Anjou-Saumur, together with Touraine, make up the Middle Loire. (I feel like there’s a joke here about Middle Earth.) But, again for the benefit of my poor brain, I’m going to further separate these three regions (Anjou and Saumur really being two regions that are lumped together) into two separate posts.
Today I want to talk about Alsatian grapes—not Riesling-related. Riesling is accompanied by three other grapes in the “noble grape” category, namely Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat. These are the grapes that are permitted for Grand Cru wines (there are currently 51 Grand Crus in existence) and regulated wines such as Vendange tardive and Selection de grains nobles.
Would that I could have a bottle of every single wine variety. I bet I could learn a whole heap that way (not to mention have a whole heap of fun). But, alas, the money tree seems to be in its dormancy. So the title of this post is a bit mis-leading, as I won’t be physically tasting through these wines, but more putting together what I can gather from my readings about the style and structure typical to these varieties, as it pertains to German winemaking.
Afterwards, I want to take a walk through a few of the other notable wine producing regions of Germany and talk about what non-Riesling grapes thrive best there and why. Sound fun? Totally. Let’s go…
I think one of the reasons I like starting my Wine World studies with Germany is because it’s my backwards way of gearing up for one of my favorite French wine regions, Alsace. The two regions have much in common—one of them being Riesling. That’s why I thought, if I’m going to deep-dive into the stylistic difference’s of Germany’s most recognized wine grape, I’m absolutely going to compare how the expression(s) differ from it’s neighboring French region, where the variety wear’s the “noble grape” crown.
To explore those differences between the wines, we must (of course) explore what makes Alsace a unique wine region.