Cave des Hospices Strasbourg (Strasbourg Hospital Wines)

You can still drink riesling, pinot gris, sylvaner and pinot noir from this medieval cellar.

The Strasbourg City Hospital in the Alsace region of Northeastern France houses an additional business below its main level. Strasbourg’s community founded this building in 1395, a time when patients could pay for healthcare by donating land. Some hospitals also planted vineyards on the acreage they received, and doctors used the wine for medical (and religious) reasons. As such, wine cellars were normal annexes of medieval healthcare centers. Few of these basements remain today, but the cave situated beneath Strasbourg Hospital has aged well and its barrels are still used for winemaking.

Today, established local winemakers mature their grape must in the 18th-century oak barrels housed in the cellar. Producers make a variety of Alsatian wines, including dry riesling, sweet muscat, and light-bodied pinot noir, in quantities that average 150,000 bottles per year. Both the store at the hospital wine cellar and the producers sell to the public, but while the hospital store stocks only recent vintages, individual producers often keep bottles of older wines on hand. If the possibility of sampling wines aged in a medieval cellar isn’t enticing already, it’s also for a good cause. According to the hospital, all proceeds go toward medical equipment purchases.

I you can go and visit the breathtaking historic wine cellar of Strasbourg Hospices!

Need to Know :

When it comes to the cellar’s most famous offering, you can look, but you can’t drink. A barrel, dated 1472, is considered to house the oldest barrel-aged wine in the world. It’s been sampled on only three special occasions.

I like the Reisling : Clean and precise. Lovely apple, lime, honeysuckle and just about petrol note. Very crisp but intense on the pallet. Just want another sip. Could have got a bit more complexity but still great in the way it is

Pinot Gris: An ok pinot gris. A starter before our reds with grilled meat.. Flowers and honey still on the dry side.

Pinot Noir: Light ruby color turning orange on the rim. Pinot nose is on the spicier side. Some hints of cassis and blackberry, but mainly forest floor, black tea, white pepper and hints of baking spices on the nose. Very light on the palate. Silky mouthfeel and fine tannins. Red berries but even stronger flavors of forest floor and black tea. Balanced acidity and a medium finish with some mineral components. Solid Pinot noir at this price point.

Vieilles Vigne Sylvaner : Nose of grapefruit and fleur de sel. Aggressive citrus and acidity on the attack, then shifts gears to more moderation toward the finish. Medium body.

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