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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

Amid increasing concerns that sales are slipping, Alsace Wines kicked off the second year of its Eat Indian, Drink Alsace' consumer campaign last week - tying in with the Indian festival of Diwali (12-17 September). Oenologist Thierry Fritsch, representing the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d'Alsace (CIVA), attended a special lunch to launch the campaign. The event took place at Rasoi restaurant off London's Kings Road, which is run by top Indian chef Vineet Bhatia. Fritsch told Harpers that sales of Alsace wines had dipped by between 10 and 15% in the past few years. He voiced concerns that Alsace wines are either getting lost in the amazing choice' now available to consumers or are being confused with German wines, which consumers view as cheap and sweet. Fritsch echoed recent concerns over sugar levels in Alsace wines, pointing out that Alsace wines appear sweeter as a result of being more concentrated. He believes that the move to label wines dry' or moelleux' according to sugar and acidity levels, should be introduced for the 2004 vintage. Fitsch also claimed that authorisation of blends from the grand cru Altenberg de Bergheiem was close to approval. Winemaker Marcel Deiss has traditionally produced blended wine from this estate, but the new authorisation would allow other producers to make a blended wine, expected to be 50-75% Riesling with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Gewrztraminer.