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The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary


Located on the eastern border of France, on the west bank of the Upper Rhine, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland, Alsace represents the intersection of two wholly different wine cultures that have given birth to a third. Once part of the Holy Roman Empire, Alsace was gradually put under French sovereignty during the 17th Century and eventually made one of the provinces of France. Yet, as evidenced by the persistece of a dialect of Upper German in the region even today, Alsace's ties to Germany remain strong. While Alsatian wines are indeed included under AOC law, the Germanic influence on the wine culture is evidenced by the large portion of varietal wines, particularly of indigenous German grapes. In an additional nod to its Germanic heritage, there are two late harvest styles of wine: vendange tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN), akin to the German trockenbeerenauslese.
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