Country, Region: France, Alsace
Appellation: Alsace Grand Cru
Just 300 bottles produced in a good vintage from this tiny 0.3 ha site south facing vineyard with notable gypsum in the soil. This vineyard was purchased around 2010 by Eric Kientzler and is quickly proving to be one of the most distinguished Rieslings in the fabulous line-up of spectacularly dry and mineral Rieslings at this address.
'Voltaire once owned part of this vineyard, which was reknowned in the middle ages and gained fame throughout Europe by the 16th century.' Tom Stevenson – The Wines of Alsace.
‘The 2016 Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg is the sixth vintage Kientzler produced here. The wine opens discreet but fine and with some smoky, flinty aromas. Very pure and mineral on the palate, this is a very aromatic but clear, intense, very fine and densely textured Riesling from a south-facing but cool terroir that produces fascinating Rieslings with some exotic flavors. Drink 2018-2040.’ 92+ points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, 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.