Winery of the week: Vins d’Alsace Rietsch
May 08, 2017
This seventh-generation winery in Mittelbergheim is operated by Jean Pierre Rietsch and his sister, along with their spouses, making this truly a family affair. Once a poly-agricultural farm that included tobacco plantings, the Rietsch domaine has been solely dedicated to winemaking since 1970, when Jean Pierre’s parents changed over the farm from crops to vines. Jean Pierre made his first vinification in 1987 and today the domaine is comprised of almost 30 acres in five parcels.
The winery is housed in a Renaissance building dating from 1576, and uses large casks that are three generations old. But this winery is anything but old-fashioned: Jean Pierre has taken a lead in making “natural” wines without pesticides, weed killers, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides or antifungals. He is also experimenting with new methods of winemaking: the production of maceration wines (“orange” wines) and a perpetual cuvée. The perpetual cuvée blends older vintages with juice from the last harvest, combining the vivacity and freshness of the “new” vintage with the complexity of the older vintages.
The winery is Ecocert-certified, and has been organic since 2008, with particular attention to soil, flora and fauna management (Jean Pierre’s other passion is his organic vegetable garden, which he tends with compost and other sustainable and self-sufficient principles of permaculture).
The range of wines—all with original artwork— include two Rieslings in the “terroir” line, and well as two Grand Cru Rieslings; a white blend of Sylvaner, Riesling and Auxerrois; two Pinot Noirs, Crémant d’Alsace and a Gewurztraminer Vendages Tardives (late harvest).