• André Ostertag: Alsatian Sensation

    André Ostertag: Alsatian Sensation

    Domaine Ostertag has long gone against the grain of Alsatian expectations, crafting dry, disciplined wines that still summon the sunshine that marks the region. His Fronholz and Grand Cru Muenchberg Rieslings especially imbue the transparency and purity of a mountain lake. These wines are a moment of clarity for Alsace!

    Alsace is in the cool northeast pocket of France, and its protection from the Vosges Mountains means it receives the least amount of rainfall of any region. This abundant sunshine has long given Alsatian wines a rounded and golden orchard fruit quality, often with a dollop of residual sugar. However, several elements separate Ostertag from the norm. André studied viticulture in Burgundy and returned home in 1998 to employ organic and biodynamic principles in the vineyard. He also decided to ferment his Rieslings completely dry and age them in stainless steel.

    Today, Alsace is famous for having the highest percentage of organic and biodynamic producers in France. While the quality at harvest couldn't be higher, I still find few producers that execute with the same sense of harmony that Ostertag is adored for.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Thunder Mountain Strikes: 2019 Louis Michel Chablis

    Thunder Mountain Strikes: 2019 Louis Michel Chablis

    Sitting with friends at San Francisco's Zuni Cafe with a platter of oysters is one of life's great pleasures. Zuni's wine list is one of the best in the city, and it's always a challenge to be decisive before the oysters arrive. However, a friend wasted no time choosing the perfect pairing of stainless steel Chablis: Louis Michel's famous Premier Cru, Montée de Tonnerre, or "Thunder Mountain," as it translates.

    As the name might suggest, Montée de Tonnerre isn't your typical Premier Cru, and even more so in the proper hands. The southwest-facing slope sits next to the seven Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis along the right bank of the Serein river. The old vines here add a sense of grandeur, as the wine picks up flesh and deeper color with time.

    Louis Michel was an innovator in the 1960s that moved away from barrel aging Chardonnay. Chablis's Kimmeridgian limestone soil was so unique that stainless steel was the ideal vessel to unmask its terroir. This domaine has always been synonymous with value, and Montée de Tonnerre is unquestionably a gem.

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    Posted by Max Kogod