Wines from Alsace are often known for their richness and fruitiness, and despite the region’s vineyards only encompassing a narrow 75-mile strip, their unique soils and climate produce highly sought after wines. In 1975, French authorities named the first grand crus, and despite only producing four percent of the region’s wine, these site-specific bottlings are known around the world. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat are the four major grape varieties that are accepted in these hallowed vineyards, with one grand cru allowing Sylvaner. Here are some of the top bottles to seek out from this French region.
Marc Kreydenweiss 2016 Kastelberg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace); $50, 97 points. Exquisitely pure lime zest and lemon notes leap from the glass. You can virtually smell the zing that will hit and delight your taste buds. The palate presents the citrus notions in layers of slatey stone, adding a smoky dark allure to the brightness of the lemon. This is high-octane stuff of wonderful concentration. The finish is dry and long and reveals a most aromatic streak of blood-orange freshness. Drink now–2035. AP Wine Imports. Cellar Selection. —Anne Krebiehl, MW
Josmeyer 2015 Hengst Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace); $80, 97 points. Gentle but aromatic notes of ripe pear have a welcome edge of lemon zest about them on the nose. On the palate the full force of the fruit becomes apparent. There are tropical overtones of wonderfully tart passion fruit while ripe tangy citrus holds sway with the pervasive freshness of tangerine and orange. This is intense, supremely aromatic, straight as an arrow and very concentrated. The finish is bold and dry with a long zesty echo. Gorgeous now but full of potential. Drink now through 2040. French Libation. Cellar Selection. —A.K.
Domaine Marcel Deiss 2013 Schoenenbourg Grand Cru White (Alsace); $67, 96 points. Exquisitely pure and aromatic notes of baked pear gleam in the glass along with something heady and ethereal that is reminiscent of freshly cut citrus zest. The off-dry palate has a balm-like viscosity and brings out honeyed ripe Mirabelles, but it all happens at such a gentle clean pure level that this feels like sublimated ripe fruit framed by vivid citrus. Despite some residual sweetness this stays fresh. This is a wine that explains in one small sip and sniff what a good field blend can be all about. It is lovely now and only just starting to evolve. Drink until 2040. Becky Wasserman Selections. Cellar Selection.—A.K.
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht 2016 Rangen de Thann Clos Saint Urbain Grand Cru Pinot Gris (Alsace); $120, 96 points. A touch of flinty reduction plays on the nose. The palate then presents bright citrus zest with wonderfully bitter citrus pith as well as a salty intensity that is reminiscent of preserved lemon. All this is couched in ripe expressive pear fruit on a concentrated but sinuous body that seems to have inherent drive. It is the pith and the zest that make this. The finish is dry and lasting. Drink 2025–2030. Kobrand. —A.K.
Domaine Barmès-Buecher 2016 Pfersigberg Grand Cru Gewurztraminer (Alsace); $40, 94 points. A subtle note of reduction still clings to the tender peach notes on the nose. The palate comes in with medium sweetness and paints an alluring picture of peach—of its fleshy, juicy and sweet ripeness, but also of the wonderfully textured bitterness of peach peel. On the finish a bright, lovely streak of ripe lemon zest sets a fresh friendly accent and leaves this with an off-dry moreish finish. Lovely now but it is certain to evolve. Drink now–2028. Petit Pois. —A.K.
Domaine Bott-Geyl 2015 Furstentum Grand Cru Pinot Gris (Alsace); $49, 94 points. A flinty stony glint precedes the more familiar fresh pear notes on the nose which are tempered with a fine sense of zestiness. The palate goes into full smoothness mode, with beautifully rich pear notes that find their equal in the zesty lemony countering freshness. Alcoholic heat also enters the equation but these elements interact with poise and balance. This is powerful, rounded, but also fresh. The finish is just off dry and long. Drink 2028–2030. David Bowler Wine. —A.K.
Domaine Schoffit 2016 Rangen Clos Saint-Théobald Grand Cru Muscat (Alsace); $49, 94 points. The most aromatic and refreshing perfume emanates from this wine. Green, crunchy but ripe grapes, elderflower and honeysuckle are all wrapped in the most fragrant and fresh lemon-zest notes. The palate continues in this concentrated fashion, boosting the lemon zest and elderflower even more. This is tempering and fragrant now but it will repay cellaring when all its allure will be transformed into something even less tangible. Drink 2022–2032. Weygandt-Metzler. —A.K.
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht 2016 Goldert Grand Cru Muscat (Alsace); $65, 94 points. A tiny touch of spritz helps disperse the wonderfully alluring and perfumed elderflower notes even more. They are coupled with citrus and woodruff for freshness. The dry palate lets these fresh aromatics speak, unburdened by sweetness, leaving us with a dew-fresh expression of grapey exquisiteness. With all its citrus verve this is hard to resist now but it has the stuffing to last. The finish is zesty and moreish. Drink now through 2028. Kobrand. —A.K.
Josmeyer 2015 Hengst Grand Cru Pinot Gris (Alsace); $80, 94 points. Subtle notes of ripe pear and bitter pear pip appear on the nose. The palate takes this wonderfully complex and pleasantly bitter notion of ripe fulsome fruit and presents it on a serenely off-dry but concentrated, powerful and ample body. Freshness provides precision and poise while overtones of that aromatic pear fruit shimmer and tingle everywhere. This is a lovely, rich but elegant wine. Drink through 2030. French Libation. —A.K.
Boeckel 2016 Zotzenberg Grand Cru Sylvaner (Alsace); $40, 93 points. The fresh and lemony nose creates notions of haystacks and beautifully dried hay flowers. There is something ripe and rounded here, and the warm vintage turns the usual herbal tinges of Sylvaner on their heads. The palate is concentrated and remains sinuous, even if aromatically this is richer than usual. This is a lovely, unusual and wonderfully gastronomic wine, with a lovely textural element on the midpalate. The finish is dry and fresh. WineWise. —A.K.