Romana Echensperger

Soil and climate

Heterogeneity is the central issue that makes the essence of Alsace difficult to grasp. It starts with the huge diversity of terroir. Alsace is a long strip of around 100 kilometers and is divided in Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin. Its macroclimate is influenced by the Vosges mountain range, which holds all clouds coming from the west making the region as dry as parts of Southern France. While the Bas-Rhin is less protected, due to the mountain range ...
Viticulture and grape varieties

Viticulture and grape varieties

Like everywhere else, Alsace had its troubles with viticulture in the 1960s and 1970s with too many pesticides and fertilizers, producing thin wines without soul and leaving dead soil in the vineyard. Since the 1990s growers in general have returned to more organic methods for different reasons. One was a more critical approach by consumers towards chemicals and the influence. Another was the strong “green” movement just across the border ...
Wine style and regional identity

Wine style and regional identity

Terroir is only one factor that influences the wine style in Alsace. As important as that and especially in Alsace is what kind of philosophy and personality the wine grower has. In Alsace the names of the growers are well-known and the fame is not necessarily connected with the region. You drink Riesling Clos St. Hune from Trimbach but are you thinking about Alsace as you sip from your glass? The reason is that Alsace is characterised by very...

Tradition doesn’t mean sweet

The impression that it is an Alsatian tradition to produce wines with residual sugar isn’t helpful for the regional image. Over the past decades, wine styles have become unpredictable, one of the biggest criticisms that can be levelled against Alsatian wines. Will the wine be dry, off-dry, semi-sweet, or sweet? One cannot tell when looking at the label and the efforts to put a scale on the label which shows the sweetness levels have to be co...

The Grand Cru System

As Olivier Humbrecht explains, Grand Cru wines in Alsace represent only 4% of the total production. As of 2007, when the single vineyard Kaefferkopf was added to the list, 51 Grand Cru vineyards have existed in Alsace. The concept of Grand Cru is relatively young, it started in 1975 when the first Grand Cru vineyard was classified, continued in 1983 with a list of 25 Grand Cru hillsides, followed by another 25 vineyards classified in 1985. The...
Some vintage information

Some vintage information

2011: Good vintage in a quaffable and faster developing way   2010: Good classical vintage with high acidity and good concentration   2009: Outstanding vintage - very healthy grapes and therefore pure varietal character – heat wave in summer could have caused in very poor soils some hydric stress. Overall less acidity than 2008.   2008: Outstanding classical vintage, no severe heat spe...

Time for a revival

You will only understand Alsace wines when you go to a local, traditional French restaurant. Here you get fabulous choucroute (sounds better and tastes more elegant than Sauerkraut…) served with hearty sausages, which fits perfectly with rich and savoury Alsatian Riesling. Smoked goose breast served on salad of lentils tastes heavenly with full-bodied, not too dry Pinot Gris....