As we climbed out of the van the rain had lightened up, but not stopped. It had been raining on and off all week. It didn’t bother me too much today because I was about to embark on a fun wine tasting tour, one of several Basel day trips. I have been in Basel Switzerland for a week house and pet sitting. I was lucky to be there for the Fasnacht Carnival (one of Five Fantastic Festivals in Switzerland) and now it was time to enjoy some great wines in the area. Although Basel is in Switzerland, the city borders France and Germany. We got into the van in Basel city center and about 45 minutes later we exited in the Alsace region in France. Our guide for the day was Colin, an award-winning wine sommelier.
Alsace is a historical region in northeastern France on the Rhine River plain. The Alsace Wine Route crosses 53 different wine districts and is one of the oldest routes in France. The famous Alsace grapes found throughout the French wine regions here are freckled with Instagramable villages and medieval towns. These vineyard vines are home to some of the most sought-after grapes(Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Riesling) around the world. I wasn’t going to let the rain dampen my mood, I knew we were in for a great Alsace France wine tastings tour.
Our Alsace Wine Tour Itinerary
The wine tour included 4 different wineries sampling various French wines at each stop. In addition to a one-hour lunch break in a medieval village.
The First Vineyard
Our tour began at a vineyard representing the 6th and 7th generation of a family. The vineyard has perfectly exposed hillsides with steep slopes. Half of the splendid terroirs and terraces supported by dry stone walls have been classed in Alsace Grand Cru appellation. This vineyard has been farmed with the same passion and dedication for over 2000 years. Complete production is done here. From growing to harvesting, to bottling, inserting the wine cork (no twist-off caps here), and adding wine labels.
“As winegrowers, we exclusively vinify our own harvest. As we do not buy either grapes, juices, or wines. This enables us to have complete traceability as well as a sustained quality of our production.”
Additionally, nothing goes to waste at this vineyard. After the wine production, spirits are made and the remaining byproducts are sent to the medical companies in Basel.
Their wine cellars contain 120 century-old oak casks and 80 thermal controlled stainless steel vats used for a strict selection of wine and rare vintage wine. Their wines include:
- Alsace Riesling
- Alsace Pinot Gris
- Alsace Muscat
- Alsace Pinot Blanc
- Alsace Pinot Noir
- Alsace Gewurztraminer
- And more
The Second Vineyard
The second winery we went to is located in one of the many beautiful villages in France, Riquewihr. With over 70 hectares, this family winery has been growing grapes since 1574 to produce Alsatian wine. At this winery, we learned how they became the pioneers of the marketing of wine in stemmed bottles.
“In 1913 this vineyard owner was the first to have the idea of commercializing wine in stemmed bottles, the elegance of which, even to this day, distinguishes Alsace wine from other wines.
This ‘invention’ was not easily accepted. In order to combat reticence and to prove the perfect conservation of bottled Alsace wine, he wagered that his bottles would be able to support the journey from Alsace to Australia and back.
The demonstration was so brilliant that the jury of the Strasbourg Exhibition awarded him the highest possible distinction – the silver medal with the inscription ‘for a particularly successful achievement’.
This little revolution meant that Alsace wine could set off to conquer Paris France and… the rest of the world. As proof of its supremacy, the enterprise became suppliers to all the great steamships and long-distance mail boats.
In 1972 his idea was given support by the issuing of a decree which made it obligatory for Alsace wine to be bottled in the region in which it was produced”.
Crémant d’Alsace is their main product. It is a special sparkling wine of the Alsace wine region in France. They also produce the following white wine:
- Riesling wine
- Pinot Gris wine
- Muscat wine
- Pinot Blanc wine
- Pinot Noir wine
- Gewurztraminer wine
- And more
The Third Winery in Alsace France
Our third winery has 13 generations of family tradition at their vineyard. This family-run estate owns 30 hectares of land in the Alsace region. They also buy grapes from another 100 hectares by a partner grower. The hand-picked grape varieties throughout the vineyards are up to 35 years old. Their production averages 100,000 cases of wine per year. Ninety percent of it is exported to over one hundred countries around the world. Here was the only Alsace red wine tasting we had.
“This family drafted the legislation to govern the production of late-harvest Alsace wines, Vendange Tardive, and Selection de Grains Nobles. They also revived Gentil, a traditional blend of Alsace noble grapes”.
Under 16th-century buildings, in the heart of a medieval town is their cellars. Within this wine cellar is the famous ‘S. Catherine’ barrel. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the oldest working wine casks in the world, dating back to 1715.
The Fourth Vineyard
This winery, situated on the Alsace Wine Route, has had a passion for wine since 1626. The 13th generation
“extols the virtues of all the Alsace grape varieties, their true passion lies with the Riesling. Its unequaled fruitiness, finesse, elegance, and pedigree make it the finest white wine in the world!”
The 50 hectares that make up this estate extend over fifty parcels and seven villages. The strictly hand-harvested grapes are meticulously selected for each wine. The combination of modernity and tradition are used with stainless steel tanks and old wooden casks. More than 85% of its highly sought-after dry wines are exported around the world.
Basel, Switzerland Day Tours
Although there are several day tours you can take in Basel and visit Vineyards in Switzerland, there is no wine tasting tour like the Alsace region, right on Basel’s doorstep. Here you will not get mulled wine, sangria wine, port wine, or ice wine. You will be tasting wine from vineyards that produce some of the finest wines in France…. some say the world! Learn about which amazing vineyards these are and book this wine tour contact the award-winning wine sommelier, Colin at WineWeinVinoVin here.
I highly recommend this wine tasting tour when you visit Basel. The day was filled with a vast amount of information about the area, the wines, and several tastings in various wine glasses. Some of these wines at the vineyards are not available in wine stores, you can only buy a bottle of wine at the vineyard.
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