Riesling, André Kientzler, Ribeauvillé 2016
André Kientzler, Ribeauvillé
“One of the most talented winemakers in Alsace, André Kientzler consistently produces the region’s finest Auxerrois […] elevating such modest varieties to well above their station is a tribute to his skill and dedication, but he has Riesling and Gewürztraminer growing in prime sites and it is what he manages to do with these that ranks his wines among the very best in Alsace.” Tom Stevenson, The Wines of Alsace
André Kientzler’s style remains unique, displaying his craft and experience with wines that mirror his calm and unassuming character. They are very fine with underlying purity and intense mineral notes. The Rieslings are like crystal, gaining great complexity over the years. Do not expect big showy wines here, just wines that are classy and racy. André is now helped by his son, Eric, in the running of their small estate, who is the fifth generation of his family to hold the reins of this fine domaine. “Grown with great respect for the earth and its environment”, their vineyards cover 13.8 hectares, of which 4.4ha are Grands Crus located in the villages of Ribeauvillé, Bergheim, Hunawihr and Riquewihr. Grand Cru ‘Geisberg’ is the undoubted star. 100 years ago, Alphonse Kientzler was already planting vines on the steep local hillsides, while many winemakers turned to lowland vineyards, as they were easier to work with. However, even then Alphonse had realized that his efforts were not in vain. These steep sites brought a markedly higher quality to the finished wines. This is explained by the nature of the soil, sun exposure, slope and microclimate. Today, the family estate can claim that 90% of its vines are planted on hillsides or the lower Vosges slopes. Old vines are also part of their precious heritage: 80% of the vineyards at the domaine comprise vines of more than 35 years of age, with 10% being over 80 years of age. Almost entirely planted to Riesling, the small yet noble Grand Cru ‘Osterberg’ is very steep with imposing stone terraces. Facing southeast on a soil base of calcareous sandstone and marl, a long slow ripening and later harvest are encouraged by the cooling effect of the fresh night-time winds. The wines are finely chiselled, complex and powerfully mineral. Their ageing ability is undoubted. Grand Cru ‘Geisberg’ consists of steeply sloped, south-facing terraces separated by 2-3m high walls. Calcareous sandstone dominates the soil, with a streak of marl. Cool night winds slow the ripening of the grapes and the Vosges mountains act as a barrier against the damp winds coming from the northwest. Together with a high planting density (6,500 plants per hectare), the resulting wines are complex and powerful, with a unique depth and minerality. They have exceptional ageing potential of at least 20-25 years.
With crystal-like precision, André Kientzler Riesling 2015 is complex with intensely pure fruit Character. Beautifully balanced with a vibrant acidity and an underlying clean minerality.
Grape: 100% Riesling