Located in Epfig, in the Lower-Rhine, the Domaine Ostertag ("Easter Day") has raised itself to the top of the hierarchy of Alsace properties in just two generations. Adolphe Ostertag created the Domaine in 1966. His son André took over in 1980, helped by his sister Annie. There are 15 hectares of vines, consisting of a hundred plots spread over five different terroirs. André Ostertag is in the habit of talking of the 80 gardens that he tends. Trained in Burgundy, André has made quality his priority. Controlled yields, careful management of the vines, meticulous vinification, and ageing partially in barrels (for the Pinot Gris). In 1997, he converted the vineyard to organic farming (with AB certification) and then to biodynamic methods (without certification). Riesling, of which André Ostertag is a big fan, accounts for nearly 50% of the property's vines. The other varieties, in decreasing proportions, are Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Pinot Noir and Muscat. Different combinations of terroirs, grape varieties and levels of ripeness enable the Domaine to produce about twenty cuvées each year. André Ostertag classifies them in three main families: fruit wines (expressing the variety and grape flavours); stone wines (expressing the terroir); and vins de temps (which involve both meanings of the French word "temps" i.e. "weather" and "time", resulting in late ripening or noble rot).
About the cuvée
André Ostertag is a big fan of Riesling and almost 50% of his domaine is devoted to its cultivation. Heissenberg translates as “warm mountain”; the terroir here lies on a steep south-facing slope with a mineral soil featuring granite and sandstone. The sun exposure gives the wine a certain roundness which is reminiscent of a Pinot Gris. Even those who tend to find Riesling a little harsh and tight will be bowled over by this cuvée.
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