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Visiting Alsace

france

#1

Hello!

I hear Alsace has one of the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, and we really love Alsace wine in our household too, so I’d love to visit next year. :smile:

Does anyone have any tips for places to stay and good restaurants (Michelin stars or otherwise!) - and advice on the time of year to visit? And has anyone ever visited any wineries in the region that they recommend? :fr: I think we’re planning on visiting Hugel and Trimbach but any others would be great - especially for some red wines too!


Does your interest in wine influence where you travel?
#2

I highly encourage you to visit Pierre at Rolly Gassmann - I really enjoy all their wines and Pierre REALLY knows the local ‘terroir’

If I am allowed a little bragging, I was asked to write a series on Alsace wines once upon a time and am still proud of this little section intended to encourage a new generation of wine & food lovers to explore the Gewurztraminer grape:

Gewurztraminer is a grape that is adored by its many fans, but equally can be off-putting to many others. It is immediately and overwhelming perfumed, with rose petals and exotic fruit. It isn’t just the aroma; the taste of great Gewurztraminer is not shy either, often a little higher in alcohol and therefore a bit more full-bodied, enveloping other tastes rather than freshening them as one might expect of a white wine.

Alsace Gewurztraminer is the Lady Gaga of the wine world – loved by its fans for its opulence, its flamboyance and its uniqueness, and yet at the same time this pageantry can also put people off at first glance. While the grape can combine sultry tones with bravado, some wine drinkers might find this overpowering, but we should remember that underneath that dazzling exterior is a serious and accomplished dancer, songwriter and businessperson that at the very least deserves our attention.

If you are prepared to look beyond initial appearances and enjoy a dramatic performance from time to time, give Gewurztraminer a go.
http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/alsace-wines-gewurztraminer


#3

It’s one of my favourite areas to visit, really lovely part of the world and particularly so in early September if the weather is still nice and walking through the vineyards watching the harvest.
Riquewihr and Ribeaville are 2 of my favourite villages with Hugel and Faller at Kaysersberg great spots for tastings.


#4

@laura I don’t have any recommedations for restaurants or hotels etc… and I’ve yet to go to Alsace… but it might be worth downloading the app Rue des Vignerons, you can then select by region and then vineyard you would like to visit. You make your appointment online effectively. Its a useful tool but obviously not all wineries are on there. If you fancied going during harvest there will be opportunities from some vineyards to help pick . Have a look, it may be useful for you.
Given the opportunity I would like to try some Pinot Noir. Up until recently it was difficult to get a good pigmentation development but due to climate change they’re reducing yields to maximise flavour and colour so its definitely one to watch.
I would also like to try a varietal Sylvanyer from Zoetzenberg.
Maybe Ill get there next year… some many wines…:joy:


#5

Domaine Boeckel’s Sylvaner Zotzenburg GC is really good! Earthy and intense. Also worth trying Klevener de Heiligenstein, which doesn’t get out of the area much. The top Hugel Pinot Noirs are good as are the Mure wines which the WS list!


#6

@NickFoster I really want to try Klevener de Heiligenstein, ive only ever tried the aromatic version of Savagnin rose so this is on my list… I feel a visit to Alsace is due :relaxed:


#7

I can recommend Christian Dock in Heiligenstein, just on the main street.


#8

I visited for a week in May 2012 and a week in September 2013, staying in Gites both times - In Barr and Mittelwihr respectively.

There are so many fantastic wineries that it’s impossible to do the region justice in a week, so I would recommend focusing on a handful of villages and a few producers in each.

I can’t wait to get back again!!


#9

Hi Laura, which ever time of the year you visit Alsace, you’re in for a treat. The villages are a bit hectic though during harvest time from September to November. Alsace is unique in many ways and possibly the only place in Europe that I know of, where you can have French cuisine with proper German portions.

I could make it a very long post by listing my endless recommendations. Instead, I will just mention what you must not miss and the rest will be left to your intuition and local input while you’re there. Although there are so many beautiful villages and towns, do not miss a drive along the Route Du Vin d’ Alsace and include at least a stop at the following: Strasbourg, Haut Koenigsbourg, Bergheim, Ribeauville, Riquewihr, Colmar (and Petite Venice), Eguisheim, Rouffach.

If you’re after a culinary experience to remember for a long time, try the 3-star L’Auberge de l’Ill (Illhaeusern). For a no frills meal but excellent food and value try the Le Comptoir A Manger in Strasbourg and the La Grenouille in Riquewihr. As is always the case in France, make sure to book well in advance.

As far as wineries go, a visit to the maverick Pierre Frick in Pfaffenheim is a must. The guy has elevated organic winemaking to a new level. Domaine Joseph Gruss and Leon Beyer (amazing old Brewery cellar where they store their wines) in Eguisheim, Domaine Schlumberger in Guebwiller, Doppf Au Moulin in Riquewihr (some of the best Cremants), Kuentz Bas in Husseren les Chateau (excellent Alsace Pinot Noir on top of the usual wines).


#10

Love the area and the wines. Last time there we stayed here and it was great! http://www.vins-meyer-eguisheim.com/en/meyer-jean-luc-estate.html

They make lovely wine, do b&b with lovely rooms and the breakfast is served in their wine tasting area. They do great tastings too. And top winery and TWS suppliers Leon Beyer also in the village.


#11

I’ve been there on day trips (!) from Viking river tours but a also week with our wine club.

Riquewihr is delightful mediavel town surrounded by vineyards. The town is used by movies because it doesn’t appear to have changed in centuries. It’s small and walled, easy and quick from one side to other.

Several well known wine houses are located there. We had booked a tour of Hugel. Now that is a Tardis like place, who’d believe that behind and below those ancient houses is the Hugel winery and that all the distinctive Hugel bottles you see around the world come out of those old doors.

To our suprise Etienne Hugel himself came out and spoke with us, and then led a leisurely tour that finished with a tasting. When he heard that most of us were TWS members, he spoke at length about what good people TWS is to do business with and then he started pulling out some special and some aged wines in addition for us to enjoy.

Such a shame he died suddenly and prematurely shortly after our visit


#12

You certainly wont go short for good food having been several times to the area and down through it to the south I can vouch for the food, everyone mentions the L’Auberge de I’LLL that has 3 stars, I have been there once, wonderful setting and site but for me the food was not as good as elsewhere in the region, it is as much a total experience and a very expensive one.
The best meal I/we have ever had was at the Caveau D’Eguisheim in the village of the same name, but that closed and the chef Jean-Christophe Perrin opened the L’Atevic at Hattistatt nearby, not having visited I cannot vouch for the same high quality as before but it is certainly worth a punt and a lot cheaper than the I’III .
The Au Potin in Barr is another worth making an effort to dine at, but there are so many it is worth just giving some of the others a go, very few “decorated” plate restaurants here you actually get food served, and a final have tried and enjoyed, in the Vosges the Restaurant La Cheneaudiere in Colroyla- Roche, amazing quality local produce.

Villages to visit, Eguisheim is considered by many to be the prettiest and although they all are touristy nowhere near as bad as Riquewihr and Bergheim is similar in that it is not as visited.
As an alternative to Hugel and Trimbach, try Leon Beyer, worth the trip to get some lovely Pinot Gris still something that is difficult to get at home yet in my humble opinion it is the best of the Alsace wines plus Domaine Weinbach for the same grape variety, autumn or spring are lovely and the crowds are less.
Oh and if your into automobiles the museum at Mulhouse is a must, the best car collection including the Schlumpf collection of Bugattis, drool worthy.


#13

For those who love Alsace, don’t miss our Travels in Wine Alsace special.


#14

I recommend the walk from Riquewihr to Hunawihr through the vineyards. A great contrast between a popular village and a working village. The Cave Cooperative Riesling of Hunawihr, sometimes available in the UK, is very attractive - rather reserved in style. Also the Musee Unterlinden at Colmar is not to be missed.


#15

Our Jo Locke (Alsace buyer) and Mahesh Bharwaney (regional merchandiser for Alsace) are in Alsace at the moment. How’s this for an itinerary?:
Château de Vaux, Domaine Mochel, Cattin, Beyer, Sipp, Trimbach, Co-op de Beblenheim, Dopff au Moulin, Boeckel, Josmeyer, Weinbach, Ginglinger, Sorg, Kuentz-Bas, Hugel, Zind Humbrecht, Rolly Gassmann, Muré, Rouffach, Dirler-Cadé, Bergholtz.


#16

All the replies here are excellent. My wife and I went to Alsace around Easter this year and stayed in the Hotel Au Riesling in Zellenberg, on the Route du Vin between Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé. It was reasonably priced and had some lovely wines available, and the food was extremely pleasant.

As well as seeing Hugel and Trimbach, I found Louis Sipp in Ribeavillé (about 200 metres from Trimbach) very good, especially their Pinot Gris. Edmond Rentz in Zellenberg were not world-class, but their crémant was good and well-priced, and their Pinot Noir was very nice as well.


#17

Had dinner at Hotel au Riesling when I was last in Alsace, only 5 minutes from Mittelwihr where our gite was.