Jean-Baptiste Adam: Ammerschwihr September 30, 2015
A shot of the entrance to the reception area at Jean-Baptiste Adam winery
The drive from Epernay to Ammerschwihr took almost four hours. It was dark for most of the drive, as we didn't leave the home of Michell Mailliard until after 6 o'clock. After the third hour the road began to wind and I could see the silhouette of pine trees against the night sky. My sense of the mountains being close by was confirmed when I went through the first of three tunnels. The air was colder and I was reminded of the essence of my home in Colorado.
Alsace sits on the eastern edge of France bordering Germany and Switzerland. In fact, it belonged to Germany from 1871 to 1919. The wines produced here are frequently confused with the wines of Germany, as there are many similarities in the bottle shapes, labeling style and varieties. The important distinction between the wines produced in Alsace and those that come from Germany is that 90% of Alsatian wines are totally dry, while German wines, particularly Rieslings, are much more frequently made in a sweet style. My brief visit to Alsace was worth the extra hours behind the wheel. I found it to be totally unique compared to the France I had experienced in Paris, Reims, Epernay and the many villages of Champagne in between. The architecture of Alsace is much closer in style to what you would expect to see in Germany and Switzerland. The sloping roofs and colorful painted shutters and trip reminded me of beer drinking more than wine.
Since I arrived late, I headed straight to the apartments I had rented via Airbnb (check it out!) in the town of Wintzenheim, about 12 minutes from the winery of Jean-Baptiste Adam. Early the next morning I headed to the winery to meet Jean-Baptiste for a tour. I could see my breath in the crisp September air and I remember pulling an extra layer out of my suitcase. As I walked up to the entrance I noticed stacks of heavy duty green plastic bins. The harvest was in full swing and the winery was buzzing as the staff worked busily cleaning out the bins that had been used to carry grapes from the vineyards to the winery. The commotion seemed a bit like a teaser for the experience to come.
Heavy-duty green plastic bins used to bring the harvested grapes from the vineyard into the winery