Above: Place des Unterlinden in Colmar, France

Many Americans are familiar with the spicy, minerally wines of Alsace. Any wine shop worthy of the name will carry at least a bottle or two from this département in far eastern France. But far fewer people realize that Alsace ranks among the world’s loveliest wine regions, with numerous unspoiled half-timbered towns punctuating tidy, rolling vineyards in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. This strategic region passed between France and Germany for centuries, giving it its own unique culture, as well as more than its fair share of castles.

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