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Alsace: top white wines, from sparkling to sweet

In the northeast corner of France, the Alsace region is something of a hidden treasure for white wine lovers. Whether looking for a refreshing aperitif, a rich and complex sweet wine or something in between, Alsace offers fine and definitive expressions across the board – as evidenced by the many award winners at the Decanter World Wine Awards year after year.

Aromatic grape varieties, namely Alsace’s ‘noble’ Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat, are the region’s specialty. ‘Riesling in Alsace is great – it’s very terroir-driven,’ said Ronan Sayburn MS, Regional Chair for Alsace at DWWA 2020. ‘In Alsace you have a lot of soil types, so the expressions of Riesling in Alsace are fantastic.’

Ahead of judging, Sayburn continued: ‘I’m also looking forward to Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, even with residual sugar; and with Alsace, I’ll definitely be looking forward to the sweeter, vendange tardive styles.’

From sparkling to sweet, discover here which Alsace wines scored best at the 2020 competition…

The Best in Show

Gustave Lorentz, Vieilles Vignes Riesling Grand Cru Altenberg-de-Bergheim 2016

97 points, Best in Show
US$39.95 Envoyer, Woodland Hills
The golden mean: that’s what Alsace can offer to Riesling enthusiasts. A wine which is not raspingly or cuttingly dry, but not unctuously sweet either; a wine with backbone and structure, yet which can still tease and charm as only Riesling knows how. That’s what you’ll find in this grand cru version from the celebrated Altenberg de Bergheim vineyard: its sunny, south-facing marls have produced a tender, intricate yet roundcontoured version with scents of summer fruits and citrus peels, and limpid, vivacious flavours given gravity by a textured fullness and a little greensap at the finish. It’s a dry wine, but not demandingly so, and would drink well with food or without. Alcohol 13%

Aimé Stentz, Gewurztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles 2017

97 points, Best in Show
N/A UK www.vins-stentz.fr
Few varieties can run the gamut from dry to sweet as engagingly as Gewurztraminer, with its personality intact from start to finish. That personality, though, is broad enough to contain multitudes when the wine is well made – as here. Look out for a creamy softness in the aromas, as well as pressed rose and whipped cold-cream; there’s just a little lychee, but the ginger spice is very discreet. On the palate, the wine is rich, harmonious and gratifying, its sweetness saturated with aroma and thus lively and fresh. It has both acidity and the distinctive faint bitterness so typical of Gewurztraminer, and these bring more balance and poise to the lush and luxurious palate. Perfect late afternoon sipping. Alc 14.5%


Beblenheim, Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs Brut NV

95 points, Gold
N/A UK www.cave-beblenheim.com
Rich, complex nose of tropical fruit, vanilla custard and sweet spices. Gentle rolling mousse on the palate with rich flavours. Showing depth and longevity. Alc 12.5%

Beblenheim, Black Rose Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé NV

95 points, Gold
€12.90 www.cave-beblenheim.com
Elegant and attractive nose of white peach, apricot and nectarine. Vibrant and fresh acidity cuts through a creamy palate. Freshness right through to the finish. Alc 12.5%

Frey-Sohler, Crémant d’Alsace Riesling Brut NV

93 points, Silver
£16.50 Cavavin
Shows exotic fruit and floral aromas, with notes of blossom, pears and green apple skin. On the palate there is effervescent fizz along with bright acidity and a long finish. Alc 12.5%


Pfaff, Cuvée Jupiter Riesling 2019

95 points, Gold
£14 Myliko International
Lime zest and orange nose with touches and petrol. Taut acidity cutting through the fleshy palate leading to a long, dry and zesty finish. Alc 12.5%

Gustave Lorentz, Riesling Grand Cru Kanzlerberg 2016

94 points, Silver
N/A UK www.gustavelorentz.com
Precise and crisp nose of mandarin and lemon fruits. Elevated acidity with poise and complexity. Classy through to the finish. Alc 13%

Dopff-au-Moulin, Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 2017

93 points, Silver
£30.64 (2016) Wine Poole
Jasmine and white peach aromas with a taut grapefruit backbone. Weighty yet elegant on the palate with fresh acidity. Alc 13.5%

Domaine Fernand Engel, Riesling Grand Cru Praelatenberg 2017

93 points, Silver
£34.55 Tannico
Gun smoke and ripe yellow apple notes on the nose. Rich and full on the palate lifted by a firm acidity and mineral, orange citrus finish. Alc 14%

Lucien Albrecht, Riesling Grand Cru Spiegel 2017

93 points, Silver
N/A UK www.lucien-albrecht.com
Honeyed nose with hints of zesty orange. Ripe passion fruit on the palate with an intense character and spicy finish. Alc 12.9%


Dopff-au-Moulin, Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Brand 2018

97 points, Platinum
£28.70-£32.61 (2017) 23 Wine & Whiskey, Corking Wines, Exel, Fintry Wines, The Wineman
An exuberant wine with intensely aromatic lychee, pineapple and rose petal. Rich and intense on the palate with energetic acidity and deep complexity. Warming spice on a powerful long finish. Extremely classy wine. Alc 14%

Dopff & Irion, Château de Riquewihr, Les Sorcières Gewurztraminer 2017

96 points, Gold
N/A UK www.dopff-irion.com
Intense and aromatic nose of Seville marmalade, mango, lychee and saffron. Suave palate with exotic fruit, creamy and luscious texture with a powerful, long finish. Alc 13.5%

Lucien Albrecht, Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Spiegel 2017

96 points, Gold
N/A UK www.lucien-albrecht.com
Gloriously aromatic nose of guava, mango and spiced banana. Gentle rose petal with fine aromatics. Complex on the palate with an exceptional, long finish. Alc 13.9%

Vignoble des 2 Lunes, Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Hengst 2017

96 points, Gold
N/A UK www.vignobledes2lunes.fr
Ripe and rich orange marmalade and ginger spice on the nose. Intense and complex mouthfeel with a lick of racy acidity. Warm and spicy finish. Alc 15%

Dopff & Irion, Château de Riquewihr, Les Maquisards Pinot Gris 2017

95 points, Gold
N/A UK www.dopff-irion.com
Rich and buttery aromas with honeyed fruit and white pepper spice. Weighty palate with fleshy fruit to match. Long finish with rich, intense character. Alc 13.5%

Kirrenbourg, Roche Granitique Gewurztraminer 2018

94 points, Silver
€18 (2016) www.domainekirrenbourg.fr
Banana and sweet spice with notes of lychee tropical fruits. Full-bodied, deep and complex palate with saffron spice and honey. Alc 15%

Pfaff, Pinot Gris Grand Cru Steinert 2017

94 points, Silver
£22.50 Myliko International
Mango and tropical fruit aromas with touches of spice and citrus peel. Generous and concentrated palate with a long reaching finish. Alc 14%


Fernand Engel, Schofweg Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives 2018

97 points, Platinum
€35 www.fernand-engel.fr
Fabulously exotic nose of mango, spiced lychee and ripe orange zest. Rich and intense on the palate with complex and firm flavours. Long finish with plenty of potential to develop. Alc 12%

Jérôme Meyer, Plaisir du Vigneron Gewurztraminer 2018

97 points, Platinum
€17 (2016) www.vins-alsace-meyer.fr
Ripe apricot and gingerbread aromas laced with confit lemon and pear. Pure and lifted acidity on the palate with gorgeous fruit and mouthfeel. Long and floral on the finish: a sensational wine. Alc 12.5%

Pierre Sparr, Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Mambourg 2018

95 points, Gold
€14.50 (2017) www.vins-sparr.com
Intense nose of lychee, rosewater, mango and overripe banana with touches of spice. Splendid palate with smooth texture and rich, lovely fruit flavours. Delicious right through to the finish. Alc 13%

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