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Alsace: Varietals or Terroir?


Craig Camp
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I have tasted these wines. When I saw them the first time, I noticed that no grape was mentioned. The wines are certainly not wimpy. I questioned the importer and was told that they were a "field blend". While I thought it was interesting, I also thought that I would have a hard time selling them. They are not cheap.

Mark

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I always thought that there was a wine that was a blend that was perfectly legal with INAO.

The vineyard that I used to import had a wine called Fruits de Mer. I am not sure how common Fruits de Mer is but it was a blend of all sorts - Sylvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc etc etc (I also want to add Chardonnay but am not sure any is allowed to be grown in Alsace).

I preume that Fruits de Mer is the vineyards particular blend but perhaps someone could enlighten me as Alsace is not my forte

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This style is called "Edelzwicker", which means "noble wine," and consists of a blend of the approved white Alsace grape varieties.

Rolly Gassman make a particularly nice one - "Terroirs des Chateaus Forts". I'm drinking the 2000 - luscious.

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OK - the Fruits de Mer was presumably an Edelzwicker.

If this is established already and approved then what are the discenting growers complaining about. Is there a difference in what Deiss is doing?

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I also want to add Chardonnay but am not sure any is allowed to be grown in Alsace).

I believe they are growing Chardonnay in Alsace in earnest, but I don't believe that it is currently approved for any AOCs. It would probably have to fall into the category of one of the vins de table, especially if labelled as a varietal wine which is rarely done, if ever. In fact, only cremant d'Alsace (the sparkling wine) may legally include Chardonnay in the blend. Edelzwicker, which is not legally defined, doesn't normally include Chardonnay.

Hope this little bit of arcana helps :)

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Chardonnay is planted in Alsace. It can be included in Cremant d'Alsace (which is an AOC), the sparkling wine made there, as Sparticus points out. I believe that Chardonnay formerly could be labelled Pinot Blanc, but I will have to wait until I have access to my library to verify that.

Edited by Claude Kolm/The Fine Wine Review (log)
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My notes say Chard can be grown but not labeled as such. It is labeled as Pinot Blanc. So I guess there are three types of Pinot Blanc no? PB, Auxerrois and Chardonnay. Anyway, delicious wines.

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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John -- My official sources say that the following can legally be sold as Pinot Blanc: Pinot Blanc (including Klevner), Tokay-Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir (vinified as a white wine) and Auxerrois. It appears, though, that you, as I, have been told of Chardonnays masquerading as Pinot Blanc in Alsace.

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For a few vintages Zind-Humbrecht bottled a Chardonnay. I had the 1994 (OK, almost Chablis-like, but not worth a $25 price tag). While not a great wine, it was a fun one to bring to offlines. :smile:

I asked Olivier Humbrecht about it at a store tasting. He said the authorities had come down on him and he couldn't sell it anymore. I think he said he had quite a few cases of the 1996 and an earlier vintage, his family was drinking them up (his dad's favorite).

It's a comparatively small plot, and they've gone back to putting it into the Pinot d'Alsace.

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