fruit forward pinot gris'. The sylvaner and pinot blanc were very good as well, just not nearly as complex. On the other hand we also had some really good muscat, everyone said this is the wine to drink with asparagus.

 

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 17, 2016.

Great! Pictures look vibrant, can definitely see the German influence.

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 17, 2016.

The area (and especially a town like Riquewihr) really does have that medieval fairy-tale village ambiance down pat, even while hosting not only a successful tourist but also wine, other agriculture (asparagus and foie gras) and automotive (Peugeot) industries. Alsace together with castles along both the Loire and the Rhine (as well as Mosel), provided lots of inspiration to the Disney folk...

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Reply by EMark, Jun 17, 2016.

Did you try the pizza?

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Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 17, 2016.

Emark, I wanted to but we saw that dispensing machine when we were on a tour. We didn't see any others on our walks. I'm very curious to know if you can specify toppings, crust and cheese or if you just get what they have queued up.

DM, the small towns were definitely a pleasure to stroll through. We passedthrough Riquewihr but didn't stop. We did do a half day each in Kientzheim and Ribeauville, both of which were thoroughly enjoyable.

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 17, 2016.

No 'onion tarts' in the restaurants?

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