House: Rolly Gassmann
Name: Terroir des Chateaux Forts
Origin: Alsace, France
Price: 99 DKK/13,30 EUR/16,30 USD on winefamly.dk (market price: 195 DKK/26,20 EUR/32,10 USD)
Alsace as a wine region
Alsace is located in the north-eastern part of France, bordering with Germany. The influence of German proximity is very obvious in the names of the towns (Gueberschwihr, Rorschwihr etc.) or in the Alsatian dialect which sound like a mix of French and German.
Alsace is one of the only regions in France that use the name of the grape on the label. This is also supported by the legislation in the region. If label on your wine says Riesling, it has to be 100% Riesling. This is opposite to laws some other regions/countries. Back where I am from (Slovakia) and in some other French regions, you are allowed to mix up to 15% of some other grape into the wine and still call it by the name of the majority grape.
So what if Alsatian houses want to make a blend – cuveé?
Edelzwicker is Alsatian name for blended wine – cuveé. Edel stands for noble, zwicker stands for blend. The grapes used in Edelzwicker can be vinified together or separately and display of vintage is only optional.
The purpose of Edelzwicker is to show the top the house has to offer. Final product is a wine that represents the house (similar to Gemischter Satz in Austria).
And today, I am tasting one of these wines.
Terroir des Chateaux Forts
This wine is a blend of 25% Gewürztraminer and 75% Auxerrois. I would like to stop at the latter grape for a minute. Auxerrois is one of the most confusing grapes I have stumbled upon. It is the only grape that can be blended into Pinot Blanc and still call it Pinot Blanc. In fact, 100% Auxerrois can be labeled as Pinot Blanc. Origins of this grape are unknown. It is also a name of village in Chablis (pronounced differently) and in Cahors, it is a synonym of Malbec.
In Alsace, Auxerrois is dominantly used in Edelzwicker and Cremant d’Alsace where it is mixed with Pinot Blanc. But now, let’s get to the wine itself.
What I notice first is its rich golden color, thanks to the high percentage of Auxerrois. Nose is very fresh with a dominant lemon aroma. What surprised me a bit upon tasting is, that is wine is in the medium-sweet spectrum. However, thanks to the acid complementing the sugar in the wine, the sweetness is pleasant, rather than overwhelming. With a little bit sparkling taste, this quite thick wine has honey notes and very long and smooth aftertaste.
As many of the wines on my blog are, this was a new experience for me. Even though I am not a big fan of sweeter wines, I was pleasantly surprised by this lovely Edelzwicker. I recommend pairing with stronger cheese or spicy poultry. Keep cold at all times, sweetness in this wine gets a bit overwhelming with increased temperature.