Alsace  

The wine-producing region of Alsace is a 100 kilometer-long strip of enchantment, one to five kilometers wide, that clings to the foothills of the Vosges Mountains and overlooks the Rhine River. Running through it is the Route des Vins, a 120-kilometer itinerary that starts north of Strasbourg in Marlenheim and ends at Thann outside Mulhouse, famous for its automobile museum. In charming Alsatian villages of narrow cobbled streets and half-timbered houses bedecked with colorful flowers, producers offer tastings in their cellars, or samplings can be bought by the glass in local bistros known as winstubs.

The wine capital and tourist center of the region is Colmar, which boasts such treasures as the Bartholdi and Unterlinden Museums and the Petite Venise canal district. Villages along the Wine Route which epitomize the charm of Alsace include Molsheim, Ribeauvillé, Kaysersberg, and Rouffach. Three more, Eguisheim, Obernal, and Riquewihr, have walking paths through the vineyards.

Alsace is the only A.O.C. region in France that labels its wine by grape variety. There are five "noble" grapes of A.O.C. status-Sylvaner, Pinot Gris (sometimes called Tokay d'Alsace), Muscat, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling. An Edelzwlcker wine is a blend of these varieties.

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