Riesling is a grape variety, and also an Alsatian wine.
Riesling is on record as being planted in the Alsace region by 1477 when its quality was praised by the Duke of Lorraine. Today over a fifth of Alsace’s vineyards are covered with Riesling vines, mostly in the Haut-Rhin district, with the wine produced here being very different from neighboring German Riesling. This is partly from difference in the soil with the clay Alsatian soil being more dominately calcareous than the slate composition of Rheingau. The other differences come in wine making styles, with the Alsatian preferring more French-oriented methods that produce wines of higher alcohol content (normally around 12%) and more roundness due to longer time spent in the steel tanks. Alsace Riesling are never aged in oak barrels. In contrast to German wine laws, Alsatian rieslings can be chaptalized, a process in which the alcoholic content is increased through the addition of sugar to the must.
In contrast to other Alsatian wines, Rieslings in this area are usually not meant to be drunk young, but many are still best in the first years. Rieslings produced here tend to be mostly very dry with a cleansing acidity. They are thick bodied wines that coat the palate. These wines age exceptionally well with a quality vintage ageing up to 20 years. This is beneficial since the flavors in an Alsace wine will often open up after three years, developing softer and fruitier flavors. Riesling is very suitable for the late harvest Vendange Tardive and the botrytize Sélection de Grains Nobles, with good acidity keeping up the sweetness of the wine.
In addition to Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, Riesling is one of the acceptable varieties whose planting is allowed in Alsace’s grand cru sites.
Production sites : Haut-Rhin