Ostertag is an emblematic family vineyard in the Alsace Region. At the beginning of that family story we find Adolphe Ostertag who cultivated his land in the sixties. At the time the family was growing beetroots, lucerne and potatoes ! Handover happened later when Adolphe inherited the domaine and directed the activity towards the vine and started running it. At last 1966 saw the first harvest and bottling of a Ostertag wine. Adolphe developed a boundless passion for the vine, he fought for the recognition of the quality of the Bas-Rhin wines and worked hard to develop the vineyard. Within only 20 years, the domaine grew from 1,5 hectare to reach 15 hectares today, spread between white wines (almost 14 hectares of the domaine dedicated to it) and other red wines (0.7 hectare). Taken over by the son André Ostertag in the eighties, the domaine developed and grew along the years. Strong of its 5 hectares at the time, the vineyard today counts on over 15 hectares for its production, all spread over what André likes to call his “ gardens of vines”. There are 80 of them, spread over several villages : Epfig (63%), Nothalten (30%), Itterswiller (2%), Ribeauvillé (4%) and Albé (1%) plus various localities : Zellberg, Fronholz, Heissenberg, the Grand Cru Muenchberg as well as on a recent plot of land on the Hagel de Ribeauvillé, more precisely, the Clos Mathis. So, such as a gardener, André proceeds from one garden to another taking care of each vine. Here is indeed another special feature of the Ostertag domaine… the vine. In 1997 André had the idea to try his hand with Biodynamic methods : « one must sometimes do things one doesn’t understand and see what happens ». The result was excellent ! 100% of the vines have been cultivated following Biodynamic principles since 1998, with respect and understanding of surrounding wildlife and flora. The team of the domaine pays special attention to soil and ecosystem changes. Always keeping in mind a protection approach the Ostertag family chooses barrels made out of wood from the Vosges highlighting regional territories. Harvests are totally done by hand, the wine is not filtered and sulphur input is minimal. Among the numerous vine varieties, André Ostertag differenciates three wine classifications : Fruit wines, Stone wines and Weather wines.
In Fruit wines, we look for the grape variety and expression. Harvest is done at normal maturity and wine ageing lasts 6 to 9 months. Those wines are to be drunk young and kept up to 5 years. The label symbolising “Dansing Wine” is designed by Christine Colin, André’s wife. As for Stone wines, they mean to express the terroir, bed rock and stone. Harvests are slightly delayed to express even more maturity and wine ageing extend from 11 up to 18 months. Though 10 to 20 years long keeping wines, they can either be drunk young, or at maturity or even close to an age of wisdom. As ever designed by Christine, the label symbolises the "Vine Stock". Weather wines express over maturity or else, noble rot, that can only happen in a situation where waiting is combined with favourable weather. Wine ageing is slightly shorter than for Stone wines (9 to 12 months), and fruit maturity gives them that long keep potential quality (from 20 up to 50 years). The bottles are transparent with a minimalist label designed by André, enhancing the splendid colour of his wines. In some cases like with the pinots for instance, barrels are prefered to vats in order to develop further the expression of wine aromas. Today the domaine Ostertag produces various organic Alsatian wines, all more prestigious from one another : Pinot noir, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner, Pinot gris… After travelling around France to learn, Arthur, André’s son has returned with a « full science on grape » so his father says. He seems to be proving it right especially concerning the 2016 Pinot noir that promises to be « spectacular » according to his father. The Riesling takes up most of the domaine with over 50% of the vineyard dedicated to it. The Ostertag family has nothing to prove regarding the quality of its wines and its biodynamic approach that will indeed delight your taste buds!