Albert Boxler is an Alsace producer of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, white blends and Cremant sparkling wine. The 34-acre estate has been in the Boxler family since the 17th century, when a Swiss farmer named Albert Boxler moved to Niedermorschwihr and planted vineyards. The family didn’t start bottling their own wine until 1946, and the labels on most bottles still include the same charming village scene that a Boxler cousin sketched for the debut label in 1946. Vines are typically 35-65 years old and there are several Riesling Grand Crus produced only in outstanding vintages. Albert Boxler also produces a small amount of Pinot Noir. Albert Boxler wines are renown, and the 2008 Boxler Sommmerberg “E” won a rarely-given four-star rating from the New York Times wine review panel.
Alsace in northeastern France is so close to Germany that the wines of Alsace and Germany are often confused. Both are typically sold in distinctive, slim, long-necked bottles, and are made from the same grapes. Alsace has never officially been a part of Germany, though it was occupied by the German military in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wine writer Hugh Johnson has noted that despite German influences, Alsace’s “soul is entirely French. Alsace makes Germanic wines in the French way.” In contrast to German wines, Alsace wines generally are very dry, with a higher alcohol content and riper, more scented fruit. Alsace has 33,000 acres of vineyards, many of them in the picturesque foothills of the Vosges Mountains. The grapes of the region are Sylvaner, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. Pinot Noir is also grown, though it is mainly used for Rosé wines. Alsace’s most admired wines are its Rieslings, which since 1985 may be designated as Grand Crus. Some 50 vineyards in the region have been classified as Grand Crus, and are allowed to use the appellation on their labels. Unlike all other French winemaking regions, Alsace labels are varietal, meaning that a wine made of Riesling, for example, is called Riesling. Official Alsace appellations include Cremant d’Alsace for sparkling wines.