White, Ready, but will improve

2016 Riesling, Heissenberg, Domaine André Ostertag

2016 Riesling, Heissenberg, Domaine André Ostertag

White | Ready, but will improve | Domaine Andre Ostertag | Code:  48390 | 2016 | France > Alsace > AOC Alsace > Riesling AOC Alsace | Riesling | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 14.0 % alcohol

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Bottle

£32.95

Case price (12)
£355.80 Saving £39.60

Bottle 12 x 75cl 1cs

£270.48
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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

Riesling

Riesling

Riesling's twin peaks are its intense perfume and its piercing crisp acidity which it manages to retain even at high ripeness levels.

In Germany, Riesling constitutes around 20% of total plantings, yet it is responsible for all its greatest wines. It is planted widely on well-drained, south-facing slate-rich slopes, with the greatest wines coming from the best slopes in the best villages. It produces delicate, racy, nervy and stylish wines that cover a wide spectrum of flavours from steely and bone dry with beautifully scented fruits of apples,apricots, and sometimes peaches, through to the exotically sweet flavours of the great sweet wines.

It is also an important variety in Alsace where it produces slightly earthier, weightier and fuller wines than in Germany. The dry Rieslings can be austere and steely with hints of honey while the Vendages Tardives and Sélection de Grains Nobles are some of the greatest sweet wines in the world.

It is thanks to the New World that Riesling is enjoying a marked renaissance. In Australia the grape has developed a formidable reputation, delivering lime-sherbet fireworks amid the continental climate of Clare Valley an hour's drive north of Adelaide, while Barossa's Eden Valley is cooler still, producing restrained stony lime examples from the elevated granitic landscape; Tasmania is fast becoming their third Riesling mine, combining cool temperatures with high UV levels to deliver stunning prototypes.

New Zealand shares a similar climate, with Riesling and Pinot Gris neck to neck in their bid to be the next big thing after Sauvignon Blanc; perfectly suited is the South Island's Central Otago, with its granitic soils and continental climate, and the pebbly Brightwater area near Nelson. While Australia's Rieslings tend to be full-bodied & dry, the Kiwis are more inclined to be lighter bodied, more ethereal and sometimes off-dry; Alsace plays Mosel if you like.

The Region

Riesling AOC Alsace

Riesling is the undisputed king of Alsace grapes, covering 22.5 percent of the vineyard area and producing some of the noblest and most age-worthy wines in the region, including Vendange Tardive, Sélection de Grains Nobles, and Grands Crus.

Dry, refined, and delicately fruity, it has an elegant bouquet of citrus fruit with mineral or floral notes. A typical mature Alsace Riesling is bone dry, with steely acidity and complex mineral and flint aromas. Like its German counterpart, it displays a superb definition of flavours, but with more concentration and alcohol.

It thrives on schist, shale and slate soils that convey oily, petrolly, mineral aromas to the wine.

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Storage Details
 
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