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Palette fatigue (Alsace, France – Day One)

In 2010 the Alsace region was one of the five I visited whilst I travelled in France for three weeks, and was thus the second region that I would be returning to in Europe. Much like Champagne it is quite a different sight to see in winter compared to summer, but unlike Champagne has its own natural beauty not reliant on vines covered with leaves. The region is as I remember it, and supported my comparison with the Pfalz region. It should be noted that Alsace is not Germany, nor is it really France. The people here are very relaxed and generous, and certainly more humble than their counterparts in other French wine regions. One similarity they have with their German neighbours is their focus on single varietal wines, and a lot of them. In my honest opinion there is not one outstanding variety like there is in the Pfalz, but three (riesling, pinot gris and gewürztraminer). Between the numerous varieties and the dry and sweet wines, along with the classifications of vineyards, each producer may have as many as 30 wines at any given time, which would suggest dilution and confusion. I think it is both fantastic for variety, and also challenging to be able to promote such varied styles.

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