Alsace is a wine growing region in northeastern France that lays between the Rhine river and the Vosges mountains. Over 90% of the wines produced in Alsace are white grape varieties including; Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Sylvaner. Pinot Noir is the singular red grape variety produced in the region. The Alsace white wines are known for their true expression of varietal character and the terroir where they are grown. Alsatian white wines are typically dry with aromas and flavors of fruit, flower, or spice combined with noted minerality, acidity, and structure; making for food-friendly pairings.
This month along with my fellow French Winophiles we are exploring the wines of Alsace. Thanks to @DrinkAlsace, the coordinators of #AlsaceRocks for supplying many of the group with wine samples. The group was divided into three different themes; Group One Pinot Pinot Pinot received four different “Pinot” Wines, – A Crémant Pinot Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir, Group Two Terroir and Riesling received four Grand Crus wines from four different soils, and Group Three Food Pairing Challenge received a Crémant, Riesling, Pinot Gris/or Pinot Blanc, and a Gewurztraminer. Join our Twitter chat Saturday, June 16th at 11:00am ET using the hashtag #winophiles. Be sure to check out the blog posts from my fellow French Winophiles and their discoveries of Alsace based on their theme and wines at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: The wines in this post were provided by Alsace Wines. All opinions are my own.
I was part of the food pairing challenge and received the Alsace wines pictured below.
My Tasting Notes and Food Pairing Tips
Crémant d’ Alsace Pierre Sparr Brut Réserve
12.5% abv | $20.00 (sample) | 80% Pinot Blanc 20% Pinot Auxerrois
Light straw in color with fine persistent bubbles. Dry, medium+ acidity, medium body with a smooth, rich mouthfeel. Notes of citrus and minerals with a balanced elegant lingering finish.
Food Pairing Tip: The perfect aperitif and appetizer wine. Cheeses: Brie, Triple Crème, and goat cheese.
2016 Dopff & Irion Cuvée René Dopff Pinot Blanc
12.5% abv | $13.00 (sample) | 100% Pinot Blanc
Pale straw in color. Dry, medium acidity and body. Notes of citrus, stone fruit, and a hint of white pepper.
Food Pairing Tip: The refreshing crispness makes a nice pairing with appetizers, picnic fare and simply prepared dishes with poultry, fish, salad, even creamy based risotto, and the local specialty; tart flambée. Cheeses: Greek feta, Port Salut, and Saint André.
2015 Charles Baur Riesling Cuvée Charles
13% abv | $23.00 (sample) | 100% Riesling
Pale/medium straw in color. Dry, medium acidity and body. Notes of citrus and minerals.
Food Pairing Tip: The lean and refreshing Rieslings of Alsace are the perfect pairing with charcuterie made with smoked salty ham and smoked rich tasting sausages, spiced foods with mild curry, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, star of anise, cumin, or turmeric, picnic fare, shellfish and egg dishes. Cheeses: Mild blue cheese like Gorgonzola Dolcelatte and mild sheep’s milk cheeses. Indian Spiced Shrimp with Raita – recipe below.
2013 Domaine Pfister Gewurztraminer Tradition
13% abv | $30.00 (sample) | 100% Gewurztraminer
Pale/Medium straw in color. Off-dry, medium- acidity and medium+ body. Notes of honey, exotic spices, herbs, and floral.
Food Pairing Tip: Game birds like goose and duck, foie gras, pork and ham dishes, cuisines with spices like cloves, coriander, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and curry, not too sweet fruit chutney, fruit salsa, and pickled fruit. Cheeses: strong aged like Camembert, Epoisses, and Roquefort. Pork Tenderloin and Pickled Peaches – recipe below.
Pork tenderloin rubbed with Indian spices and served with pickled peaches makes a delicious pairing with Domaine Pfister Gewurztraminer from Alsace
- 2 and 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin, usually 2 tenderloins, remove any fat or silver skin
- 2 tablespoons Garam Masala
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup distilled white vinegar
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star of anise
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 2 lbs. peaches, slightly firm, peeled, pitted and quartered
Preheat the oven to 450F. Place a 12 inch cast iron skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl mix the Garam Masala, cumin, salt and pepper together.
Dry the pork tenderloins and lightly coat them with olive oil. Rub the tenderloins with the spice mix, coating all sides.
Carefully remove the preheated cast iron skillet from the oven with oven mits, and add olive oil to just coat the bottom of the skillet. Place the tenderloins in the pan and return it to the oven. Roast for 10 minutes and then turn the tenderloin to the other side. Reducing the oven temperature to 400F and roast for another 10-15 minutes. Internal temperature should be 140-145F. Remove from skillet and rest on cutting board, covered with foil for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve with pickled peaches.
In a stainless steel or enamel pot, add the sugar, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star of anise, black peppercorns, and 1/3 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the peaches. Cook without boiling for about 10-15 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, carefully spoon the peaches into a clean quart-size jar. Add the syrup and spices, filling to within 1/2 " of the top rim. Chill for about 4 hours before serving. Peaches will keep in the refrigerator for 2 months.
The Indian spices of coriander, cumin, and turmeric with the shrimp make for a nice pairing with a lean dry Riesling from Alsace.
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/8 + cup extra virgin olive oil plus one tablespoon olive oil for sauting the shrimp
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup Persian or English cucumber, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients for the shrimp and stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to three hours.
Remove the shrimp from the marinade. In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat add one tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is warm add the shrimp and sauté 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a serving platter.
In a small bowl combine all the Raita ingredients and stir well to mix. Serve with the shrimp as a dipping sauce.
For more blog posts on the wine and food of Alsace, check out my fellow French Winophiles ~
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “A Palette of Pinots – The Hues of Alsace”
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog shares “Pinot d’Alsace…Yes Please!”
- Rupal at Syrah Queen shares “Rockin Alsace With Pinots”
- Julia at Julia Coney shares “Alsace – Where Pinot Rocks!“
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Alsace Rocks the Summer Grilling Scene”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Alsace Wines in the American Kitchen”
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares “Alsatian Temptation: Wine from the Vosges Mountains in France“
- Jane at Always Ravenous shares “Tips and Recipes for Alsace Pairings”
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Alsace Pairing Challenge? Accepted!”
- Olivier at In Taste Buds We Trust shares “Taking gewürztraminer to a higher level”
- Michelle at Rockin Red Blog shares “Getting Dirty with Alsace Riesling“
- Payal at Keep the Peas shares “Alsace: A Geologist’s Dream”
- Jill at L’Occasion shares “A Riesling Experience: Nuanced Terroirs of Alsace”
- Liz at What’s in that Bottle shares “All in for Alsace Riesling”
- David at Cooking Chat shares “Pork and Cabbage Skillet with Riesling from Alsace”
- Gwen at Wine Predator shares “Alsace Rocks 4 Riesling With Fondue!”
A special thank you to Drink Alsace for supplying the wine samples.
“Perfect Pairings” by Evan Goldstein
“Daring Pairings” Evan Goldstein
“The Oxford Companion to Wine” Jancis Robinson