Country, Region: France, Alsace
Appellation: Alsace Grand Cru
From the cool and wonderfully classic 2014 season which was another outstanding Riesling vintage for those producing fine mineral dry styles as the Kientzlers do.
‘The 2014 Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg is pure and precise on the nose, dense and clear, with some minty flavors. On the palate this is a pure, cool, fresh and bone-dry Riesling with a silky texture and a lot of salt and tension. This is pure and finessed, combining the freshness and piquancy of sandstone with the silkiness and fruit of a limestone terroir. The finish is fresh and aromatic, with lots of citrus flavors and a touch of Champagne because of the citrus flavors, chalkiness and the wild, small red berries like strawberries or red cassis. This Riesling has a gorgeous finesse and definition. It is a great Riesling that will age for at least 20 years.’ 94 points, Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate, July 2017.
'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.