About this WINE
Domaine Andre Ostertag
Today one of Alsace’s most famous and respected names, André Ostertag could hardly be called a run-of-the-mill Alsace winemaker. He first made a name for himself in 1983, when his Muenchberg Pinot Gris was denied the honour of being labelled as such – having dared to age it in oak, contrary to local tradition. Ever since then, the estate has been pushing the appellation’s boundaries, constantly experimenting and innovating to coax the ultimate expression of terroir from each of its sites.
Ostertags first put down their winemaking roots in Alsace with three hectares in 1966, with André the second generation to make the wines. He studied in Beaune where he struck up a long and lasting friendship with Dominique Lafon of Meursault before returning to Epfig.
The estate has been farmed biodynamically since 1997, with a focus on low yields and ensuring maximum ripeness from every plot. While the estate’s wines tend to have a higher-than-average level of alcohol, it is always impeccably integrated and almost unnoticeable.
As of the 2017 vintage, André has stepped aside – handing the winemaking reins over to his son Arthur. Arthur has travelled the world to learn his trade and worked with his father for several vintages before stepping up to the plate.
The estate’s Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir is aged in oak barrels, in the style of Burgundy, and on their lees. The Sylvaner, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and all the Rieslings are aged in 100% stainless steel. All the wines are remarkable and amazingly age-worthy.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.