Alsace has to be one of the most fascinating regions of France, with a history which stretches back millennia, and demonstrates perfectly the kind of blended culture that can arise from being located on the border between two enormously important, yet very different countries. Indeed, being on the border between France and Germany has resulted in Alsatian wines being something of a mix between the wines of these two countries. Riesling varietal grapes are grown in enormous quantities here, and display all of their crisp, dry complexity perfectly in the famous wines of Alsace. Alongside this typically Germanic wine, Alsatian vintners also produce plenty of Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Sauvignon Vert wines, all of which are superb when it comes to expressing the finer features of the wonderful Alsatian terroir. This wine is not grown in enough areas in this country, especially considering the spectacular results of the efforts of a handful of vintners in California's Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley and Santa Barbara County. Its roots can be traced to Northern Italy's Traminer, although is grown successfully as Gewurtztraminer (Gewurz means spicy) in Austria, Germany, Alsace and elsewhere. It is rich, full-bodied and powerful, with ripe pears, tropical fruits and reminiscent of lychee nuts. At its best it is perfumed with floral qualities, like roses, and potently spicy, especially in the aroma.