Alsace Riesling: Only Dry

In the new specifications of the AOC Alsace, it shall be stated that Riesling may only be vinified dry - below 4 grams of residual sugar/liter. At least, if the grape variety is to be mentioned on the label.

Reading time: 1m 20s

Alsace wines from Domaine Ostertag (Photo: Megan Mallen/CC)
Alsace wines from Domaine Ostertag (Photo: Megan Mallen/CC)

According to a report in the local medium "L'Alsace", there is a two-month objection period before the National Institute for Origin and Quality (INAO) makes the final decision. Already in March 2022, the industry medium "Terre de Vins" had reported that a majority of about two-thirds had voted for such a regulation at the general meeting of the vintners' association "Association des viticulteurs d'Alsace" (AVA). This should apply to generic Rieslings as well as to all crus. The fact that the consumer does not clearly know whether a certain wine is dry or not was made out to be one of the main problems of the growing region. 

In fact, it had already been decided at the end of 2021 to include a mandatory flavor statement on the labels for Alsace wines, based on EU law. Since then, there has been a lot of protests against the decision. One example is Pierre Gassmann from Domaine Rolly-Gassmann. He emphasized that it is not possible to produce dry Rieslings every year in certain sites "that advance into the plain, such as Rorschwihr or Bergheim, where you are on limestone or marl limestone". He was alluding to the high alcohol content that even semi-dry Alsace Rieslings from these sites sometimes reach in hot years.

If such criticism was not heard in the course of last year, it is unlikely that this will happen in the now two-month objection period. It is therefore safe to assume that the INAO will adopt the regulation and enter it in the specifications. VM


In Alsace, a wine may only bear the grape variety designation Riesling on the label if it consists of this variety and has also been vinified dry. Is this the right decision? A commentary by Vincent Messmer. 

Reading time: 1m 55s



Latest Articles