Monday, July 05, 2010

Alsace...the Wine, the Food and its People !

So let me continue where my last post left off. This great French wine region, ideally located between the Vosges Mountains on their western boundary and the Rhine river on their eastern boundary, stretches along a beautiful wine route from Strasbourg in the north to Mulhouse at the southern end. Some of the greatest white wines in the world come from this region and I had the pleasure of tasting a lot of them during my recent visit.
Since in the title of this blog, I mention wine, food and people, let me begin with the people of Alsace.
So very friendly!
On my first visit to Alsace I met David Ling, the Export Director at Hugel et Fils in Riquewihr. David had been invited by the late, great Jean Hugel, for a training session, with a promise that "after the harvest" his future would be discussed. Only which harvest was never specified.
The long and the short of it is that David met and fell in love with a beautiful local girl and never left Alsace. Now back to who are the Alsace people. This description was given to David by a Canadian colonel, stationed at the airforce base in Lahr (across the river in Germany) which is now the Karisruhe-Baden airport. To quote his definition, the Alsace people are 100% Alsatian, 150% French, 100% European and 100% Germanic ( with an emphasis on the "ic" ), while the total of 450% explains their ego; 0. Well that is one man's opinion, but I think they are great!
Now to the middle part of my title ..."Food". Were the wines of Alsace created to match their wonderful cuisine? Or was it the other way around? All I know is. there are many food and wine matches and as the saying goes "are a match made in heaven" and a lot of them come from Alsace.

Finally the wonderful wines of Alsace. I am frustrated at the lack of Alsatian wines available to me here in BC.
I want to go into more details about the wines I tasted but will leave that for my next blog entry. But let me at least say that I was impressed with the great attempt to produce quality wines everywhere I visited. From the smallest to the largest, quality is number one concern. For instance, at the very sizable La Cave Des Vigneron De Pfaffeheim, and I quote "Every one of our wines is the object of scrupulous attention, from harvest to the moment the bottles leave our cellars." Pfaffenheim was started in 1957 by a small group of winemakers and today is a co-operative with 230 members. During harvest, the cellar master keeps a watchful eye on the quality of the grapes and the growers are paid accordingly. All grapes are picked by hand. The plastic containers used to transport the grapes are only half-filled, so that the berries do not get crushed. You can taste it in the end result.
Must go now, the sun is shining and I have a cold bottle of an Alsatian Riesling waiting for me.

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