Alsace is located in the Northeast corner of France and has been part of Germany several times in the last 150 years, a situation which is evident by the timbered houses, last names of locals and wines produced. All wines are labeled with the grape variety making the region, on the surface, easy to understand. However, the complex pattern of soils which includes everything from clay limestone to shistous to volcanic makes it the most diverse wine region in the world. It also makes it devilishly hard to understand, a situation which is compounded by the complicated appellation system, which includes 51 grand crus. Alsatian cuisine is also a function of its close historical association with Germany, The food is quite heavy. Choucroute (saurkraut) served with sausages, other salted meats and charcuterie and often accompanied with boiled potatoes is the regional specialty. Other typical dishes include Baeckeoffe (a lamb, onion and potato stew) and flammekueche (a type of flatbread topped with Munster cheese). The high acid, full bodied whites are great pairings with these types of foods.
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