Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Visit of the Vineyards of Alsace – Presented by Annette Schiller at the John Marshall Chapter of the American Wine Society, USA/ France

Picture: A Visit of the Vineyards of Alsace – Presented by Annette Schiller at the John Marshall Chapter of the American Wine Society, USA/ France

At the February tasting of the American Wine Society (John Marshall Chapter in Virginia), Annette Schiller, ombiasy PR & WineTours, took us on a vineyard tour of Alsace in the Barrel Room of Pearmund Vineyards, a leading Virginia wine producer.

Alsace is one of the several world class French wine regions, which produces many excellent still and sparkling, red and white wines, but above all it is highly appreciated for its unoaked, dry and crisp white wines.

See also:
The World Class Wines of Alsace
In the world class white wine region Alsace

Annette‘s Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours always spends a couple of days in Alsace and visits 2 or 3 wineries there.

See also:
Heads up for the 2017 Tours - to Germany and France - by ombiasy WineTours
Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

The John Marshall Chapter of the American Wine Society meets at Pearmund Cellars, a leading producer of Virginia wine, every 2nd Sunday of the month, 6:30pm.

Picture: Chris Pearmund at Pearmund Vineyards

Invitation

Alsace, in eastern France next to Germany, is not only one of the most beautiful places on Earth, it is also the source of some of France’s best wines. Reislings, Gewurzes, Cremants, Pinots – all flourish in the cooler climes here. And with the legendary German attention to detail (Alsace has been part of Germany several times over the centuries), you know the wines will be excellent. Crisp and bone-dry, these wines will give you lots to choose from, come summertime and warm weather.

Annette Schiller is an expert on wines French and German. A native of Germany, she graduated from the University of Mainz and took classes at the Oenological University in Geisenheim. Today she and her husband, Christian, lead wine tours thru Burgundy, Bordeaux, Germany, and yes, Alsace. Her presentation includes travel shots from her tours that showcase some of the heartbreakingly beautiful towns in Alsatian France.

Picture: "Social Wine" in the Tasting Room of Pearmund Vineyards

Alsace

Alsace is one of the several world class French wine regions, which produces many excellent still and sparkling, red and white wines, but above all it is highly appreciated for its unoaked, dry and crisp white wines. They tend to be different from those in the other parts of France: Higher in acidity, sometimes really sour, but always a pleasant experience to have them in the glass. And they go very well with the Alsatian food, which is also unique in France. The famous choucroute you find only there in France. But of course, you find it also in neighboring Germany, for example in Frankfurt am Main. Compared with Germany, which also is famous for its world class dry wines, Alsace wines tend to be drier, more full-bodied and higher in alcohol. Finally, sweeter white wines and red wines play only a minor role in Alsace, but they have a very good sparkling wine, the Cremant d’Alsace.

Picture: The 3 Protagonists - Charles Bearfighter Reddoor, who took the lead for the food, Chris Pearmund and Annette Schiller, who conducted the tasting seminar

Alsace sits in the northeast corner of France, sheltered by the Vosges mountains to the west and hard against the German border to the east. The vineyards reach from around Wissembourg in the north to Mulhouse, 70 miles south. Some 12 million cases are produced annually from 32,000 acres of vineyards.

Alsace is a fascinating amalgam of the German and French. The end of the 30 Years’ War in 1648 gave Alsace to France. In 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Alsace was taken by Germany. After World War I, it was once more part of France — until 1940, when Germany reclaimed it. With the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, Alsace became French yet again — and so it has remained. Wine production in Alsace traces its beginnings to the early centuries of the Roman Empire, when the Romans conquered Alsace and introduced wine.

Picture: Geeting Ready for the Event

One of the most intriguing characteristics of Alsace wines is that they are bottled under their varietal names, unlike virtually all other French wines. Four grape varieties are considered to be the best:(i) Riesling – like in Germany, the most celebrated grape; (ii) Muscat – often used to produce sweet wines in France, the Alsace version is bone-dry; (iii) Pinot Gris and (iv) Gewurztraminer –Alsace's signature grape. Three other white grape varieties are also grown: (i) Sylvaner – A high-yielding grape, producing a refreshing wine, often used for blends, (ii) Pinot Blanc and (iii) Chardonnay – used only for sparkling wine. In addition, Alsace does have a little red wine made from the Burgundy grape, Pinot Noir. The Alsatian red wines tend to be quite lightweight, but can be delicious and interesting.

Pictures: Tasting in the Barrel Room of Pearmund Vineyards

Alsace produces wines under three different appellations: (i) Appellation d'Origine Contrôlées (AOCs) for ¾ of the white, rosé and red wines, (ii) Alsace Grand Cru AOC for white wines from certain classified vineyards and (iii) Crémant d'Alsace AOC for sparkling wines. Alsace makes noble-sweet wines, but does not have the same reputation as Germany or Austria for its noble-sweet wines. I like the Edelzwicker from Alsace, which is blend and an easy to drink day to day wine.

Since the creation of the Grand Cru AOC in Alsace, a number of winemakers have however shunned the system. Maison Leon Beyer is one of the most notable names to do so. The issue Maison Leon Beyer has with the Grand Cru AOC is that in their view the Grand Cru vineyards in a number of cases have too extensive boundaries.

Pictures: Impressions from Alsace, January 2017

The Food

Under the leadership of Charles Bearfighter Reddoor, 4 had prepared typical, Alsatian food to go with the Alsacian wines. Alsatian cuisine shows the influence of near-by Germany. Using a great deal of pork in various forms, the food is hearty and filling. The most famous regional dish is choucroute, or sauerkraut, garnished with a variety of meats and served with potatoes. Alsace is also known for its tartes, particularly tarte à l'oignan. This quiche-like dish is often served with salad. Another sort of tart is the tarte flambée, or flammekueche. Think of it as a delicious Alsatian form of pizza, and make sure you eat some! There are lots of other pork and meat dishes, such as Baeckeoffe, a stew of three meats (beef, pork, and lamb) and potatoes, and about 10 spices, usually marinated in Riesling wine. Munster cheese is also used a lot in Alsatian cooking. The town of Munster is just about 20 kilometers southwest of Colmar. And of course there are various kinds of sausages—knacks, Strasbourg sausages, boudin (blood sausages), or Montbéliard, to name just a few. We had a selection of 4 different sausages.

Pictures: Alsatian Food and Wine

The Wines

The wines were selected under a tight budget constraint. The American Wine Society (John Marshall Chapter) charges 20 US$ for a tasting, whih needs to cover wine and food.

Albrecht, Crémant d'Alsace, Blanc de Blancs, Brut Réserve, NV

Picture: Albrecht, Crémant d'Alsace, Blanc de Blancs, Brut Réserve, NV

Picture: Christian Schiller with Marie Albrecht of Domaine Albrecht inWashington DC. See: The Wines of Domaine Lucien Albrecht and the Food of La Chaumiere in Washington DC, USA/France

See also: Tasting 3 Cremants d’Alsace from: Domaine Albert Mann, Domaine Pierre Sparr and Domaine Lucien Albrecht, France

Trimbach, Muscat Réserve, 2011

Picture: Trimbach, Muscat Réserve, 2011


Pictures: Christian Schiller with Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace. See: Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace (2011)

Pictures: Christian  Schiller and Annette Schiller with Jean Trimbach at Open Kitchen, Virginia, USA. See: Back in the Washington DC Area: Jean Trimbach Presented Maison Trimbach Wines at a Winemaker Dinner at Open Kitchen, USA (2013)

Picture: Annette and Christian Schiller and Steven Kent with Hubert Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in 2014. See: At Maison Trimbach in Alsace with Hubert Trimbach – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Domaine Ostertag, Les Vieilles Vignes de Sylvaner, 2013

Becker Family, Pinot Blanc, Pfalz, Germany, 2013

This is not an Alsatian wine. It is a wine from the Pfalz, the German wine region north of Alsace. Weingut Becker is one of the stars of German red wine. The winery is at the French German border and some of his vineyards are located across the border in Alsace.

Picture: Becker Family, Pinot Blanc, Pfalz, Germany, 2013

Pictures: At Weingut Friedrich Becker with Friedrich Becker sen. and Friedrich Becker jun. See: Wine Tasting at Weingut Friedrich Becker – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Trimbach, Pinot Blanc, 2011

Picture: Trimbach, Pinot Blanc, 2011

Domaine Weinbach, Riesling, 2014

Picture: Domaine Weinbach, Riesling, 2014

Picture: Christian Schiller and the Late Colette Faller at Domaine Weinbach. See: Visiting Colette Faller at Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg in Alsace

Pictures: At Domaine Wenbach with Catherine Faller.See: At Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg, Alsace, with Catherine Faller: Tasting and Tour – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

Dirler-Cadé, Edelzwicker, Réserve, 2013

Famille Hugel, Gentil, 2014

Picture: Famille Hugel, Gentil, 2014

Picture: Maison Hugel in Riquewihr. See also: Hugel et Fils Wines and the Cuisine des Emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace, France

Picture: Felix Meyer of Domaine Meyer-Fonne, Jean Frederic Hugel and Christian Schiller in Seattle. See: 5. Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State: Overview

Anne K., Pinot Gris, Schlossberg, Grand Cru, 2014

Picture: Anne K., Pinot Gris, Schlossberg, Grand Cru, 2014

Willm, Gewurztraminer, Réserve, 2014

Picture: Willm, Gewurztraminer, Réserve, 2014

Bye-bye

Picture: Annette Schiller and Chris Pearmund

schiller-Wine: Related Postings

Visiting Colette Faller at Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg in Alsace

Domaine Weinbach Wines and Alsatian Food with Winemaker Catherine Faller, Alsace, and Chef Jacques E. Haeringer, Virginia

The Grande Dame of Alsatian Wine, Colette Faller of Domaine Weinbach, Passed Away at Age 87, France

At Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg, Alsace, with Catherine Faller: Tasting and Tour – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

The World Class Wines of Alsace

In the world class white wine region Alsace

Heads up for the 2017 Tours - to Germany and France - by ombiasy WineTours

Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Tasting 3 Cremants d’Alsace from: Domaine Albert Mann, Domaine Pierre Sparr and Domaine Lucien Albrecht, France

Dinner at Restaurant Winstub Gilg in Mittelbergheim in Alsace, France

In the Glass: Hugel et Fils wines at the cuisine des emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace

Jean Trimbach and the Wines of Maison Trimbach in Washington DC

Visiting Yann-Leon Beyer at Maison Leon Beyer in Eguisheim in Alsace

Wine Tasting at Weingut Friedrich Becker – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

The Wines of Domaine Lucien Albrecht and the Food of La Chaumiere in Washington DC, USA/France

At Maison Trimbach in Alsace with Hubert Trimbach – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

A Feast with Jean Trimbach, Maison Trimbach in Alsace, and Chef Bart M. Vandaele at B Too in Washington DC, USA/France (2014)

Back in the Washington DC Area: Jean Trimbach Presented Maison Trimbach Wines at a Winemaker Dinner at Open Kitchen, USA (2013)

Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace (2011)

With Jean Trimbach from Domaine Trimbach, Alsace, at Bart M. Vandaele’s Belga Café in Washington DC (2011)

Jean Trimbach and the Wines of Maison Trimbach in Washington DC (2010)

5. Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State: Overview