White, Ready, but will keep

2012 Gewürztraminer d'Epfig, Domaine André Ostertag

2012 Gewürztraminer d'Epfig, Domaine André Ostertag

White | Ready, but will keep | Domaine Andre Ostertag | Code: 20485 | 2012 | France > Alsace > AOC Alsace > Gewurztraminer AOC Alsace | Gewürztraminer | Light-Medium Bodied, Medium Dry | 12.0 % alcohol

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The Producer

Domaine Andre Ostertag

Domaine Andre Ostertag

André Ostertag does not confine himself to the traditional Alsatian way of treating the varieties he has in his vineyards. Being a second generation wine-maker - his German family ('Ostertag' meaning 'Easter Day') founding the then 3ha estate in 1966 - André had evidently been put in his place by the elders; those looking askance at this Lycee Viticole de Beaune graduate and upstart who dared to put Pinot Gris in oak (despite the grape's Cote d'Or heritage). That was 1983, when his towering Muenchberg Pinot Gris was denied the honour to be labelled as such, becoming 'A360P' overnight, its grid-reference. 'Before' he smiles knowingly, 'I had to find my place, but I'm older now'.

In 1998  he converted his 12.5 hectares to full biodynamic production. His “Vins de Pierre” label  are terroir wines with a 20 year life depending on the vintage, and the vines in these vineyards represent this special link between earth and sky (and perhaps it  is no wonder that the produce of which, grapes and wine, were believed by ancient Egyptians to possess divine qualities).The “Vins de Fruit” label (including Sylvaner VV and Pinot Blanc Barriques) blends fruit from across vineyards in a fruit forward expression and with a  5 - 7 years life .

Ostertag treats Pinot Gris as the Burgundian grape that it is, rather than the sweeter versions of some producers - it is always the first grape he picks, only 10 days or so after the Burgundian vintage, because he wants a dry wine with no botrytis. His use of oak on the Heissenberg Riesling may also challenge tradition, but is simply his response to the nature of the Heissenberg vineyard. The texture and length given to the Riesling by the oak acts as would brighter acidity. Rieslings and Pinot Gris from the Grand Cru Muenchberg are always majestic wines and magnificent to boot.

His Sylvaner is in a different league from the usual dilute, overcropped wines made from this grape. His Pinot Blanc is fermented and matured for 9 months in barriques with lees stirring and malolactic fermentation, all of which contribute to its creamy softness.

André's wines are works of art to be collected and celebrated.

The Grape

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is a high quality white grape which produces classic varietal wines in the Alsace region of France.

It is the second most widely planted grape in Alsace and the most widely planted in the Haut-Rhin where it is particularly well suited to the clay-rich soils found in the Vosges foothills. It is normally fermented dry and produces golden, medium to full-bodied wine with heady aromas of lychees, rose petals and white peaches.

It attains naturally high sugar levels far in excess of Riesling and this makes it ideal for sweet, late harvest wines. These can be unctuously sweet and luscious and the best can last for decades. Rieffel, Hugel and Zind Humbrecht consistently produce the finest Gewürztraminer wines in Alsace.

It is also planted in Germany (specifically in the Rheinpfalz and Baden regions), Austria, the Alto Adige in Italy and to a lesser extent in Australia, New Zealand and California. Gerwürz means spice in German, although this pink-skinned grape tends to produce exotically perfumed rather than spice laden wines.

The Region

Gewurztraminer AOC Alsace

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