Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Ostertag resurrection

You know what you like about wine – don’t you? Or have ever been in doubt? I can occasionally find myself in situations, where I feel my entire fence of wine self-confidence collapsing.

In situations like this - it almost feel like a bad conscience. How did I come to the point, where I neglected wine? Why wasn’t I thorough enough?  

I had a wine yesterday. A Riesling from Alsace, -which put me in the corner. Here I was, thinking about how I have completely abandoned Riesling and especially Alsace.

Riesling did it for me when I fell in love with wine. It was never Chardonnay. It was never Burgundy. Riesling had more personality, clarity, edge and acidity for my preferences.

But Alsace lost its sex appeal the day I discovered German Riesling. German Riesling however killed itself the more I got exposed to low sulphur wines. I sometimes hate myself for doing such simple conclusion. They are naive, arrogant and horrible narrow minded. Every detailed wine lover should always examine the exceptions before making such huge categorizations.

It’s not me at all. I am proud of being constant curious. I even know that I often go back to my old neighbourhood and check what I drank 10-15 years ago. But you see, often the result is disappointing and only confirming that the path I am on is the right one for me. So I get tired of having wasted my time. Why not use dedication to really get detailed about the types of wine, which are currently close to my heart?

That said – I went back to a producer, which I haven’t tasted for about 15 years. Domaine Ostertag in Alsace.

Why you may ask - and why Ostertag??

Well - I was in Champagne about 14 days ago, where I visited two good friends; David Léclapart and Jérôme Prévost. David always speaks highly about Ostertag and Jérôme said about the wine I am about to introduce “The best wine I have tasted for ages and it simply makes you feel better ”.

So let me introduce:
2013 Domaine Ostertag “Riesling Muenchberg”

Terroir: Red sandstone and volcanic sediments.
Vineyard: 17ha (Ostertag has 2,05ha) South-facing Grand Cru in the village of “Nothalten”
Viniculture: Biodynamic – certified by Demeter
Harvest: Picked 18 and 19th of October
Alc: 13%
Residual Sugar: 3g/l
Label: Symbolizes the fire from the volcanic soil and the silky sandstone
Glass: Zalto Universal

It’s rare that I would describe the label on a wine – and the meaning, as I have just done above. But here it makes perfect sense. The wine is a study of sand and volcanic soil embracing each other. You will see why.

When I opened the wine I wasn’t that impressed. It wasn’t bad, but it kind of remembered why I split up with an “old ex girlfriend”. Remembering all the things, which didn’t work out. But the bad memories stopped here. It took about 20 minutes before the wine turned and it never looked back.

Normally in tasting note, you start describing the aromatic notes from the nose – then the taste and then you sort of wrap it up. But here the order doesn’t really matter – because it’s not interesting.
I would rather try to describe a wine, which has an enormous impact on your body. The first thing, which makes me smile, is a totally free frame. The wine welcomes you with open arms and looks both to the sky and the earth. The feel of the wine is simply phenomenal. It feels ballerina light, but its main attraction is the elastic frame. Tasting it confirms it, where the silky and elastic structure creates a luxuries mouth feel, which warms up your entire body. Normally I tend to favour wine and especially Rieslings, which provide a high acidity. But here it’s different. The acidity is present for sure, but somehow wrapped in this soft structure. But it doesn’t really matter, because the taste is about something completely else. I have already describes this mouth coating appeal, but on the finish it warm both palate and body up with this red volcanic soil. So imagine dear readers, you actually have a wine, where you by heart know all the components – as they are strong singular elements. When you combine them - you somehow know why they work so strongly together.  They simply curl around each other’s personalities in circular movements (just like the label) and it’s simply unbelievable beautiful. By far the best Riesling I have tasted in years.