One of my big goals this year was to attain the French Wine Scholar (FWS) certification. The classes started yesterday and Alsace was the first unit. We loved our trip there and we thought we’d use it as an excuse to reminisce about our adventures there.
Lesser known internationally in the wine game, this region produces some of my absolute favorite white wines. The dry Rieslings, Sylvaners and Pinot Gris not to mention the crèmant are good to spectacular. The bottles are a fun, unique shape as well. In fact, the pinot noir producers there would like to bend the “bottle shape” laws because they feel the bottle is hurting its status as a good pinot noir compared to elsewhere in the country. The class was chock full of information including one tidbit where the only non-Riesling AOC grand cru is a Sylvaner out of Zotzenberg. As luck would have it, we bought one there!
Here’s part 1 of 2 (maybe 3 or 4) on why we love Alsace and hopefully entice you to consider going!
Why we love Alsace: the architecture
Since this region has gone back and forth between France and Germany over the centuries, one immediately notices the dual cultural influences. For us it was the best of both worlds. Example: eating fresh pretzels with a glass of riesling in the market, how legit is that?
On a friend’s recommendation we stayed in an Airbnb in Colmar. The town of Colmar is a good base for exploring as it is smaller, but still has plenty of restaurants, winstubs, and nightlife. Colmar is the home of Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, so plenty of history in of itself.Our flat was right on the Quai Poissonerie (fish pier) overlooking the main street, canal and Les Halles (market) with a view of the cathedral. We could also see the Vosges mountains in the distance guarding all that wine!
The half timbered houses all with bright, cheerful colors–sometimes slightly askew sometimes top heavy due to tax reasons–and full of flower boxes outside the windows was as if you are living in Beauty and the Beast. That’s no accident, this area was the inspiration for that setting. Additionally, the signs outside each shop were so unique and there’s always something to look at. I’ll stop writing and let the pictures do the talking.
Next post we will trace our drive on the Alsace wine route