20+ yrs vine age in gravel, clay, and schist soil. Aged, sur lie, in old 228 L oak barrels, for 9 months
To call André Ostertag a revolutionary winemaker is to tell just half the story. He is a pioneer, certainly, but also an ardent environmentalist (as demonstrated in both his wine and his sculpture, another passion). After training in Burgundy, André returned to the family domaine in Alsace with renewed zeal: he lowered yields considerably and introduced viticultural and vinification techniques from other regions to his own home ground. The 1996 vintage marked his first collaboration with KLWM, and the following year he brought biodynamic viticulture to his fourteen hectares of vineyards, including his flagship parcel in the Muenchberg Grand Cru.
There is poetry to Ostertag’s practices. He looks for the nuance of terroir rather than the typicity of a grape varietal. In an act of rejection against the official classifications dictated by the A.O.C., he made up his own categories: Vins de Fruit that express fruit character rather than that of a specific vineyard site, Vins de Pierre reflecting the terroir from which they originate, and Vin de Temps that rely on time and weather to encourage the development of botrytis. He ferments the majority of his wines completely dry, so their versatility at the table surpasses that of many other wines from the region. In Ostertag’s experience, a careful use of oak subtly enhances the traditional Alsatian varietals from the Pinot family, giving them greater depth on the palate. He uses oak sourced exclusively from the Vosges Mountains and, for his Pinots, prefers barriques to the traditional foudres. He rejects formulaic, scientifically engineered wines, and since going biodynamic in 1997, has been an active member of the natural farming community.
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