C17 - Alsace Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in C17 - Alsace Deck (81):
1

What is the climate of Alsace?

Cool to moderate continental

2

What is a potential climatic threat to the region of Alsace?

Prevailing westerly rain-bearing winds

3

How is Alsace protected from the westerly winds?

By the Vosges Mountains

4

What is the rainfall like in Alsace? Explain this

Summers and autumns are warm and dry
There is very little cloud cover
The region is protected by the Vosges Mountains

5

What is the result on wines of the dry climate in Alsace?

Grapes can achieve high levels of sugar ripeness

6

What is a relatively unique climatic phenomenon in Alsace?

Occasional drought

7

Where are the best vineyards of Alsace located?

On the steepest slopes with east and south east aspects

8

Describe the northerly part of the Alsace vineyard area

It has the coolest climate and the least protection from the Vosges

9

Where are the lesser vineyards of Alsace?

On the plain between the Vosges foothills and the Rhine

10

What is the main use of grapes from the lesser vineyards of Alsace?

In Crémant d'Alsace

11

What is the soil like in the vineyards of the foothills of Alsace?

Very varied

12

Why is there so much soil variation in parts of Alsace?

It has experienced a dramatic geological history

13

What is the key factor in why there is so much variety in style in Alsace?

The geological variation

14

Grape growing practices in Alsace, vary depending on...

Whether the vineyards are on slopes or on the plain

15

Describe Alsatian vineyard practices on slopes

They are trained low to benefit from radiated heat
Rows are oriented to maximise the vines' exposure to the sun
Harvesting is done by hand

16

Describe Alsatian vineyard practices on the plains

Vines are trained high to minimise the risk of Spring frosts

17

What kind of viticulture is commonly practiced in Alsace?

Organic and Biodynamic

18

Why are Organic and Biodynamic viticulture popular in Alsace?

Low disease pressure in the sunny, dry conditions

19

What is the key logistical challenge faced by growers in Alsace?

Because they have a number of small plots of vines, each planted with different varieties, they will ripen at different times, therefore the vintage may be spread over a long period

20

Between which months does the Alsatian harvest usually last?

September - November/December

21

What are the most important/noble varieties of Alsace?

Riesling
Gewurztraminer
Pinot Gris
Muscat

22

Which varieties may be used for VT, grand cru and SGN wines in Alsace?

The noble varieties only

23

The vast majority of Alsace wines are made from...

Single varieties

24

What are Alsatian blended varieties usually made from?

Juice that was not selected for varietal wines

25

What does it mean when an Alsatian wine is labelled Edelzwicker or Gentil? How else may this be labelled?

A blended wine
A producer's brand name

26

Are all Alsatian blends of a basic quality?

No, some are very high quality, even being made from grand cru vineyards, but these are very rare

27

Why is winemaking in Alsace so focused on retaining aroma/varietal character?

Most of the varieties are aromatic

28

How do traditional Alsatian winemakers typically ferment their wines?

In large old oak barrels, typically more than 100 years old

29

What is notable about the old oak barrels sometimes used in Alsace?

The inside is lines with a thick layer of Tartrates

30

What is the effect of the tartrate deposits lining the inside of Alsatian barrels?

It prevents the wood from having any influence on the wine

31

What kind of vessel is used for modern fermentation in Alsace? What is the benefit of this?

Stainless steel
They facilitate the control of temperature at fermentation

32

Which winemaking practice is generally avoided in Alsace? Why?

MLF
It would mask the pure fruit flavours

33

When does bottling usually take place in Alsace? Why?

In the spring following the vintage
The wine is still young and fresh

34

Can Alsace wines be bottle-aged?

Many of them can, yes

35

What are the predominant sugar levels in Alsace wines?

Most are dry (with the exception of VT and SGN wines), but recently more and more - particularly grand cru wines - are being made with noticeable levels of sweetness

36

What is the problem with the increasing levels of sweetness in Alsace?

There is no official system for indicating sweetness levels

37

Describe the sweetness levels of VT wines in Alsace

They can range from dry to medium-sweet

38

Describe sugar levels in SGN wines

They are always sweet, though the influence of noble rot can vary from wine to wine

39

What is the most widely planted of the noble varieties in Alsace?

Riesling

40

Describe the flavour profile of the best Rieslings in Alsace

Medium to full-bodied
Dry
Medium alcohol
High acidity
Citrus and stone fruit
Pronounced steely/stony character

41

Contrary to its traditional style, many Alsace Rieslings are now being made with...

Some residual sugar

42

How do Alsace Rieslings typically differ from their German counterparts?

They don't typically shoe as much floral character

43

What aromas are typical from an Alsace Gewurztraminer?

Lychees
Roses
Sweet baking spices

44

Describe the appearance of the Gewurztraminer grape and its effect on the wine

The skin has a light pink tinge, giving a golden colour to some of the wines

45

Give the profile of Gewurztraminer wines

Full-bodied
Oily texture
High alcohol (14% is not uncommon)
Low to medium acidity

46

What is the profile of Alsace Pinot Gris?

Full-bodied and rich
High alcohol
More acidity than Gewurztraminer
Similar colour to Gewurztraminer but less aromatic
Pronounced flavour of fresh and dried fruits and a honeyed character

47

Which Muscat grape provides the best quality of the three in Alsace?

Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains

48

What is the flavour profile of MBAPG in Alsace?

Light to medium body
Low to medium acidity
Intensely aromatic
Orange blossom, Rose and Grape flavours

49

What is the viticultural hazard associated with growing MBAPG in Alsace?

It is prone to poor fruit set and rot

50

What is used as a more reliable alternative to MBAPG in Alsace? How does it compare with the former?

Muscat
Less aromatic

51

Give the most widely planted non-noble variety in Alsace

Pinot Blanc

52

On what kind of land is Pinot Blanc planted in Alsace?

In the more fertile soils of the plains

53

What is Pinot Blanc most commonly used for in Alsace?

Sparkling wine

54

Roughly describe still wines of Pinot Blanc in Alsace

Light, simple, refreshing and non-aromatic

55

Which Alsace grape is similar to Pinot Blanc but slightly spicier and more full-bodied?

Auxerrois

56

What is sometimes blended with Pinot Blanc in Alsace?

Auxerrois

57

Which Alsace grape variety used to be widely planted, but is making way for noble varieties?

Sylvaner

58

Roughly describe Sylvaner wines from Alsace

Delicately perfumed
Some richness (but less than Gewurztraminer)
Best drunk young

59

What is the only black variety permitted in Alsace?

Pinot Noir

60

Describe Alsace Pinot Noir

They lack the weight and concentration of Burgundy Pinot Noir
At their best, a light, fruity red/rosé

61

How do winemakers in Alsace sometimes force more concentrated flavours in Pinot Noir-based wines?

With new oak flavours

62

How many appellations are there in Alsace?

2

63

What are the principal appellations of Alsace?

Alsace
Alsace Grand Cru

64

What are the two other classifications in Alsace?

Vendanges Tardives
Sélection de Grains Nobles

65

What dictates the classifications VT and SGN?

Sugar ripeness

66

Which Alsace appellation can apply to use VT/SGN?

Both

67

How do producers in Alsace differentiate between the qualities of their wines?

With terms like Réserve personelle and Cuvée spéciale (these terms have no legal status)

68

Which appellation accounts for the majority of Alsace's production?

Alsace

69

What is the status of single variety wines within the Alsace appellation?

Most Alsace wines are single variety

70

What is key about the single variety wines of Alsace?

They are varietally labelled

71

What must apply if a wine is varietally labelled?

100% of grapes must be from that variety

72

Can villages be named on Alsace appellation wines?

Yes, some villages can for certain styles of wine, but this is rare

73

How many vineyards in Alsace have their own Grand Cru appellation?

Over fifty

74

What are the main rules applying to Alsace grand cru wines?

They must be produced from a single noble variety (with some exceptions)
The label must state vineyard, vintage and grape variety (where appropriate)

75

What is the controversy surrounding the grand cru appellation in Alsace?

Many producers believe the appellations to be too large and encompass land not worthy of the title

76

What is the meaning of Vendanges Tardives?

Late harvest

77

How may a wine qualify for Vendanges Tardives?

It must be made from a noble variety
It must have a specific minimum sugar ripeness depending on variety

78

How are the best VT wines of Alsace vinified?

They will have undergone passerillage
There may be some influence of noble rot

79

What are the principal rules applying to a wine being SGN?

Must be from a noble variety
Must have a minimum sugar ripeness depending on variety (higher than those of VT wines)

80

How are the higher necessary sugar ripeness levels required in SGN wines achieved?

Usually by noble rot

81

How often are SGN wines produced in Alsace? How much of it?

Not every year
In small quantities