1605 SAN PABLO AVENUE, BERKELEY, CA 94702   |   510.524.1524

KERMIT LYNCH WINE MERCHANT

Technical Information

Wine Blend Vine Age Soil Type Vineyard Area*
Gewurztraminer "Vignoble d'E"
Gewurztraminer 20+ yrs Gravel, Clay 1.5 ha
Pinot Blanc "Barriques"
Pinot Blanc 20+ yrs Clay, Limestone, Granite 0.8 ha
Pinot Gris "Barriques"
Pinot Gris 20+ yrs Gravel, Clay, Schist 0.8 ha
Pinot Noir Rouge "E"
Pinot Noir 20+ yrs Gravel, Clay 0.5 ha
Riesling "Vignoble d'E"
Riesling 30+ yrs Gravel, Sand, Silica, Clay 2.5 ha
Sylvaner "Les Vieilles Vignes"
Sylvaner 40+ yrs Clay, Granite, Gravel 2 ha
Muscat
Fronholz
Muscat 40+ yrs White Sand, Quartz, Clay, Marl 0.3 ha
Pinot Gris
Fronholz
Pinot Gris 20 yrs White Sand, Quartz, Clay, Marl 0.25 ha
Pinot Gris
Grand Cru Muenchberg "A360P"
Pinot Gris 30 yrs Red Sandstone, Volcanic Soil, Limestone 0.4 ha
Pinot Gris
Zellberg
Pinot Gris 20+ yrs Clay, Limestone, Pink Sandstone 0.5 ha
Pinot Noir
Fronholz
Pinot Noir 40+ yrs White Sand, Quartz, Clay, Marl 0.3 ha
Riesling
Fronholz
Riesling 30+ yrs White Sand, Quartz, Clay, Marl 1.2 ha
Riesling
Heissenberg
Riesling 25+ yrs Pink Sandstone, Gneiss, Granite 0.75 ha
Riesling
Clos Mathis
Riesling 25+ yrs Granite 0.60 ha
Riesling
Grand Cru Muenchberg
Riesling 35+ yrs Volcanic Sediment, Pink Sandstone 1.7 ha
Gewurztraminer
SGN
Gewurztraminer 20+ yrs Gravel, Clay 1.8 ha
Gewurztraminer
Fronholz SGN
Gewurztraminer 40+ years White Sand, Quartz, Clay, Marl 1.2 ha
Gewurztraminer
Fronholz VT
Gewurztraminer 40+ years White Sand, Quartz, Clay, Marl 1.2 ha
Riesling
Grand Cru Muenchberg VT
Riesling 20 years, 70 years Red Sandstone, Volcanic Sediment 1.65 ha
* "ha" = hectares; one hectare equals roughly two and a half acres

VITICULTURE / VINIFICATION

Practicing biodynamic viticulture since 1998, Domaine Ostertag does all vineyard work and harvesting by hand and uses no chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. The domaine owns 14.4 hectares of vineyards in over 80 separate plots spread over the villages of Epfig, Nothalten, Itterswiller, Ribeauvillé, and Albé.

The fruit is pressed gently, and indigenous yeasts induce a long fermentation that continues until the wines are fully dry (with the exception of the Gewurztraminer). André defies his region’s conventions by aging his Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir in oak barrels, in the style of Burgundy, where these varietals originated, on their lees. He uses 228L oak barrels produced from an area of the Vosges mountains that is adjacent to his domaine. Very little new oak is used and it has a very light toast. All used barrels come from the domaine and may be 1 year or up to 20 years old. The percentages of new oak used each vintage is relatively stable: Pinot Blanc “Barriques” = 3%, Pinot Gris “Barriques” = 8%, Pinot Gris Fronholz = 10%, Pinot Gris Zellberg = 14%, Pinot Gris A360P Muenchberg = 20%. The Sylvaner, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and all the Rieslings are aged in 100% stainless steel. The Pinot Noir “E” is a blend of stainless and barrique.

Vins de Fruit:
Ostertag’s vins de fruit or “fruit wines” are made to express varietal character and feature the flavor of the grapes themselves. The first to be harvested, these wines are aged 6-9 months before release and are meant to be drunk young (within five years of release). The vins de fruit can be identified by their green bottles and the “Dancing Vines” label.

Vins de Pierre:
The next category is for wines that are designed to express their terroir and are aptly name vins de pierre or “stone wines.” Harvested later than the vins de fruit, they are aged 11-18 months and can be drunk young or aged for up to 20 years. Their labels emphasize the vineyard names and feature a painting of a single vine.

Vins de Temps:
The estate’s vendanges tardives and sélections de grains nobles are named for both meanings of the French word temps: the weather, which can make or break a vintage, and time, which is necessary to over-ripening for the late harvest wines and for the development of noble rot. The minimalist labels used here allow the wines’ brilliant colors to stand in the spotlight. The vins de temps reach their peak after 20-50 years of cellaring.

The Fronholz Vineyard:
Located on the top and the southwest slopes of the hill of Epfig, the Fronholz vineyard gives wines with marked minerality, firm acidity, and elegant aromas that can be rather discreet in their youth. The estate’s four hectares are divided among Riesling (1 ha), Muscat (0.3 ha), Pinot Noir (0.3 ha), Pinot Gris (0.75 ha), Gewurztraminer (1.3 ha), and Sylvaner (0.35 ha).

The Heissenberg Vineyard:
Domaine Ostertag owns 0.75 hectares of vineyards in the Heissenberg or “Hot Mountain” vineyard in Nothalten. With a soil of pink sandstone of the Vosges and gneiss, this south-facing slope is planted exclusively to Riesling and gives fleshy, mineral wines with generous, exotic aromas.

The Zellberg Vineyard:
The southeast facing Zellberg vineyard is located on the mid-slopes in the village of Nothalten on a soil of clay, limestone, and the pink sandstone of the Vosges that gives fat, sensual wines with delicate aromas. The estate’s 0.45 hectares are planted to Pinot Gris.

Clos Mathis:
The Clos is located near Ribeauville at the foot of the trios châteaux and next to the grand cru Kirchberg. It is a terraced hillside of granite with south-east exposure.

The Muenchberg Vineyard:
From the Alsatian “muench” meaning monk, this vineyard is named for the Cistercian monks who originally planted vines here in the 11th-12th centuries. In a south-facing amphitheater in Nothalten at the foot of the Vosges mountains, the Muenchberg site combines volcanic sediment and the pink sandstone of the Vosges with a touch of limestone. The vineyard offers definition, elegance, and great length and class to the Riesling (1.65 ha) and Pinot Gris (0.40 ha, aka A360P) planted here.

MISCELLANEA

The Ostertag Family:
The name Ostertag means “Easter day,” and the family coat of arms shows the Easter lamb carrying a battle flag. This image was the inspiration for the estate’s logo of a sheep.

The Labels:
The images on the vins de fruit and vins de pierre labels are by André’s wife, Christine Colin-Ostertag.