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Alsace with Jean Frederic Hugel


Jean Frederic talks to us about Alsace the wine region, with the Vosges mountains on one side and the Rhine on the other. The Vosges mountains, which peak at 1000 metres, protect the wine area from wind and rain but also provide water for the vineyards and oak for the barrels. Alsace is the driest wine region of France and has the perfect temperatures for growing grapes.

White grape varieties Riesling and Gewurztraminer define Alsace wines along with Pinot Gris and Muscat. But what makes them distinctly Alsatian in style? Jean Frederic Hugel tells us about the different styles, such as how Alscae Gewurztraminer is typically much more spicy than others, with flavours of ginger, anise, cinnamon and cardamon more dominant. Pinot Gris has a stone fruit character but with 5-10 years of ageing can develop more smoky, mushroom characters. Muscat is a little more floral and always vinified dry in Alsace, but its a difficult grape to grow and not as widely planted as the others. Nowadays there is less Sylvaner being grown however it is used as a blending grape and as a single varietal it is best drunk young. We touch on Pinot Noir but it only really does well in Alsace in a warm vintage.

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