Andre Ostertag
Photo Credit: Stephen Tanzer
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Andre Ostertag describes the 1999 growing season as classic, with very little botrytis. "The wines are a bit aromatically inexpressive today; we need to judge them by their intensity and structure," he told me. "In 2000, there was a lot of good and bad rot, sometimes in the same parcels, and strict selection was necessary," added Ostertag. "We had a bizarre vegetative cycle in 2000: May and June were as hot as August usually is, and July was like November. The vintage has both a cold and a hot character, and it was very complicated for the vines. Today one sees all the elements of very good wines, but the 2000s are mostly not yet in harmony." Further complicating my efforts to assess these wines at this early stage was the fact that a number of them were still fermenting and thus were sweeter than they will eventually be in bottle. (Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA)

2000 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Blanc Barriques

Lemon, lime, nuts, butter and a leesy nuance on the nose. Juicy and lean, with a bit of acidity showing. This wine went through malolactic fermentation, but doesn't appear to be much fatter for the experience.

84-85

2000 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Vignoble d'Epfig

Aromas of lemon, lime and spring flowers. Bright and just off-dry; here there good concentration of material and intensity of flavor to buffer the wine's acidity. Not especially complex or delineated but fresh, attractive and nicely balanced.

86

2000 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Heissenberg

Very cloudy appearance. Candied grapefruit and lime on the rather subtle nose. Plump and fat, but quite dry (just 8 g/l r.s.). Currently too hazy to display much clarity or complexity in the mouth, but shows good texture and spice. Aged in barriques

86-88

1999 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Heissenberg

Green-tinged color. Aromas of lime, licorice, marzipan, flowers, nuts and spices. Fat, soft and slightly sweet; a rather easygoing riesling that could use more shape and thrust.

86

2000 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Fronholz

Sweet aromas of peach, apricot and hazelnut. As fresh and juicy as a perfectly ripe peach. Thanks to the percentage of botrytis, this is riper than the '99 version. Rather flamboyant wine that should ultimately finish with about 25 g/l r.s.

88-89

1999 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Fronholz

Exotic honey and apricot aromas. Fat, full and nicely concentrated, with well-integrated acidity. This is just off-dry and considerably more classic in style than the 2000, despite the exotic aspect to the nose. Slightly dry-edged on the back end.

88

2000 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Muenchberg

Pure aromas of lime blossom and minerals. Intensely flavored, bright and sharply focused, with lively acidity framing and extending the flavors. Offers excellent fruit and cut.

89-91

1999 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Muenchberg

Aromas of limeade, flowers, nuts and smoke. Rich and complex but quite closed today, even a bit disjointed. Quite dry and hard to taste. Best now on the back end but can't quite match the young 2000 for thrust.

89(+?)

2000 Domaine Ostertag Muscat Fronholz

Lemon, flowers and spices on the nose. Offers more texture than fruit flavor today; quite dry and not especially fruity. This will require a year or two to develop.

84-86

1999 Domaine Ostertag Muscat Fronholz

Rather intriguing musky aromas of nuts, smoke and earth. Fairly rich and broad in the mouth, but given shape by firm acids. Not especially expressive or fruit-driven-or, for that matter, typical muscat-but has palate presence and good persistence. A perfect muscat to serve with legumes, notes Ostertag.

86(+?)

2000 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Barriques

Bright yellow fruits and spices on the nose, lifted by a hint of grapefruit. Ripe, slightly sweet and broad, with modest delineation of flavor. Finishes fairly dry, with spicy, dusty nuances.

84-86

1999 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Barriques

Dried apricot, yellow plum, toast and nuts on the nose. Juicy and dry, with modest texture and flesh. A bit less rich than the 2000, but finishes with decent length.

85

2000 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Fronholz

High-toned aromas of butter and spice. Rich, slightly high-toned flavors nicely framed by ripe acids. Shows plenty of personality, as well as good intensity and lift.

87-88

1999 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Fronholz

Nuanced nose combines dried fruits, oatmeal, toast, nuts and herbs. Dense and chewy, but with firm acids giving the flavors good definition. This is fairly glyceral for a '99 with under five grams per liter residual sugar. The nut, toast and meal notes give the wine a distinct roundness. Finishes with very good length.

88

2000 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Zellberg

Peach and nut aromas lifted by a floral note. Juicy and fairly precise, with fruit, spice and butter flavors. Finishes fairly dry and persistent, with a dusty quality and a hint of alcohol.

87-89

1999 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Zellberg

Aromas of nuts, butter, flowers, herbs, licorice and mint; calls to mind a wine from Chassagne-Montrachet. Glyceral and layered but fairly dry; has the texture of a white Burgundy. Showing more personality today than the '99 Fronholz.

88

2000 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Muenchberg

High-toned, lively aromas of citrus skin, spices, flowers and hazelnut. Rich and deep, with lime, spice and floral flavors. This wears its sweetness gracefully, thanks to firm acidity. Seems a bit less fat, and a bit brighter, than the '99.

89-92

1999 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Muenchberg

Complex nose melds dried fruits, nuts, smoke and flint. Fat, rich and expressive; generous and concentrated, with modest sweetness nicely offset by ripe acids. At once powerful and graceful. Finishes long, spicy and inviting.

90

2000 Domaine Ostertag Gewurztraminer Vignoble d'Epfig

Sweet aromas of flowers and spices; not especially meaty or pommade A sweet, succulent fruit bomb, with ripe, harmonious acids and an enticing honeysuckle flavor. Finishes with considerable sweetness, but is also fresh and very persistent.

87-88

1999 Domaine Ostertag Gewurztraminer Vignoble d'Epfig

Licorice, lichee and earth on the nose; a bit blurry tasted next to the 2000. Sweet but rather simple; less concentrated and bright than the '00. Finishes with a trace of astringency.

86

2000 Domaine Ostertag Gewurztraminer Fronholz Vendanges Tardives

Enticing aromas of fruit salad, mirabelle, honeysuckle and spices, lifted by a lime skin element. Rich, sweet, moderately thick flavors of peach and apricot enlivened by harmonious, ripe acids. Chewy but not at all bitter or tannic. Lovely fruit here.

89-91

1999 Domaine Ostertag Gewurztraminer Fronholz Vendanges Tardives

Musky, complex nose combines citrus, lichee, honey, white flowers, spices and an oily nuance. Juicy and spicy in the mouth; less dense and sweet than the 2000 and still rather tightly wrapped. Not yet showing the complexity in the mouth that the nose promises.

88

2000 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Muenchberg G.C. Vendange Tardive

Musky, complex nose combines citrus, lichee, honey, white flowers, spices and an oily nuance. Juicy and spicy in the mouth; less dense and sweet than the 2000 and still rather tightly wrapped. Not yet showing the complexity in the mouth that the nose promises.

89-91
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