The Kientzler family has been growing vines for more than 5 generations in Ribeauvillé and the surrounding area. As early as 1866, Dominique Alphonse Kientzler had inherited vines from his father and grandfather and in 1895 was involved in the creation of France’s first winemaking cooperative in Ribeauvillé, in addition to running the local grocery shop. His son Alphonse carried on the grocery business while also tending to the vines; he eventually became the Mayor of Ribeauvillé either side of World War II.
It was Alphonse’s son François though, who was the first to fully concentrate on wine production, taking himself off to Switzerland to study viticulture. By the 1970s, he was joined by his son André in the wine business and the pair undertook a massive replanting program to replace much of the old Chasselas with the noble Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer varieties.
Today, the Kientzlers farm almost 14ha of vines in Ribeauvillé, Bergheim, Hunawihr and Riquewihr, including significant parcels in the Grand Crus of Geisberg, Osterberg and Kirchberg. And in turn André handed over the reins to his sons in 2009; Thierry looks after the winemaking and Eric the commercial side of the business.
'One of the most talented Winemakers in Alsace…..he has Riesling and Gewürztraminer growing in prime sites and it is what he manages to do with these that ranks his wines among the very best in Alsace. Although his generic Riesling has great class and finesse, his Grand Cru Geisberg and Grand Cru Osterberg are very much finer. The Geisberg is the riper and more opulent, with a wisp of smokiness to the fruit, the Osterberg is more classic and flinty, requiring longer in bottle.'The Wines of Alsace, Tom Stevenson.
WINE NOTES AND REVIEWS
Each year when we visit the Kientzlers to taste the new vintages the lasting impression after each visit is that the tasting as a whole delivers a remarkable range of some of the most crystaline pure wines that one could possibly find in not only Alsace but anywhere in France. It is not hard to understand why this estate is so highly regarded within France as one of the leading domaines of Alsace. However quantities are so limited that very little makes its way into export markets, or to reviewers outside of France. Simply put, these wines sell out at the domaine each year at very reasonable prices with no fuss. These wines deserve your discovery and appreciation and we are very grateful for the access to this remarkable range of wines.
2017 Pinot Blanc (Stelvin)
From 100% Auxerrois. Shows the fine floral perfume and fresh acidity so typical of this variety and village. Finishing dry with length and persistence. 13% Alc/Vol; 3.56 g/l RS; 6.44 g/l TA.
2014 Pinot Gris (Stelvin)
Ripe and exotic with a hint of honeyed sweetness with restraint and finesse. Fine citric and stone fruit flavours with hints of smoke and ample acidity. Richly textured, yet fresh and vibrant. 13.16% Alc/Vol; 2.5 g/l RS; 7.3 g/l TA.
2013 Riesling (Stelvin)
Classic lime and citrus zest aromas backed by discrete minerality. Wonderfully pure and intense for this level. Fine, precise and beautifully balanced. 12.5% Alc/Vol; 0.6 g/l RS; 8.9 g/l TA.
2013 Gewurztraminer (Stelvin)
A fine and fresh and delicately perfumed Gewurztraminer with restraint and lovely fine acidity buffering its richness. Fine, elegant and restrained. 13.94% Alc/Vol; 11.5 g/l RS; 7.2 g/l TA.
2017 Kientzler Riesling Ribeauvillé
‘Bright golden-tinged yellow. Camphor, licorice and orange oil complement apple and pear on the nose and in the mouth. Very savory – almost salty, in fact – and very broad. The long, saline finish really extends the wine’s flavor on the spicy close. Kientzler has dropped the “Réserve Particulière” namesake and now just labels this as Ribeauvillé. A completely different wine from Kientzler’s entry-level Riesling, though the grapes for each come from very difficult soils. This wine is made only from hillside vineyards around Ribeauvillé and the young vines of the estate’s three Grand Cru vineyards (the Geisberg, Osterberg and Kirchberg).’ 90+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Riesling Muhlforst
‘Pale golden-tinged straw. Spicy aromas of apple and pear are complemented by fennel and lime. Then very mineral, minty and juicy in the mouth, offering flavors not unlike the aromas. Very juicy and saline, with a youthfully chewy mouthfeel. Made from very young vines (eight years old), this is only the second vintage of this wine.’ 90+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Riesling Grand Cru Osterberg
‘Medium bright golden-tinged yellow. Gentle aromas of anise and chamomile, plus apple and gooseberry. Fairly ripe acidity supports the orchard fruit and herbs but I am used to much better lift in this wine (the wine is atypically round because it underwent a full malo). Eric Kientzler told me he was not looking to do so ( I totally understand) but he has been experimenting with lower sulfur levels lately and this time the malo got away. Those who like softer, riper-styled white wines will like this more than I do.’ 88 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Riesling Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé
”Wow this is really driven with superb green-apple, mineral and floral aromas and flavors. Full body. Dry and flavorful at the end. Intense ripeness and acidity. Edgy. Drink now.” 94 points Jamessuckling.com, August 2019
‘Bright straw. Lively aromas of white stone fruit, jasmine and celery seed. Deep and dense with brooding, nicely persistent orchard fruit and mineral flavors. Still very young and only beginning to express all of its noteworthy potential. Great wine in the making, but I’d forget about it in the cellar for another five years at least.’ 92+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg
‘Bright straw. Very typical aromas for this wine: lime, mirabelle, talc and jasmine. Big, deep wine in the typical style of the Grand Cru, featuring harmonious acidity that really lifts and carries this wine. Finishes long and tastes practically dry. Though still youthful and somewhat closed, this is by far the best wine in the Kientzler lineup I tasted this year.’ 93+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg
”Attractive, fine, minerally aromas with apples, limes and lemons. Gently chalky palate that has limes and a sparky kick of acidity that drives long and even. Drink or hold.” 93 points Jamessuckling.com, August 2019
‘Bright golden-tinged straw. Green apple and pear, spicy anise, botanical herbs and menthol on the nose. Soft and juicy but with noteworthy peppery bite, this turns austere and lemony, leaving behind saline apricot flavors that linger nicely. A refined, well-balanced Geisberg Riesling.” 92 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Pinot Gris Grand Cru Osterberg
‘Vivid straw-yellow. Aromas of apple and pear have a slight crystallized ginger nuance. Rather vertical in style, with a peppery edge on the long floral finish. Lovely balance, and so this tastes only off-dry despite the presence of recognizable residual sugar.’ 91 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé
’Vibrant yellow with green tinges. Ripe apple and pear aromas are complicated by sweet spices and a hint of smoke. Bright and juicy on entry, but hollow in the middle, though still deeper and more flavorful than Kientzler’s 2017 Pinot Gris Geisberg. Finishes medium-long and slightly sweet.’ 88 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Pinot Gris Grand Cru Geisberg
‘Good full yellow. Rather closed on the nose, offering only hints of white flowers and pear. Round, soft and sweet on entry, then more tactile and chewy, with a slightly green and tannic note that makes you unaware of the 10 g/L r.s.. Finishes with only average length and a nuance of exotic, slightly syrupy fruit flavors. I didn’t much like this, finding it short on flavor distinction and lacking in precision.’ 87 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Osterberg
‘Bright straw. Refined aromas and flavors of rose petal, cured meat and suggestions of tropical fruits. Rich, spicy and deep, yet graceful, with a youthfully chewy but polished tannic presence. Lovely Gewürz, and long on the aftertaste.’ 90 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Kientzler Gewürztraminer Haguenau
‘Bright golden-yellow. Reticent aromas and flavors of orchard fruit, herbs and spices, but this could use a little more lift for better definition. Very saline and peppery and slightly bitter on the medium-long finish; this has a not-low 16 g/L r.s. but it needed more to avoid tasting bitter. Not my style of Gewürz.’ 87 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2017 Muscat Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé
‘Luminous straw-green. Delicate but very perfumed aromas of chlorophyll, orange blossom, white peach, pink grapefruit and mint. Fresh and juicy on the palate, presenting a bone-dry mouthfeel and brightly juicy flavors similar to the aromas. Closes long with hints of lavender, crushed stone and thyme. 100% Muscat Ottonel from two parcels of roughly 45-year-old vines. Truly outstanding, invigorating and zingy Muscat wine with loads of flavor.’ 94 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, January 2019.
2016 Kientzler Riesling Ribeauvillé
‘Sourced from a selection massale on shell limestone, the 2016 Muehlforst Riesling opens very pure and highly aromatic on the nose, but also precise and mineral, with chalky flavors. This is a very tight and salty Riesling that is dry, but intense, with a certain creaminess in the finish. The tannins are fine and the wine develops good length and grip. Drink 2019-2025.’ 90+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, April 2018.
2016 Kientzler Riesling Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé
‘The 2016 Riesling Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé is still pretty reductive and shows a prominent sulphur note on the nose at this early stage. Full-bodied, fresh and mineral, with ripe fruit and good balance, this is a firmly structured wine with grip, tension and great aging potential. Like always at Kientzler, the wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation. The addition of sulfur is around 90 milligrams, so readers have to be patient with this Kirchberg. Tasted at the domaine in April, just one week after the bottling. Drink 2025-2040.’ 92+ points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
2016 Kientzler Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg
‘The 2016 Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg is the sixth vintage Kientzler produced here. The wine opens discreet but fine and with some smoky, flinty aromas. Very pure and mineral on the palate, this is a very aromatic but clear, intense, very fine and densely textured Riesling from a south-facing but cool terroir that produces fascinating Rieslings with some exotic flavors. Drink 2018-2040.’ 92+ points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
2016 Kientzler Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg
”Very fresh, cool and appley with a hint of smoke. This is still just beginning to open up. Some serious depth in this medium- to full-bodied dry riesling, but it is also quite an austere style. The finish is long and very clean. With a little more polish, this would have been rated even higher. Better from 2019.” 92 points Jamessuckling.com, May 2018
2016 Kientzler Pinot Gris Grand Cru Osterberg
’Straw-yellow. Clean, fresh fruit cocktail aromas and flavors have a bright floral tone and a mineral underpinning. Lovely, long and bright. This wine reminded me of the Osterberg’s very typical vertical style of wine. Finishes classically dry and balanced, despite its surprising 14% alcohol (6.5 g/L total acidity and 4.5 g/l residual sugar).’ 90+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, April 2018.
2016 Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé
’Luminous medium straw-yellow with green tinges. Apricot and pear dominate on the nose and in the mouth. Rich, clean and long, this is deeper and more flavorful than the Osterberg this year. Has a lovely mouthwatering finish 14.3 alcohol (7.1 g/L total acidity and 9.8 g/L residual sugar).’ 91+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous, April 2018.
2016 Kientzler Pinot Gris Grand Cru Geisberg
‘The 2016 Pinot Gris Grand Cru Geisberg is the first vintage produced in this Riesling-dominated cru since 2012. Coming from a tiny plot of 0.6 acres (which gave just 400 bottles in 2016) the wine opens very clear, precise and fresh on the nose, with some ripe tropical fruit aromas and very nice concentration. Although made with 50% or more of "perfect botrytis grapes," this is a pale, round, piquant and lush wine with remarkable finesse, elegant texture and a stimulatingly salty finish. The wine finished fermentation in the medium-sweet corridor, but the mineral grip and salinity lift this full-bodied Geisberg Pinot into stunning heights. Excellent! Drink 2020-2035.’ 92 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
2016 Kientzler Gewürztraminer Haguenau
‘From deep clay soils, the 2016 Gewurztraminer Haguenau offers an intense and aromatic bouquet of tropical fruits along with earthy/stony and even smoky aromas. Full-bodied, intense and rich, with a tight structure, fine tannins and well-integrated sweetness, this is a clear, enormously salty and tension-filled Gewurz with grip, elegance and power. It should age very well over a decade, or maybe two, but it should be cellared for another three to five years first. Drink 2021-2032.’ 91 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
2016 Kientzler Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Osterberg
‘The 2016 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Osterberg opens very clear, bright and elegant on the nose, with precise fruit and a lovely mineral freshness. On the palate this is a pretty finessed, linear and almost light Gewurz Osterberg with a highly delicate architecture. It finishes pure and mineral, with great definition and salinity that make this an outstanding aromatic wine of great elegance and subtle complexity. Medium-sweet in taste, but enormously piquant and mineral, this is a great and super elegant Gewurz with food. Highly recommended! Drink 2020-2030.’ 93 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
2015 Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg
‘The 2015 Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg opens with an aromatic and intense bouquet of ripe yellow apples and some smoky/dusty flavors. Fresh and piquant on the palate, this is a rich and elegant, seriously structured Riesling with a very long and complex, enormously salty finish. I'd keep the 2015 at least for six or seven years before I pull the cork. The finish is enormously complex and long. Pure and fresh, really stunning for 2015. To Eric Kientzler, this is the best of the warm vintage of the past 10 years. Drink 2021-2040’ 93+ points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
2015 Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé
‘The 2015 Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauville has a clear, deep and slightly smoky nose of crushed stones intermixed with lemon flavors. Full-bodied, fresh and complex, this cru is not fully dry, but elegant, well structured and finessed with good balance. The finish is clear, fresh and pretty aromatic. I'd keep the wine in the cellar for two or three years to drink more Kirchberg and less Pinot. Drink 2020-2028.’ 91 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
2015 Muscat Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé
‘The 2015 Muscat Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé is based on 60-year-old Muscat Ottonel and opens deep, pure and spicy/mineral on the aromatic nose. Mouth-filling, piquant and fresh, this is a full-bodied, gorgeously aromatic and precise Muscat with salt, grip and tension. The acidity is really remarkable and the finish stimulatingly salty. Drink 2018-2030.’ 92 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
2012 Riesling Grand Cru Osterberg (Stelvin)
From an east facing vineyard located just above the great Geisberg site. '..the Osterberg is more classic and flinty, requiring longer in bottle.' Tom Stevenson – The Wines of Alsace.