Winery of the Week: Domaine André Kientzler
October 09, 2017
Spanning the villages of Ribeauvillé, Bergheim, Hunawihr and Riquewihr, Domaine André Kientzler consists of 34 acres of vineyard, nearly 11 of them in the Geisberg, Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé, Osterberg and Schoenenbourg Grand Crus.
The Kientzler family has been in Ribeauvillé since the 19th century when Dominique Alphonse Kientzler ran a grocery store in the village that, in the next generation, would become a wine press and cellar, primarily for Muscat, Chasselas and Riesling.
Three generations later, André attended the School Viticultural in Beaune, and was named Winegrower of the Year in 1992 by Gault & Millaut, the influencial French restaurant guide. Now in its fifth generation, the domaine, which long ago moved out of the city center, is helmed by his sons, Thierry and Eric.
Though founded on a stock of Chasselas, today Kientzler cultivates all seven white varieties in Alsace, with Riesling and Gewurztraminer making up about half of the plantings. Approximately 80 percent of the vines are more than 35 years old, and 10 percent are 80+ years old; some of the older vines are 60-year-old Muscat Ottonel, a noble and historic variety in Alsace.
Their hallmark across the entire range is bringing out the exceptional typicity of each variety’s character: each wine is characterized by an underlying purity and very intense mineral notes. As a result, these wines are dry and gastronomic. While the Rieslings show well in their youth, they can also age effortlessly for 10-15 years.