This small, but extremely high quality wine producing region is one of my favourites – for a combination of wine, culture and cuisine. We first visited it in 2009, and in 2016 we returned, this time in the autumn. Over three days of visits in November we achieved some great insights into the variety of terroirs this wonderful region celebrates.
On Thursday morning we drove straight from Basel airport to Kientzheim for a tasting at Domaine Paul Blanck. Phillippe Blanck took us through 15 wines, a range of styles and qualities and inspired us with his passion and charm.
Our destination on Friday morning was Riquewihr, home to a number of well known wine estates. Our first stop was the tasting room at Hugel where we tasted an excellent cross section of wines culminating in the legendary 1999 Riesling Selection de Grains Nobles – a snip at €150 per bottle. From Hugel, we took a short walk down the hill to Brasserie du Vignoble for a fascinating tour of an artisanal brewery and a tasting of blonde, ambré and Weiss styles.
Back up the hill for a tasting lunch at d’Brendel restaurant which was very relaxed and then back on the coach for a short hop to Bergheim and a visit to the organic and biodynamic estate of Sylvie Spielmann. We tasted through a superb selection culminating in a real privilege – A Tokay Pinot Gris 1988 – her very first vintage!
On Saturday we headed north from Colmar to the picturesque small town of Andlau – crossing the border into the Bas-Rhin in the process. Andlau is a very important wine town and a number of well-known producers are located here.
Domaine Gresser was our first stop and Remy Gresser who I first met in 1997. Remy has become a pivotal figure in the local wine scene and is passionate and highly knowledgeable about the local history, dialects and the importance of teaching the world about Alsace wines. We tasted through a superb selection – particularly of Riesling Grand Crus – and we were totally engaged by Remy.
From Andlau, it was a short hop to the village of Mittelbergheim where we enjoyed a superb lunch at Restaurant Am Lindenplatz culminating in an assiette gourmande. All washed down with some delicious local Klevener de Hieligenstein.
It was then time for a walk, so we headed back to Andlau and took a very pleasurable amble around the town before finishing up in Domaine Andre Durrmann. Organic and biodynamic, it was a pleasure to be reacquainted with the characteristically crisp styles of the domaine.
Back to Colmar for a short rest and a final dinner at the historic Maison des Tetes brasserie.
What my clients said about my Alsace tours
“Tim’s wine tour to Alscace was quite superb. Wonderful Grand Cru wines accompanied by excellent local cuisine made the tour memorable. Our outdoor experiences in the vineyards with subsequent tastings demonstrated with great clarity the meaning of ‘Terroir’. Many thanks!” – Keith Grant, South Oxfordshire
“April 2009 was the first trip that my wife and I took with Tim’s wine tours and it left us very keen to repeat the experience in new locations. We stayed in Riquewihr with cobbled streets and superbly preserved timbered houses, a town classified one of the most beautiful villages in France. One of our favourite visits was to the famous Famille Hugel where Tim’s tour gave us access to fascinating artefacts, including a handwritten letter from Churchill, and some fabulous wines – including the marvellous Riesling, Hommage a Jean Hugel.” – John Ellis, Richmond
“I loved every moment of the 2009 Alsace tour. Tim had arranged for us to stay in the picturesque village of Riquewihr , which with its mixture of cobbled streets, wineries & restaurants was a great place to explore and relax in the evenings. Wine-wise, then true to form, Tim had laid on a quite eclectic mix of tastings, covering all the main Alsatian grape varieties, including both organic and bio-dynamic wine makers, and ranging from the bigger, well-known houses to the smaller, locally-known producers. Throughout all this, with his usual good humour, Tim helped us to understand and appreciate the wines, suggest food pairings, and give us an insight into the grapes, terroir and history of the area. Thank you Tim – a great experience and one I’d thoroughly recommend!” – Cerith Lewis, London