What makes Alsatian wine so special? With its historic vineyards sheltered behind the massive rain shadow of the Vosges Mountains, this northeastern French region enjoys a cool, arid, sunny climate. Since harvesting doesn’t take place until mid-autumn, Alsace’s white wines tend to unfold in the glass with vivid aromatic complexity. Their flavors can inspire, none more so than riesling, which tastes reliably dry and pure. This is the classic alternative for a sauvignon blanc drinker who wants to branch out, although the style is gentler. These three are superb and versatile with food, as well as reasonably priced.
Hugel “Classic” Riesling, 2014
One of the historic multigenerational families of the region, Hugel specializes in dry mineral-accented riesling from some of the best clay and limestone vineyards in and around Riquewihr. This vintage is lemony, with a thrilling crisp apple note that is ideal with raw shellfish.
$22, Brookline Liquor Mart, Chestnut Hill
Lucien Albrecht “Reserve” Riesling, 2015
With notes of lemon zest, lime, white flowers and dried green herbs, this assertively scented riesling opens on the palate with layers of smooth stone fruit and melon flavors. It’s round and mellow in texture, with creamy, smooth notes that would pair well with a delicate fish fillet.
$20, Gordon’s Main Street, Waltham
Kuentz-Bas “Tradition” Riesling, 2014
Bone dry, bracing and stony in flavor, this riesling walks a tightrope between freshness and a range of thrilling citrus accents. It’s not exactly a turkey wine, but you could certainly enjoy it with a roasted chicken rubbed with thyme.
$20, The Wild Duck Wine & Spirits, Boston
Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods.