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Pinot Noir

 

Discover the Alsace Pinot Noir appellation

 

Here's a grape variety that Burgundy lovers know quite well. The Alsatian Pinot Noir is currently the only grape variety used in the preparation of local red wines. It’s one of the seven varieties found in the region, with the Riesling, the Pinot Blanc, the Pinot Gris, the Sylvaner, the Gewurztraminer and the Muscat. The Pinot Noir grapes are very fond of limestone and iron-rich soils. They’re also quite sensitive to cold weather.

It came to Alsace in the Middle-Ages, during the 12th century. At the time, Pinot Noir was far from the only red wine grape variety available. It was just one of the many varieties (or "Rotetraublin", as they were all called) used to make altar wine. The monks of Cluny and the Cistercians were the ones who brought the Pinot Noir to the region, during their travels. They also exported these grapevines to the Jura region, to Switzerland and to Germany as well (over there, the Pinot Noir is named "Spätburgunder").

Pinot Noir was very popular back then, but this fame unfortunately only lasted until the 17th century. That's when the Thirty Years' War started in Europe, waged between Catholics and Protestants. Alsace became one of the many battlefields found in France and the vineyard got almost completely destroyed. Many years later, in the early 20th century, the Alsatian Pinot Noir finally made its big comeback: from 2% of the entire local production in 1969, it rose to more than 10% in 2018 and it hasn't stopped yet.

Check out the Pinot Noir wines of Alsace.

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