Our winner for this year’s BTW (Best Turkey Wine) was a no brainer this year: The 2016 Ostertag Les Jardins Dry Riesling.
André Ostertag, the enigmatic Alsatian wunderkind beloved by critics and collectors alike for his jaw dropping, chiseled, dry wines, will undoubtedly make its presence known at your Thanksgiving table. One of Kermit Lynch’s best producers in a book crowded with gems, Ostertag’s wine will not let you down. Experience one of Alsace’s most revered and talked about winemakers capture Riesling in all its glory. Layered with shavings of minerals, torn up herb and just picked orchard fruit, the 2016 captures the essence of being both opulent and textural, yet – as many 2016’s tend to be – pulsating with verve and acidity. It’s a flat-out terrific wine, detailed and clearly complex while at the same time delicious and glug worthy for the awkward uncle, too.
If Mr. Ostertag’s “entry” level Riesling isn’t enough, we are also lucky to have a very limited supply of his staggeringly rare 2016 Grand Cru Muenchberg. A powerhouse of earth, mineral and stone fruit, the Muenchberg is often considered one of Alsace’s most collectable wines. If you want to go from 0 to 60 mph in two seconds at the Thanksgiving table (and who doesn’t?) , Ostertag’s Muenchberg is the wine to uncork.
2016 Domaine Ostertag Les Jardins Riesling
“A rather shy nose leads to a slender palate where lemon zest, chervil and a riper notion of red apple combine to make a very honest, dry and refreshing wine. A clean, earthy freshness lingers long.” 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast
2016 Domaine Ostertag Muenchberg Riesling Grand Cru
“The nose holds an intriguing, dual appeal. On the one hand there is the breezy, ozonic freshness of crushed citrus leaves and their ethereal oils, on the other there is bountiful, juicy but gentle stone fruit. These opposing poles unite on nose and palate to create a lovely tension on a very taut, but juicy palate. This has so much fruit and depth that you want to delve ever deeper into these flavors. The lemon and apricot finish endures and entices. Lovely now, certain to evolve. Drink now–2035.” 97 Points, Wine Enthusiast
More About the Wine
Nerds and collectors have sought out Ostertag for a while now. His wines are some of the most talked about in Alsace due to a rare arrangement of Mr. Ostertag’s clear talent as a winemaker, but also because of his imagination and daring in the field and cellar. He does confine himself to the traditional Alsatian way and it is this combination of technical skill and daring artistic ambition make his wines broaden into not just being exceptional, but downright exciting experiences. They are boldly multidimensional in scope while also being deliciously thirst-inducing at the same time.
His work in the vineyard is important because much of Mr. Ostertag’s identity is forged in his non-interventionist approach with nature. Practicing biodynamic viticulture since 1998 (one of the first in the appellation), Ostertag does all vineyard work and harvesting by hand and uses zero chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. It’s important to note that this practice is both much more labor and time intensive– and therefore much more expensive. But Mr. Ostertag won’t have it any other way.
2016, while a difficult year (Mr. Ostertag describes it as a year forged in pain) ended with wines he describes as “wonders.” In his own words: “2016 has all I like in a wine, the transparency and the purity of a mountain lake, a sensual texture and a long saline imprint from the rock of the origins.”
If you are new to this very, very special estate, we urge you to treat yourself and experience these precious and exciting wines for the holiday.