Thursday, December 5, 2013

Alsace Wines; Playlist by JSwinetours, Pieter Smits

The Alsace Region and Alsace Wines
JoliSoleil / JSwinetours is a company hosted by Pieter Smits that organizes tours and wine tastings to the Alsace, Burgundy and Tuscany region for small groups. (2-25 people). We stay at great hotels in those (wine) regions.

We also organize a luxury "wine-and-dine" weekend in the chateau of Hattonchatel near Nancy.
In this channel a series of movies on and about Alsace and Alsace wines in English and some in Dutch..

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pinot Blanc

The white version of Pinot Noir

Pinot Blanc is the white version of Pinot Noir. It was only as the result of a congressional decision at Chalons in 1896 that this varietal was distinguished from Chardonnay. It was first identified in 1895 as the white version of Pinot Noir by Pulliat in Chassagne-Montrachet, and then in 1896 by Durand at Nuits-Saint-Georges. 

Pinot Blanc and the varietal Auxerrois (also referred to as Auxerrois de Laquenexy) are frequently referred to under the same designation Pinot Blanc or Pinot. This varietal is often used in the production of base wines for Crémant d’Alsace.

The eye

The wine is pale yellow in color with hints of green. The wine is clear and brilliant.
The nose is fresh and delicately fruity, offering notes of peaches and apples, with floral hints.
Pinot Blanc opens quickly. Pleasant and soft, with medium acidity, it represents a solid middle-ground within the range of Alsatian wines.

Food and wine pairing

Pinot Blanc can easily accompany starters or main courses. It pairs well with simple dishes such as fish, white meats, poultry and egg-based dishes (omelettes, eggs benedict, quiches, etc.). It is also delicious with soft cheeses.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving with Jacques Pépin, and Alsace Wine Paring Recommendations

Jacques Pépin, an internationally recognized French chef, has a favorite American holiday Thanksgiving!

Learn from Jacques how to prepare:

  • salmon three ways
  • roast turkey with apple cider glaze and mushroom and bread stuffing
  • bussels sprouts
  • gratin butternut squash
  • sweet and spicy cherry and ginger chutney
  • chocolate bourbon prune cake
  • pecan pie puff pastry
  • pears poached in citrus juice

Enjoy preparing this wonderful thanksgiving meal with Jacques, his wife and daughter. 
Recorded in 2003.

Alsace Wine Pairing Suggestions

Begin with an aperitif of Crémant d’Alsace a sparkling wine. This can be carried into the meal with the first of the salmon dishes. The soft dry flavor of the Cremant will go with the light lovely taste of salmon tartare.

Salmon dishes will also pair well with Alsace Pinot Blanc, as this wine has a light flavor, light acidity and will not overwhelm the fish.

Roasted turkey with the apple cider glaze and mushroom and bread stuffing is sweet and savory, so it will pair well with a vertical, dry Alsace Riesling. Known for its gastronomical excellence the Riesling will keep up in flavor with the dish without overpowering the flavors.

Try pairing the brussels sprouts, and gratin butternut squash, served with sweet & spicy cherry and ginger chutney with a Alsace Pinot Gris. A bit more nose and a bit more flavor this wine can be more dry or more sweet. Stay to the dry side on this one as not to compete with the food but to enhance the flavors of the food.

The chocolate bourbon prune cake, the pecan pie puff pastry, and the pears poached in citrus would all pair well with a Alsace Gewurztraminer.  Gewurztraminer means spiced grape and this is one of the most aromatic wines available anywhere. This wine has tropical aromas and flavors such as lychee, mango, and sweet gardenia. Again look for a Gewurztraminer a bit on the dry side, and you will find it is is an amazing complement to your amazing desert offering.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Christine Ferber - Jam from Alsace

Christine Ferber - Jam Farrie of Alsace

Brad Pitt bought 60 jars of handmade jam from in Alsace and personally collected it. 
Brad Pitt and 11-year-old son Maddox flew to Alsace in order to load up their cupboards. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"The most wonderful way to spend 2 days in Alsace!"

"My husband and I just recently toured the Alsace region of France with the help of Pieter and his company JoliSoleil.

We had the most amazing time visiting the most interesting wineries and tasting the most beautiful wines. Pieter knew exactly what to do and where to go and even suggested the best wines to taste and how to taste them. For example, we were tasting the same grape from the same year but from a different parcel of land so that we can taste the difference that terroir makes. We did the same thing with different vintages and even tasted the same exact wine from grapes just picked weeks apart. Amazing!!!!!

We learned so much! We also discovered that we really really LOVE Alsacian wines.

If you haven't been to Alsace you MUST go! You will meet the most amazing people, experience the most charming French villages, eat delicious food and drink fabulous wine!!!
Let Pieter do all the planning and have a great time!"

Thanks Rina and Dave for this great reference :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Alsace Muscat

Unlike for example the Italian Moscato, Muscat Alsace style produces a dry white wine.

It’s bouquet of fresh grapes gives the delicious impression of eating fresh grapes.
Unlike the Sylvaner, the Muscat is a delicate grape which does not give a successful harvest all the time.

We can drink Muscat d'Alsace with asparagus, vegetarian dishes and it is an excellent aperitif.

A food pairing with Muscat is not so easy. For some dishes it is too fruity. For other dishes it lacks acidity, sugar and/or power. But as already stated the pairing with soft complex taste of asparagus is wonderful. And as a 'stand alone' the fresh grapes smell and flavour, make it a wonderful aperitif.

There are many great Muscats to be found in Alsace. Some of them really dry and some rounder fuller and a touch sweeter.

It is spring 2013. Soon we will have our first aspergus dinner. How about you ?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Terry's Book Review - The Wine Etiquette Guide

Wine is consumed in many contexts. The appropriate etiquette may vary according to the situation. The Wine Etiquette Guide has considered the possibilities.

Readers will feel comfortable in any wine setting, from a formal dinner function to a casual wine tasting at a winery, after learning about wine etiquette. There is even a section explaining kosher wines and etiquette.

The pleasures of wine are visual, olfactory, and gustatory. The Wine Etiquette Guide explains the modern conventions for the enjoyment of the multitude of wine styles available to today's consumers.

In truth, these behaviors are the result of an evolution through thousands of years of experience. All aspects of wine etiquette have been explained. From the selection of a suitable wine, removal of the stopper, serving temperature, and glass shape and size.

Author, Chuck Blethen, is an engineer, salesman, businessman, inventor, entrepreneur, author, and lecturer. He has 40 years' experience traveling and drinking wines. He is currently the Executive Director, of the Southern Appalachian Viticulture Institute & President of North Caroline Natural Products Association.

He has made 100's of professional sales presentations to executives in many of the Fortune 500 companies. He has been a guest lecturer at various colleges and universities over the years. He has traveled in 68 countries and speaks four languages. His hobby - and passion - has always been wine making.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Terry's Book Review - The Wines of Alsace

The 'Bible' of Alsace wines.

In the book "The Wines of Alsace", Tom Stevenson has profiled 300 producers and every style of Alsace wine, and has also analysed all 118 wine villages, 51 grands crus, 84 lieux-dits, 28 clos and 4 wine-producing chateaux.

Encyclopedia like accuracy of facts, yet engaging detail and atmosphere as in storytelling. A must have book for those serious about learning Alsace wines.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Alsace Riesling

Riesling produces a dry white wine, racy and fruity. It offers a bouquet of great finesse with hints of citrus. This wine is one of the most popular in Alsace with Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris.

In general one can say that in Alsace the style of wine making is to the dry side. That goes for example with Muscat and also with Riesling. Having said that, one should add the fact that Riesling in Alsace comes in a great variety. So also sweeter and more full bodied Riesling wines can be found.

As always the terroir (the soil) is important.
A sandy, clay like soil produces "granny smith like" round Rieslings with a acidity but also some sugar.
Granite soil produces a more vertical clear wine. It can bring a very mineral taste, dry and instead of the acidity of the green apple, an acidity more like a green lemon.
Vulcanic soil produces yet another very distinctive taste.

Very interesting is to taste a Riesling Vendange Tardive (late harvest). There is acidity on the one hand with lots of sugar and sweetness to follow.
Try one if you can find it. Not every Riesling winemaker in Alsace produces a VDT.

Some Rieslings have a flowery smell and some have a more chemical bouquet which makes you think of gasoline or petrol.
Of course it is all a matter of taste and last but not least, if you drink the Riesling just like that or combine it with food.

Suggested wine pairings
Riesling brings gastronomic excellence. It is incomparable on fish, shellfish, white meats and of course, sauerkraut.

But also pizza Hawai or Pepperoni pizza is a good combination and what to think of a chocolate dessert?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Terry's Book Review - Healing Spices

Breakthrough scientific research is finding that spices are loaded with antioxidants and other unique health-enhancing compounds.

Studies of dietary patterns around the world confirm that spice-consuming populations have the lowest incidence of such life-threatening illnesses as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.

Bharat B. Aggarwal, the world's foremost expert on the therapeutic use of culinary spices, takes an in-depth look at 50 different spices and their curative qualities, and offers spice “prescriptions” categorized by health conditions to match the right spice to a specific ailment.

Healing Spices 
By Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph. D.

Food contains the building blocks of the body. The quality of what you feed your body represents the quality you can expect to see and feel with your body. Consuming chemicals in processed foods result in mutations to the individual cells of the body. When these mutated cells divide to reproduce themselves, all they can do is reproduce the state they are in. 

You have beautiful genes, a perfect plan designed in your DNA. If the materials you supply to your cells to maintain their health and vitality are inferior, your cells breakdown and copy the mutations or mistakes. 

What happens with cancer and aging is cell mutation. The cell cannot rebuild according to the original DNA plan, because the cell has suffered a mutation, or damage that is copied to new cells. If good materials are not available to the cell to maintain health, it cannot reproduce its perfect form. Rather the cell will build inferior copies of the original cell by coping the damage done to the original cell into the new cells that came from the damaged cell. Thus the cell is degraded and not able to be at all it was meant to be. 

In addition to adding great flavor and variety to your food, spices are also natural medicines. Using a variety of spices in your food adds flavor to your palate, and more importantly materials that your body can use to rebuild each cell in your body the way it was meant to be.  

In the simplest terms if you build your body with faulty materials, no matter how brilliant the blueprint of your original DNA is, your body will not be able to maintain cell health and will eventually fail. In contrast, if you build your body with quality materials, it will repay you with showing the wonder of your best self that took generations to develop.

You have the blueprints in your DNA to be a strong and healthy you, cell by cell. You must use good materials to sustain your cells in optimum health.

Spare no expense in acquiring the best quality spices from the best sources in the world and store them properly for maximum freshness. Research your suppliers to guarantee yourself a high quality, fresh, pure product.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Terry's Book Review - Olive Oil

This wonderful book will walk you through the colors, flavors and production locations of olive oil.

Olive Oil 
by Jacques Chibois and Olivier Baussan

Illustrated with more than 150 color photographs, Olive Oil is to be enjoyed again and again, both for its superb images and its extraordinary recipes.

Olivier Baussan, one of the great olive oil connoisseurs, takes you on a wonderful journey through the olive groves, presses and mills of the Mediterranean region. This is an invitation not only to discover the finest oils, but also to savor the conviviality of Provence, Corsica, Italy, Spain, Greece and Galilee.

The celebrated chef Jacques Chibois presents fifty recipes ranging from traditional baked sea bream prepared with Sicilian olive oil, to astonishing madeleines made with olive oil from Haute-Provence and pumpkin fritters made with Catalan olive oil.

The Connoisseur's Guide, provides information on selecting, appreciating and buying fine olive oils. Like wine olive oils have grand cruFrench for great growth and best years.

Olive oil is a mono unsaturated fat, which rids the body of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood.

  • Olive oil is rich in vitamins particularly E and K.
  • Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is the most expensive and pure form.
  • Store olive oil in dark glass or stainless steel in air tight containers in a dark cupboard. 
  • Soak herbs in your olive oil to add flavor. 
  • One part butter to one part olive oil, mixed well and chilled for a low calorie spread.
  • Olive oil may be used in various cooking methods.
  • Dip your bread in it. 
  • Create your own salad dressings.

You can learn about the different types of olive oil and their flavors and use it daily in your own kitchen for the full benefits to your health and the full flavor to your pallet.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Alsace Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is an opulent Alsatian white wine, full bodied, rich, round and with a long finish. It has vegetable aroma, often slightly smoky.

Pinot Gris can be paired with most dishes but it is excellent with foie gras, game, white meats, roasts, liver, kidneys and last but not least: cheese dishes (cheese soufflés).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spice-Crusted Duck Breast with Cumin-Scented Carrots

All ingredients are here:

For the cumin-scented carrots:
Place the carrots in a large skillet with the butter, honey, and about 1/3 cup of water. Heat over medium-high heat and season the carrots with cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are lightly caramelized and tender, about 20 minutes. Finish the carrots with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

For the spiced duck breast:
Stir together the coriander, cumin, star anise, white pepper, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl to blend. Season the duck breasts on both sides with salt, then coat the skin side of the duck breasts with the spice mixture, forming a crust.

Divide the canola oil between 2 sauté pans and heat over medium heat. When the pans are hot, gently place 2 duck breasts, skin sides down, in each pan. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the skin is golden brown and crispy, 12-15 minutes. Turn the duck breasts over and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board to rest. Return the pans to the stove.

Divide the shallots between the pans and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the orange juice, lemon juice, and honey, dividing equally. Simmer to reduce by half, about 8 minutes. Finish the pan sauce by whisking in the butter and seasoning to taste with salt. Combine the sauce into one pan.

Thinly slice the duck breasts crosswise and place the duck slices on 4 plates. Spoon some of the sauce over the duck and serve with the roasted carrots.

Suggested wine pairings
Trimbach, Gewurztraminer, Cuvée Des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre. Alsace, France

Gewurztraminers are quite special and very food-friendly wines. The style associated with the house is one of dry structure, flavorsome with firm acidity where appropriate. Trimbach produces an excellent Gewurztraminer, with the highest expression of the variety chez Trimbach being the Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre. Although the variety in question tends towards fatter, low acid wines, the wine here is a very ripe, yet still dry, aromatic style.


One of the first milestones in wine education is arguably learning to pronounce (and spell) "gewürztraminer." (For the record, it’s guh-VERTS-tra-meener.) Celebrate this achievement by enjoying a glass with Thai food.

Gewürztraminer is a naturally aromatic grape that has tropical aromas and flavors such as lychee, mango, and sweet gardenia.
These flavors and smells match with a wide variety of Asian dishes from around the world.
The grape is also somewhat low in acidity aiding its ability to pair well with spicy dishes.

Gewürztraminer is aromatic and fruit-forward, which appeals to the aromas of the food. Generally they are light in style with balanced acidity. This can go nicely with saltier dishes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Luxury Stay At Château Hattonchâtel

History Brief

This castle was originally built in the 9th century by Hatto, the bishop of Verdon, in 860. Durring WWI Hattonchâtel was destroyed. The castle was restored in the 16th century by American Belle Skinner, using parts of the original castle. The first phase of completion was in 1923 and lasted until 1928. Restoration was conducted by French architect Jacquelin Henry. The decor and furnishings are remaining from the 1920's era.

The back story of this lovely castle is fascinating. Many adults still remember visiting when they were children, because for a time the castle served as a summer camp for inner city children from Paris. Unfortunately it was this, and a bit of over zealous cleaning, that drastically faded the painting over the fireplace mantel. It was then closed from the public for 40 years, until being privately purchased and reopened to visitors  as a hotel and very romantic wedding location. It was listed as a monument historique in France in 1986.

Instruments from the extensive collection in the music room are now on display at Yale University.

Belle Skinner

Belle Skinner came from one of the wealthiest families in America in her day. She was born in Skinnerville, Massachusetts. Her family owned Skinner & Son's silk and satin manufacturing.

Belle restored Château Hattonchâtel starting in 1919. It was an amazing and expensive undertaking. Tunnels were found during the restoration going under the castle to the church and other locations. Some 400 gold coins from the Roman era were found in the tunnels, known as, "Miss Skinner's Pot of Gold". Some of these went missing, around the same time as Bell Skinner's untimely death in her Paris flat. Some speculate these missing gold coins had something to do with her death, also perhaps the architect; still for for the record, she died of natural causes. As for some reason he was blocking her visiting the castle during final restoration. Still her death is recorded as a result of pneumonia.

See original image

Belle Skinner

Visit Château Hattonchâtel

You can schedule a 1 day stay Hattonchâtel, or a whole week. Often those who only originally ask for one day, ask the next morning for two more additional days.

From the castle you have a 35 kilometer view of the surrounding area. Day trips to interesting places in the surrounding area can be planned, or you may wish to just stay on the grounds and relax.

A local chef can prepare dinner for you, and after dinner you may choose to retire to the library where the world glob opens up and inside special spirits are available for you, no charge.

Château Hattonchâtel has been featured in several wedding magazines, it has been the vacation spot of choice from Beacon St., Boston and the cast of American television show "Cheers". Of interest to some we have been assured by the owner that any ghosts in the castle are friendly.

Staying at Château Hattonchâtel is an experience, for those who want to feel as if they have truly traveled back in time to the 1920's era when Hattonchâtel was restored.

You may completely customize your experience, you only need to ask.

One of our favourite Alsace Sylvaners

One of our favourite Alsace Sylvaners comes from Agathe Bursin near Soulzmatt.

Agathe allows the grapes to grow on a great terroir and treats them as kings.


Fresh, light and easy to drink, Sylvaner offers a discreetly fruity or floral bouquet with citrus or white flowers notes. Left aside from the qualitative perspective after the war, still too often branded with a bad image, it is however a wine with an excellent quality price ratio.

Sylvaner may accompany platters of seafood, fish, dishes containing eggs, sausages, hors d'œuvres, quiches and also onion pie’s.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One of our favourite Pinot Noirs ...

One of our favourite Alsace Pinot Noirs comes from Jean-Paul Schmitt near Scherwiller. The estate is officially certified for organic production by Ecocert.

Pinot Noir in Alsace

Alsace Pinot Noir comes in different intensities of “red”.
It used to be vinified like white wines in Alsace but more and more also now like a “real” red wine as in for example Burgundy.

Fresh fruity for the Rosé, aromas of cherries for the traditional Pinot Noir.

Character, spicy, full and intense red fruit for the Pinot Noir Rouge d'Alsace.

Pinot Noir rosé and Pinot Noir Tradition selection are served fresh, they will accompany perfectly your summer buffets, pizzas, salads and plate of assorted cooked meats.
Pinot Noir Rouge d'Alsace aged in oak has a character much more intense.
It will be drink at the room temperature, serve by dishes of red meat (beef, lamb ...),
game, plate of assorted cooked meats and cheeses as comté.

Friday, January 18, 2013


As we are writing this article we are already going to the second half of January. How time flies.
We are preparing some great tours for customers visiting us from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Japan.

More diversity
In 2012 we added visits to cheese farms, castles and some of the old villages to our programm. Next to that we can take our guests to for example the “Volerie des Aigles”.

Another addition is "cooking with a chef". This is the possibility to do a cooking class in a hotel or restaurant under the supervision of a real french chef (sometimes Michelin starred). In a small group people can prepare their evening dinner and select the wines to go with that.
If you are visiting with a group of friends or as colleagues of a company, then is definitively something unique and unforgetable.

6 Day - 5 Night Luxury Tour Paris/Alsace
As people visiting us form far away countries like America and Japan often want to see more of France then just Alsace, as of 2013 we offer a 6 Day/5 Night Luxury Tour Paris - Alsace
We collect our guests at the Paris airport of arrival and from then on look after them untill they return to Paris 6 days later.

In Paris we stay in great 4 star hotels in areas of Paris that are interesting and worthwhile even at night.
A private driver will take our guests to "must see" sites like the Eifel tower and the Louvre museum, but we go one step further. In a dialogue with our clients we prepare their specific visits before traveling. Maybe they want to see the "thinker statue" by Rodin or a copy of the statue of Liberty in the "Jardin de Luxembourg".

After a couple of days in Paris the tour includes 1st class tickets by TGV (fast train) to Strasbourg. After a 2 1/2 hour ride they will be picked up by one of our drivers at the trainstation.
People can stay either in a hotel in the city of Strasbourg itself or we will book them a nice hotel in a small Alsatian village in the middle of the wine area.
In Alsace people have a choice. We can focus on the wine and food for a couple of days. This means visiting many different wineries, tasting their wines and really getting to know the different styles of producing wines. We can also add other visits in the programm like visiting old villages and castles for example.

The wines
We have not tasted all Alsace wines yet. Nor have we visited each winery. Apart from trips with our guests we go out on our own. For example if we have read about a wine or winery. We also go to exhibitions and tastings where we can meet a lot of wine makers.
When in contact with potential clients for a tour we of course try to find out what they would want. Dry or sweet wines or both? Some people give us a name of a winery they want to visit. We try to go there as much as possible. If it is a new place for us, so much for the better.

In 2012 we for example visited the wineries of Valentin Zusslin and Emile Beyer for the first time.
Working like this for us no two tasting days are the same.

Differences in taste
People are often surprised by the differences in taste of a wine made from the same grape. They are even more surprised if the diiferent tasting wines come from one wine maker. We explain them the differences between an east and west slope. And for example vulcanic, chalk or granite soils.
Differences in taste are not something magical but often the result of know how and hard work.

In 2012 we visisted Agathe Bursin for example. We tasted two Sylvaners, one growing on a South West slope and one on a South East slope. The soil in both cases is more or less the same. Now the grapes on the South-East slope get more hours of sunshine then the grapes on the South West slope. This results in grapes with more sugar and of course you can taste that.

Diversity of groups
In Mai 2012 we got a visit of a group of management students from the University of Florence in Italy. In 2 1/2 days we did some 10 different tastings. We also visited the Confrerie Saint Etienne. A visit to the castle and their cellars where more then 60.000 bottles are kept going back to 1750, is always worthwhile.

In August we got a visit from a big family visiting Alsace from the U.S.. In this family reunion some people did not see each other in years. They wanted more then just tasting wines. So we organized a visit to the castle of Haut Koenigsbourg and the cities of Riquewihr and Colmar for them.

In the first contacts by email or phone we often try to get an idea of the age of pour contact person(s). In this case my contact was a woman of 88. She was in a marvelous condition; better then some other family members 20 years younger.

More and more we also get visits from people of China (Hong Kong). Apart from tasting the wines, they also want to see the many old cities and for example visit a cheese farm.
Because of all these demands we now offer these kind of tours and visits as a standard choice.

Our communication
On this English Blog we write about Alsace and Alsace wines for our English readers. OnFacebook we mostly write in English also.
It is our choice not to do too many indepth tasting descriptions, because many readers can not get a hold of all those specific wines in their country anyway. We try to let people get a feel of the area and the food and the wines in general.

On each tour we take photos. Some of them are published on Facebook and Flickr but many stay private.

Our standard offers for 2013 are:
-One day tour Alsace
-Three day tour Alsace
-Five day luxury tour Alsace
-Six day luxury tour Paris/Alsace
-Tastings Gerardmer
-Arrangement castle of Hattonchatel

Please click here for more information in pdf, or click here to fill in an inquiry form.
We are always open for your special demands.

See you in Alsace or where ever you would want to try some Alsace wines with us, in 2013.
Cheers !!!

Wine tastings near Gerardmer

What to expect

We will taste 6-8 wines. 1 ½  hours is the time needed for a complete tasting

We start with teaching you about wine tastings in general: how do I hold the glass? how do I look at the wine? What am I looking for in color and consistency? What smells am I experiencing and how do I describe them? What is the taste of the wine, how do I describe the taste?

You will receive sample forms to write down your experiences with the wine and what you notice about the wine. It helps you organize your thoughts and experience a something to keep to remember the details of this experience.

The first wine we will taste is a Crémant. A "champagne like" wine from the  Alsace selection of wines.

White wines are the main wines produced in Alsace. We will taste a Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and one or two Rieslings. This is typically dry wines.

Then we will move to a Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and  a Pinot Gris which are a  little sweeter, but can also be found to be very dry.

Then we taste a red Pinot Noir.

Working our way up through the white wines to the red, from the lighter tones to the more pronounced, we will take you through the wines of Alsace.

If you like we can also compare the Alsace wines to a Burgundy wines. You'll taste what differs in the regions starting with the same grape varieties but with different kinds of soils and style of wine making in France. This produce the different end flavors in the wines. Soil and climate are very important factors in the expression of flavors.

J.S. Wine Tours 1750 Vosges Farm, La Forge, France. 

 If you want we can add some prestige wines or exclusive wines to the tasting, for an additional price, and will be taught to taste the difference in terms of quality and flavor of these wines. We will teach you why some wines are more expensive with this addition to the wine list and teach you to how taste the difference!

Food and wine tasting combinations

If you are holding a tasting at the La Forge farm you will receive a piece of French bread from our local artisan pastry shop to go with the tasting. You can also request cheese for a nominal additional investment.

Food and wine belong together, so pairing the right wine with food is an important factor in wine tasting, that can also be added to this experience. In combination with a certain dish, you will learn to appreciate the wines different nuances and why a certain wine combined with a certain dish enhances the experience of both.

If you choose to taste the wines along with a dinner it will be the ultimate combination. A typical Alsatian dish like: Coq au Riesling, Garnie Choucroute, Tarte Flambe, Kugelkopf or Baeckofe, are some examples to choose from.

If you have a special dish request just let us know what it is and we will do our best to make it happen for you! We can prepare the dish here, have the food brought in for you from a local chef, or we can reserve a restaurant where you can choose from the menu and select a dish that appeals to you, and then we will assist you in the selection of a wine to go with the dish of your choice. We are very flexible in our offering.

  1. During your holiday or conference time in Gerardmer it can be a fun afternoon or evening experience to spend some time tasting wines and stay in the city. In this case we will visit you at your location to do your tasting. We can arrange this with or without a dinner. 
  2. The 'Grange' tasting room at La Forge. Grange is the French word which describes a barn which is attached to your house. This is where we have wine tastings in La Forge. 
  3. If you would like to have a wine tasting in the La Forge area, but want a restaurant we have selected  "Le Chant Du Bois'  for a local wine tasting with food combination.
  4. Alsace is a 1 ½ hour drive from the town of Gerardmer.  We can take you for a day on an Alsace wine tasting tour and we can add a fine dinning experience in addition to the tasting if you wish. 

Cheers! Look forward to your visit to Gerardmer!  

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