Alsace is a province and region of north eastern France in the foothills of the Vosges mountains and centred around Strasbourg, along the Rhine, bordering Germany and comprising the departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin. It has benefited greatly from both French and German traditions.
Alsace is well known for its cabbages, sauerkraut, charcuterie, foie gras, baeckeoffe and kougelhopf.
The wines of Alsace are almost exclusively white and are unique in France in that, under the AOC regulations, they are known by the names of the Germanic grape varieties with which they are made, rather than vineyard areas. They are fragrant, dry wines which should be drunk young and fresh. The grapes are Chasselas, Sylvaner, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Muscat and Pinot Gris or Tokay d’Alsace. Pinot Noir is used for some light red or rosé wines. Wines from a mixture of grapes are called Edelzwicker, and a sparkling white wine is sold as Crémant d’Alsace (AC). Although vineyard names are rarely seen, a new classification of grand cru is being introduced for some of the best (e.g. the Kaefferkopf from Ammerschwihr and the Aporen from Riquewihr). Wines are sold in tall green bottles with sloping shoulders called flutes.