Self-Guided Tour of Alsace, France
Alsace, which lies in northeastern France, is a hidden gem recognized for its highly fragrant, flowery, and spicy white wines, which account for more than 90% of the region’s output. Due to several historical transfers of ownership between France and Germany, the area has a distinctive history. German neighbors have a significant influence on the wines, and even the bottles have a fluted design similar to them. The semi-continental climate of Alsace is primarily sunny, hot, and dry. The vineyards are placed in a rain shadow and are well exposed to the sun, which is ideal for the slow-ripening grape varietals produced here. They are situated in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. The important grape varieties include Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Riesling, and Gewurtztraminer.
Alsace is a long, narrow wine region that extends from north to south, tucked between the Rhine River to the east and the Vosges Mountains to the west. There is a lot of sunshine during the day and a cold environment at night in this cool continental climate. It is one of the driest and sunniest wine-growing locations in the nation because the Vosge Mountain range generates a rain shadow effect that shields the vineyards from the majority of precipitation. This, together with the cool evenings, aids in the grapes’ retention of bracing acidity, which is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Alsatian wines.
View of Alsace
What is the Overview of Alsace?
One of France’s smallest regions is Alsace, which is located in the country’s far northeast. The Rhine, which forms a long natural border with Germany, and the Vosges mountains, to the west and east, respectively, are the two natural features that define this lovely and magical region. The attractive environment is a mixture of fortified towns, geranium-filled window boxes on half-timbered houses, lush farms, pretty vineyards, and deep woodlands.
The Route de Vin, which winds 112 kilometers along the Vosges mountain foothills, passes through numerous of these settlements. For those who prefer Alsatian wines like Riesling and Muscat, summer is a terrific season to travel because a wine festival is conducted every weekend in a new town. The Massif de Vosges national park, with its 3000km2 of gently rounded mountains and glacial lakes, is another beautiful region. A walker’s paradise, the beautiful Vallée de Munster is home to the town of Munster and its namesake cheese. You should put this amazing area on your list of places to visit.
What is the Best Time to Visit Alsace?
In Alsace, spring lasts from April through June. Villages are bursting with flowers, vineyards are turning green once more, and the temperature is moderate. That time is the best to visit Alsace.
What is the History of Alsace?
The Alsace Wine Route is France’s first wine route, having been established in 1953. Its history as a wine-producing region, however, is far older. Around the second century BC, after the Roman invasion, winemaking started in Alsace. However, winemaking did not start to play a significant role in Alsatian society as it is currently recognized until around the 12th century. But just like its culture, Alsace’s winemaking customs have evolved over time, frequently in response to invasions, wars, and changes in French and German control. The output and caliber of the wines from Alsace frequently reflected the harsh conditions that the region experienced.
But Alsace’s standing as a significant wine-producing region has gained ground since World War II. With the return of Alsatian rule to France after the war, the focus shifted to the cultivation of dry, premium wines. Alsace’s reputation grew along with the quality of its wines. The Alsatian Wine Route was founded in 1953, and less than ten years later, in 1962, the designation of Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) Alsace, and the region’s fame increased even further. Since then, more AOCs of distinction have been established, the vineyard area has increased, and the Alsace Wine Route has grown in popularity as a result.
What are the Subregions of Alsace?
The 15600-hectare Alsace wine area is further subdivided into two sub-regions:
- The Haut-Rhin, runs between Sélestat in the north and Thann in the south and stretches along the Vosges.
- The Bas-Rhin, which runs from Sélestat to Strasbourg.
They jointly produce 33 grand crus in the Haut-Rhin and 18 in the Bas-Rhin, totaling 51 great crus. Because these two sub-regions have such different terroirs, Alsace wines exhibit great diversity.
What are the Best Wine Grapes Grown In Alsace?
The “Noble” cépages Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer receive the vast majority of the acreage within the best sites in the Alsace region on the slopes flanking the eastern edge of the Vosges Mountains because they are the only four grape varieties allowed to produce grand cru wines in Alsace.
What are Historical Sites in Alsace?
- La Petite France
The old area of Strasbourg is a tranquil cluster of streets with cobblestones, upscale eateries, and structures from the 16th century.
- Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
Strasbourg’s most recognizable structure, this enormous cathedral, is an imposing example of Gothic architecture from the 13th century.
- Little Venice
The “little Venice” term most likely derives from the ancient alignment of the residences on either side of the river that runs through the southeast section of the city. This area begins behind the Kofhus and continues through the fish market district to the Turenne and Saint-Pierre bridges. It is thus at the start of the Krutenau, whose etymology refers to locations for market gardening outside of towns.
What are the Best Wineries in Alsace?
Alsace, which is known for its German-influenced white wines, is situated in the easternmost region of France in a valley along the Rhine River. The top wineries in Alsace make wines under three major AOCs: Crémant d’Alsace AOC for sparkling wines and Alsace Grand Cru AOC for white and rosé wines. Alsace AOC covers white, rosé, and red wines.
- Domaine Saint Remy
Since its founding in the little Alsatian village of Wettolsheim, five kilometers west of Colmar, the EHRHART family has been cultivating the region’s several terroirs. With a diversity of soils, Philippe and Corinne Ehrhart cultivate their 25 hectares throughout 11 different villages. Since 2010 and 2012, all wines have been biodynamically produced.
- Domaine Albert Seltz Winery
Visitors who enjoy wine are invited to enjoy themselves at Domaine Albert Seltz. In their welcoming tasting area with decor inspired by a 16th-century setting, you may hold private or business parties, weddings, seminars, birthdays, etc. Two enormous displays, each measuring 85 inches, are utilized to display their wines and other products.
Where Should I Eat in Alsace?
- L’Artisan du Wrap
This is a restaurant that specializes in Gastronomic & tasty WRAPS made by a chef with local & organic products from the season. It offers delectable meals, courteous service, and reasonable costs. It is situated on one of the craziest streets that runs beside the city canal.
- Guillaume Scheer – Les Plaisirs Gourmands
Chef Guillaume Scheer and his wife Charlotte cordially invite you to savor an amazing culinary experience in which the culinary expression of emotion is personal and creative. The Chef primarily collaborates with regional producers who assist him in his pursuit of perfection. The most exquisite Alsatian vineyards are included prominently on the wine list, along with the mouthwatering nectars of Burgundy.
Where Should I Stay in Alsace?
- Les Gîtes d’Adelspach Gîtes & Spa en Alsace
Les Gîtes d’Adelspach Gîtes & Spa en Alsace in Aubure provides lodging, free bicycles, a fitness center, a garden, BBQ grills, and a spa and wellness center. It also has garden views. The vacation rental has free private parking and WiFi. A balcony, a fully outfitted kitchen with a dishwasher, a seating space, a flat-screen TV, a washing machine, and a private bathroom with a hot tub and bathrobes are included in each unit. In addition, a kettle and a coffee maker are available, along with a fridge, microwave, and oven. The 4-star Les Gîtes d’Adelspach Gîtes & Spa in Alsace provides lodging with a hammam and a playground for kids.
- Hotel des Berges, Gourmet Restaurant & Spa
Hotel des Berges, Gourmet Restaurant & Spa
In Illhaeusern, the Hotel des Berges has a restaurant, an outdoor pool, a bar, and a garden. This hotel offers family rooms as well as a sun patio for visitors. An indoor pool, room service, and free WiFi are all provided by the hotel.
- Le Moon
Le Moon, located in Strasbourg on the banks of the Ill River, is a 5-minute stroll from the Rhine Palace, 350 meters from the Strasbourg Christmas Market, and 600 meters from the Cathedral. Each unit in the 19th-century building has a modern interior design. A satellite flat-screen TV with foreign channels is available in the accommodations. The Superior and Deluxe Apartments come with a dining room and a fully equipped kitchen, while the Studio Apartment only has a fridge, a microwave, and a Nespresso coffee maker. There are a private bathrooms available, as well as free Clarins toiletries and bathrobes. Le Moon provides towels for guests.
How Can I Save Money in Alsace?
Spend less money on Alsace trains. If you are on a tight budget, try to purchase your train tickets in Alsace, France.
Numerous discoveries are promised by the Alsace Wine Route. Follow your heart and appreciate the wide range of treats the Alsace Wine Route has to offer as you travel. You can try new experiences and activities to make your stay truly memorable, including biking through vineyards, strolling through picturesque villages, scaling castle walls, meeting winegrowers and learning about their craft, tasting Alsatian wines at a sensory workshop, and relaxing in a spa with views of the vines.
The Alsace Wine Route, which was formally established as a tourist route in 1953, meanders lovingly across 170 km of hills and vineyards from the region’s north to its south. It travels through over 119 wine-producing communities, where nearly 720 winemakers welcome you to share their enthusiasm for wine. The Alsace Wine Route is an authentic, joyous, and magnificent celebration of life that seems destined to last forever. The region is the finest for wine-tasting excursions because of its renowned wines and outstanding terroirs. The wine-producing region of Alsace, with its diverse mosaic of high-quality soils, finds its clearest expression in 51 Grands Crus, each the result of a tightly delineated territory that satisfies strictly regulated geological and climatic standards. These terroirs are a wonderful gift from nature, and those with the motivation and expertise to notice and utilize them will learn about many of their potential benefits. Outstanding wines are the result of an essential alchemy that expresses their history and character.
The Vibe: The charm of the Alsace Wine Route is found in its extraordinary topography and unparalleled beauty. It is completely picturesque and filled with medieval castles and characteristically vibrant Alsatian villages. You should go and discover this wonderful wine region for yourself.
- Alsace Wine Route website