2021 Domaine Ostertag, Riesling, Muenchberg Grand Cru, Vin d’Alsace, France.
One of the most delicate and pure dry Rieslings I’ve had from Alsace the 2021 Ostertag Muenchberg Grand Cru is an almost hauntingly beautiful crisp, stony and mineral rich white wine that seduces through subtlety and finesse, it is a wine that speaks quietly, but holds you in rapt attention. Ostertag clearly understands its terroirs and vintages to near perfection and doesn’t feel the need to try to bolster or put any make up on the wines, preferring to allow the drinkers to listen a bit extra carefully to fully appreciate the class and nuance to be found in the wines, especially this heavenly Riesling. The Muenchberg, set on complex soils with volcanic sediment and pink sandstone, which heighten the aromatics and gives loads of mineral intensity, all of which show fabulously here with pretty white blossoms, rose oil and wet stones to start and the lighter medium bodied palate shines with tangerine/lime citrus, white peach, quince and tart apple fruits, along with a steely focus, a touch of tropical essences, clove spice, citron, salty seashore and minty herbs. Look for this one to age nicely, but its thrill isn’t from concentration or power, but from the weightless grace it shows and the precision, restraint and detail here.
Led by André Ostertag, Domaine Ostertag, which was founded in 1966, has been a leader in Alsace’s move towards organic farming and focusing on environmental health in the vineyards, crafting wines that show purity and transparency. Imported by Kermit Lynch, Ostertag has gained a fanatic and loyal following in the States, with a collection of stellar offerings that includes dry Sylvaner, Pinot Gris and Riesling mostly. André, who trained in Burgundy, is looked at as a pioneer, with Kermit noted that he brought biodynamic viticulture to his fourteen hectares of vineyards, including his flagship parcel in the Muenchberg Grand Cru. This vintage was crafted without any oak, with Ostertag chasing to express his Muenchberg through the exclusive use of stainless steel vat with spontaneous fermentation in tank and then aging it sur lie (on the lees) for 12 months before bottling to capture freshness and acidity, but allowing for its subtle depth. I am lucky enough to have met André a few years back and have been a fan ever since, these are really exceptional and soulful wines, especially the Rieslings, though I really like the Ostertag Pinot Noir for its distinctive quality. Alsace is seeing a lot of change and a whole new world of wines are coming from this region that had been getting stale in the world’s eyes, and the quality levels are going up as well, all of which is good and creating excitement here, we are even seeing orange wines, and Ostertag does one of the most interesting. It’s a great time to explore Alsace and Ostertag is an estate that you should put on your list.
($88 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive