Variety: Pinot Gris
Country, Region: France, Alsace
Appellation: Alsace Grand Cru
Kirchberg is the highest and coolest vineyard in the village of Ribeauville lying closest to the forest which has cooling breezes drifting down from the afternoon and all evening. From this higher and cooler site this wine is consistently one of the freshest and raciest Pinot Gris' in Alsace. The Kientzler holding is very close to the forest and also located quite high on the slope making this one of Alsace's coolest Pinot Gris'. This 2017 has 14.2 g/l RS, 7.16 g/l TA and 13.85% alc.
’Vibrant yellow with green tinges. Ripe apple and pear aromas are complicated by sweet spices and a hint of smoke. Bright and juicy on entry, but hollow in the middle, though still deeper and more flavorful than Kientzler’s 2017 Pinot Gris Geisberg. Finishes medium-long and slightly sweet.’ 88 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
'One of the most talented Winemakers in Alsace ... he has Riesling and Gewürztraminer growing in prime sites and it is what he manages to do with these that ranks his wines among the very best in Alsace. Although his generic Riesling has great class and finesse, his Grand Cru Geisberg and Grand Cru Osterberg are very much finer. The Geisberg is the riper and more opulent, with a wisp of smokiness to the fruit, the Osterberg is more classic and flinty, requiring longer in bottle.' The Wines of Alsace, Tom Stevenson.
The Kientzler family has been growing vines for more than 5 generations in Ribeauville and the surrounding area. As early as 1866, Dominique Alphonse Kientzler had inherited vines from his father and grandfather and in 1895 was involved in the creation of France's first winemaking cooperative in Ribeauville, in addition to running the local grocery shop. His son Alphonse carried on the grocery business while also tending to the vines; he eventually became the Mayor of Ribeauville either side of World War II.
It was Alphonse's son Francois though, who was the first to fully concentrate on wine production, taking himself off to Switzerland to study viticulture. By the 1970s, he was joined by his son Andre in the wine business and the pair undertook a massive replanting program to replace much of the old Chasselas with the noble Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer varieties.
Today, the Kientzlers farm almost 14ha of vines in Ribeauville, Bergheim, Hunawihr and Riquewihr, including significant parcels in the Grand Crus of Geisberg, Osterberg and Kirchberg. And in turn Andre handed over the reins to his sons in 2009; Thierry looks after the winemaking and Eric the commercial side of the business.