There is quite a competitive set of wine regions that could compete to be both the most idyllic, but also the best at producing wine in the world. But with its combination of castles, towers and pretty villages, plus its spectacular range of white wines, serious Pinot Noirs and characterful Crémants, then Alsace would have to be one of the favourites. As we are currently not allowed to travel to see Alsace for ourselves, Les Vins d’Alsace has come up with its first DigiTasting® event that offers buyers the chance to meet producers online for one-to-one personal tastings, as well as pre-order samples to taste and take part in masterclasses and debates. Richard Siddle explains how it is going to work.
Discover why Alsace is amongst the best in the world for producing such a diverse range of wines and styles from multiple terroirs, soils and climates at the first Les Vins d’Alsace Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting® event that runs from June 7-9.
(Find out more and register for your Millésimes Alsace tasting kits kits here. )
“Alsace is one of the great, under-appreciated treasures of the wine world,” is how Jancis Robinson MW introduces her section on Alsace on her Purple Pages website. A wine region that is as much loved by wine connoisseurs, trade buyers and sommeliers as much as it is by top chefs, food lovers and gastronomic experts thanks to the large number of Michelin restaurants that have found great success in the region.
But what makes it such a coveted and unique place to make wine? Part of that answer lies in Alsace’s proud claim to be the most geologically diverse wine region in the world, made up of 13 different soil types, covering 119 different communes, and 15,500 hectares of AOC vineyards.
It is that vast tapestry of wine growing areas, and the wines they produce, that has made the region one of the most sought after amongst buyers and sommeliers looking for wines that can stand out, offer something that is both different and unique, but also deliver on quality, consistency, style and taste.
A reputation that makes it one of the must–have wine regions on any premium, discerning and award–winning wine list. Ask 100 sommeliers to name their favourite wine region in the world and don’t be surprised to see Alsace top of the list.
Gift of diversity
For it really is the gift that keeps on giving thanks to, yes, the diversity of its soils, but also the fact its vines are all grown between 200m and 400m above sea level on the sheltered slopes of the Vosges mountain range, nestled alongside the Rhine river.
Unique climate and growing conditions which means Alsace grapes have to cope with extreme low levels of rainfall – around 650mm a year – and continental temperatures that mean hot summers, cold winters and big swings in day and night conditions in the key weeks leading up to harvest.
Factors that all come together to give wine buyers the choice of wines that offer a wide variety of fresh wines packed with vivid acidity, complex aromas and the opulent, rich fruit characteristics that Alsace is world famous for. A region that is blessed with 51 Grand Cru sites and the Vendanges Tardives and Selections de Grains Nobles late harvest style wines.
When buyers come looking for the “treasures” that Jancis Robinson says Alsace has, then it is the diverse range of white wines, noticeably its “late ripening”, aged Rieslings, “full-bodied” Gewürztraminers, Pinot Gris (“delightfully smoky and exotic,” says Robinson), Muscats and Sylvaners, that buyers and sommeliers are looking for. But it is also now gaining an international reputation for its “dry, refreshing” style of Crémant, and increasingly “weightier” vintages of Pinot Noir.
Taste for yourself
Buyers now have the opportunity to discover all that has Alsace to offer thanks to the new online platform that Les Vins d’Alsace has devised for its inaugural Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting® event – a chance for buyers and producers and winemakers to come together online between June 7-9.
Up to 100 Alsace producers have signed up to take part in the tasting – including major names such as Pierre Frick, Domaine Emile Beyer, Domaine Robert Roth, the Hugel family, Marcel Deiss, Domain Frederic Mochel, Wolfberger, and Zind-Humbrecht. You can check the full list here.
CIVA (the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace) has dubbed this new digital format as a ‘phygital’ salon and claims it’s the first of its kind to be organised by a wine interprofession.
How DigiTasting® works
To help showcase the region’s diversity, the Alsace Wines Millésimes DigiTasting® allows buyers to register at www.millesimes-alsace.com until May 2 and order tasting kits from up to 10 different Alsace producers and co-operatives.
What’s more, the tasting kits are personalised for each buyer thanks to a sophisticated filter system that incorporates both wine information (vintage, grape variety, appellation) and producer details (distribution markets, importer or seeking importer, environmental practices). These are brought together to enable buyers to select the samples that are best suited to their individual needs.
In addition to the wines they select, each buyer will also receive at least one ‘Découverte’ tasting kit, so that they can see and taste wines from smaller producers they may not be familiar with, as well as established favourites.
To take part a buyer needs to:
- Register free of charge at Millesimes DigiTasting® (for professionals only). You will then receive your registration details and personal codes to take part.
- Buyers are then free to explore and select the wines they want to taste from the 100 producers listed.
- Option 1: Five boxes, including one ‘Discovery Box’ (five wineries) and 20 samples.
- Option 2: 10 boxes, including two ‘Discovery Boxes’ (i.e, 10 wineries) and 40 samples.
- NB: Each box selected will be made up of four mini glass bottles (3cl mini-bottles) from the same producer, so as to give the buyer a good idea of the winery’s expertise and personality.
They can then use the DigiTasting® platform to set up one-to-one online meetings with the producers they are most interested in talking to as well as sign up to the various debates, masterclasses and tastings taking place between June 7-9.
Once the live event is over, buyers and producers will still be able to access the platform for a year where it will be used for further conferences, tastings, and in-depth discussions.
- To take part and register for Millésimes Alsace click here. Remember to select your tasting boxes by May 2, 2021.