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
Fronholz is an exceptional terroir for the Alsace; whilst it perches on a slope, it does not belong to the Vosges mountains and it boasts an unusual south-east facing aspect which gives longer days of mild sun exposure. The soil is sandy quartz with deeper layers of clay beneath – the sandy soil lends the wine its elegance and the clay its density. This cuvée is an example of what André Ostertag terms, “Vins de Pierre” ("stone wines”), which reflect the distinct nuance of their terroir. Matured on fine lees, this is a racy wine abounding with elegance and complexity. Its bouquet of ripe and exotic fruit brings terrific flavour to its fine mineral tension. Made for cellaring, it is a delicious accompaniment to cured salmon.
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