ABOUT THIS WINE
Fronholz is a mound that sits on the plain, faces south and west and has three distinct soil types. So the location and topology are nicely set up to provide a variety of terroirs. As it’s set back from the Vosges it benefits from cooling winds which helps conserve the acidities and the aromatics in the wines. This is coupled with a pronounced structure and minerality, which allows good longevity in the bottle. The summit runs to almost 300 meters and for Alsace there is a fairly unique west-facing slope. The Fronholz was a candidate for Grand Cru classification in the 1980’s and is now a submitted dossier to the INAO for the new Premier Cru classification. That last sentence deserves a story all on its own.
Up at the summit the soils are light, sandy, sprinkled with quartz and fast draining. This part is really a plateau with a long gentle slope towards the south, a site that develops early and is particularly well suited to Riesling. It has a tendency to suffer from drought, which can impact the younger vines. The Riesling from this site is crystalline and sharp, with great acidity and is well balanced with delicate floral aromatics. As you descend the hill, on the full west facing steeper slope, the soil becomes heavier and clayey. This is a late season site, with long, fresh sunny evenings.
After harvest and fermentation, the wine ages in oak barrels, 10 – 20% new, for 1 year.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
André Ostertag’s winery is a complex of buildings on the edge of the town of Epfig, which lies midway between Strasbourg and Colmar, about 35 kilometres from each. Epfig is 5 km east from the long snaking line where the Alsace vineyards hug the lower hills of the Vosges Mountains, and it is one of the few wine towns/villages that doesn’t sit bang on the wine route. See the map for the location. The Romans settled here and named their village Epiacum. We assume they planted a few vines, and fragments of Roman pottery continue to turn up as the vineyards are worked.
The Ostertag domaine was established in 1966 by Andrés father, and that counts as start-up material in Alsace, where domaines often go back ten to fifteen generations. André took over in 1980 following winemaking studies in Burgundy. In Alice Feiring’s recent book The Dirty Guide to Wine, she writes that the Alsace region is filled with philosophers and thinkers, and immediately goes on to quote André Ostertag. Often referred to as a philosopher and poet, we also see André as a director, maître de scene, auteur, and transformer.
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