Alsatian can refer to the Germanic dialect spoken in the Alsace region of France. It is similar to what is spoken across the Rhine River in southern Germany and northern Switzerland. It is also the name of a breed of dog, commonly known as a German Shepherd. Or it can refer to anything coming from Alsace, in this case, wine.
It’s no wonder that the labels of Alsace wines look very Germanic and identify the grape variety. Then, there’s the familiar tall Riesling flute bottle. In 1853, Frederic Boeckel, an established winemaker from the village of Mittelbergheim, founded the business which is today managed by the brothers Jean-Daniel and Thomas Boeckel, who are the fifth generation. The vineyard extends over 23 hectares which are owned by the estate, and these are complemented by the purchase of grapes from a further 20 hectares of vineyards. The majority of the vines are cultivated according to organic agricultural principles, and full organic certification is currently in progress. Located in the Bas Rhin region, that is northern Alsace, vineyard site selection is the key to best quality. Sheltered by the Vosges Mountains to the west and lying in its rain shadow, the area generally has the lowest average rainfall in France. The wines here tend to be a little crisper and not quite as full as wines stemming from the warmer, more southerly Haut Rhin province. The LCBO tempts us in its latest Vintages release with a dry, rich, aromatic textbook Riesling from Boeckel.
The perfect food match would have to be the Alsatian classic, Choucroute Garnie. Garnished sauerkraut sounds more sophisticated in French. It is a very tasty, and filling, dish. A platter is prepared with a bed of cooked sauerkraut topped with rib tickling meats such as diverse sausages, smoked pork chops and thick bacon slices. Mandatory potatoes, simmering for hours till tender in that very same sauerkraut, are piled on the platter in copious quantities. The sweet and sour yin yang sensation of the cabbage is the perfect foil for the meat and its juices while pairing beautifully with a glass of Boeckel’s dry Alsatian Riesling.
2021 Boeckel Alsace Riesling LCBO #29823, $17.95