This series will follow the flow of the Loire River, France’s longest river at 629 miles. Today, we begin our travels as we flow upriver from the Atlantic and step off the boat to discover Pays Nantais and its star grape Melon.
True confession time: I’m starting my D3 studies ‘early’ because as I’m working through my D2, I’m finding that I need real life references as to how the D2—Wine Business—material works in today’s wine industry. It’s like fate that the below question came at the bottom of a newsletter from the Napa Valley Wine Academy. So, I’ve decided that, in an effort to connect the dots between D2 and D3, I’m going to ask this question of every region I study.
Explain how wine law and regulation influence the style, quality, and price of wines from Germany.
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…