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Gewurztraminer Wahlenbourg, Domaine Ginglinger 2017

White Wine from France - Alsace
A fine Alsace gewurz from an old parcel of vines and a vineyard which takes its name from the oldest of the three medieval castles of beautiful in Alsace. Limestone soils here bring citrus and yellow-fruit freshness to the wine, with hints of ginger, cinnamon and rose petal.
is no longer available
Code: AL14991

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • 3 - Dry, rich
  • Gewurztraminer
  • 13% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2022
  • Cork, natural

Alsace

The region of Alsace lies in the rain shadow of the Vosge mountains in north-eastern France, divided from Germany by the mighty Rhine River. With the Vosge peaks protecting it from prevailing, rain laden westerlies it is one of the driest and sunniest parts of France outside of the far south and is a wonderful place to grow grapes.

However, the wines of Alsace are sadly still often misunderstood. Their Germanic names, flute-shaped bottles, reminiscent of their Rhine and Mosel counterparts, and diversity of styles have all caused confusion and doubt in the minds of those consumers unfamiliar with them. Furthermore the pursuit of quality through lower yields and later harvests has come with higher levels of sweetness in many wines, though most are dry and eminently suitable for drinking with food.

In contrast to many French regions, Alsace labels are relatively easy to read for many a modern wine drinker, showing as they do the grape variety clearly. There are some multi-grape blends too, ...
The region of Alsace lies in the rain shadow of the Vosge mountains in north-eastern France, divided from Germany by the mighty Rhine River. With the Vosge peaks protecting it from prevailing, rain laden westerlies it is one of the driest and sunniest parts of France outside of the far south and is a wonderful place to grow grapes.

However, the wines of Alsace are sadly still often misunderstood. Their Germanic names, flute-shaped bottles, reminiscent of their Rhine and Mosel counterparts, and diversity of styles have all caused confusion and doubt in the minds of those consumers unfamiliar with them. Furthermore the pursuit of quality through lower yields and later harvests has come with higher levels of sweetness in many wines, though most are dry and eminently suitable for drinking with food.

In contrast to many French regions, Alsace labels are relatively easy to read for many a modern wine drinker, showing as they do the grape variety clearly. There are some multi-grape blends too, and give or take some pinot noir production almost all the wines are white. The hierarchy of appellations is simple to understand too, with AC Vin d’Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru and AC Cremant d’Alsace for sparkling wines being all you need to know.

Vendange Tardive and Sélection des Grains Nobles are two further designations within those classifications for wines made from later-harvested grapes that are higher in sugar and wines made from grapes affected by botrytis (aka noble rot) respectively.

Grand cru wines must be made with grapes from a named vineyard site of that designation harvested at lower yields than those permitted for AC Vin d’Alsace wines. Though they are not all equal in terms of quality and many were granted such status to satisfy local political demands, many of these sites are producing some of the greatest wines of the region. There are about 50 such grand cru sites in Alsace and wines from these sites can only be made from four noble varieties – riesling, muscat, pinot gris and gewurztraminer – though the grand cru vineyards themselves can be planted with any permitted variety.

Curiously, though, it is often the producer name and brand that is considered of higher importance than cru, and some producers do not use the name of a grand cru vineyard on the labels of wines made from those sites. Different producers are known for their house styles and it is often this, and the trusted quality of their ‘brands’, that attracts the savvy drinker.

The grape varieties are varied. Gewurztraminer is a grape that divides people into those who love it and those who hate it. Highly aromatic, with scents of lychee, rose petals and spice (gewürz is the German word for spice), sometimes very dry and sometimes richly sweet, gewurztraminer from Alsace can accommodate many difficult food pairings. They include Thai and other aromatic Asian foods, ginger-infused foods, and washed rind cheeses such as Munster.

Muscat, so often made to be sweet in other regions, is nearly always bone dry in Alsace. Perfumed and grapy, muscat makes an excellent aperitif and partner to asparagus.

Pinot blanc is an excellent everyday wine, not so aromatic, clean and round and often blended with auxerrois with which it share a similarly clean scent and flavour profile.

Pinot gris produces full, rich wines, less spicy than gewurztraminer and capable of long ageing. It can be a superb match for food, particularly roast goose, smoked fish, Oriental dishes and a varied cheeseboard.

Sylvaner is now an endangered species, being superseded by other varieties. It makes lively, refreshing whites with good acidity that in the best examples can age surprisingly gracefully. It is often drunk with food in Alsace restaurants, particularly onion tart, ham, bacon and pork.

Riesling is, for many cognoscenti, the region’s greatest wine. Here it produces dry, fuller-bodied styles with more rounded acidity. Like its lighter, often sweeter German counterparts, it develops great complexity with age, taking on its distinctive petrol aroma.

The red pinot noir grape ripens easily in Alsace and more and more wines are being made, with more substance, colour and aroma than their historical forbears. Some from the best producers are showing the ability to age well.

Please see our How to Buy Alsace Guide in the Wine World & News section of our website for a more detailed feature on the Alsace region.
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Domaine Ginglinger

Paul Ginglinger’s family has been making wine for an incredible 13 generations (since 1610!), and the current generation – Michel Ginglinger and his wife Loreto – took over from Paul in 2000.

The estate is located five miles south of Colmar in the village of Eguisheim, home to some of the oldest vineyards in Alsace, with records of vines here since the Roman times.

There are 13 hectares of vines in total, planted on east and south-east-facing slopes of marl-rich granite soils over clay, in what is described as ‘the sunniest corner of Alsace’. The vineyards are between 220 and 340 metres above sea level, and are protected from the winds by the foothills of the Vosges mountains. A portion of the estate’s vines are in two of the area’s grand cru vineyards, Eichberg and Pfersigberg.

Eichberg – situated at the foot of Eguisheim’s three castles – has a particularly hot and dry climate, and the vines are planted on gentle east and south-facing slopes of deep clay-marl and sandstone. It isn’t an easy vineyard to manage, and needs constant attention from the viticultural team. Pfersigberg has soft, well-drained soils of lime-rich marl over sandstone and muschelkalk – a mixture of limestone and dolomite rock.

The team manages the vineyards plot by plot, and although the domaine isn’t certified organic, it uses only organic treatments and no herbicides. The harvest is carried out by hand.

In the winery, Michel brings his experience from managing cellars in Burgundy, Champagne, South...
Paul Ginglinger’s family has been making wine for an incredible 13 generations (since 1610!), and the current generation – Michel Ginglinger and his wife Loreto – took over from Paul in 2000.

The estate is located five miles south of Colmar in the village of Eguisheim, home to some of the oldest vineyards in Alsace, with records of vines here since the Roman times.

There are 13 hectares of vines in total, planted on east and south-east-facing slopes of marl-rich granite soils over clay, in what is described as ‘the sunniest corner of Alsace’. The vineyards are between 220 and 340 metres above sea level, and are protected from the winds by the foothills of the Vosges mountains. A portion of the estate’s vines are in two of the area’s grand cru vineyards, Eichberg and Pfersigberg.

Eichberg – situated at the foot of Eguisheim’s three castles – has a particularly hot and dry climate, and the vines are planted on gentle east and south-facing slopes of deep clay-marl and sandstone. It isn’t an easy vineyard to manage, and needs constant attention from the viticultural team. Pfersigberg has soft, well-drained soils of lime-rich marl over sandstone and muschelkalk – a mixture of limestone and dolomite rock.

The team manages the vineyards plot by plot, and although the domaine isn’t certified organic, it uses only organic treatments and no herbicides. The harvest is carried out by hand.

In the winery, Michel brings his experience from managing cellars in Burgundy, Champagne, South Africa and Chile. Grapes are fed into tanks using just gravity, rather than pumps, which prevents over-handling. The wines spend some time ageing on their lees for adding refinement and strength of character.
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Alsace Vintage 2017

2017 is shaping up to be a cracking Alsace vintage across all grapes and all prices. A warm spring and warm summer led to good conditions at harvest and grapes of all varieties were harvested ripe and healthy. Because volumes were down this is not a vintage in plentiful supply, but partly as a result quality is high.

2017 vintage reviews

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