Two of the most lauded grapes of Alsace are the Pinot Blanc and Riesling.
The Alsace (ahl zas) region of France is located next to Germany and is only separated by the Rhine River. Until the 17th century it was a part of Germany. It once again became part of Germany in 1871, but was reannexed into France after WWI.
With its proximity to Germany you would expect to find German style wines. The Vosges Mountains to the west help to block to Arctic winds. The Alsace region is sunny, dry, and with mild temperatures. This makes Alsace very hospitable to grapes.
Pinot Blanc and Riesling are two of the most important grapes grown. While the wine made from these grapes is immediately recognizable, they carry their own distinct identity. There is a "flavor of Alsace" that its wines share.
Alsace Pinot Blanc is made medium-dry to dry. It is a good introduction to Alsace wine, bringing the unique spice of the region. You can find excellent examples priced below $10. Wines such as Kuehn Pinot Blanc bring abundant floral and fruit aromas and flavors. It is a light bodied wine, perfect for friendly drinking. Try with quiche, fish or chicken, lightly spiced nuts, cheeses, and other snacks.
This is considered the most elegant grape grown in the Alsace region. It is the most famous of Alsace wines and almost opposite of the German interpretation. This Riesling is dry with aromas of roses and peaches. If you are looking for a great wine to serve with fish, you will be pleased. It also pairs well with sauerkraut! Cheeses should be sharp in flavor.