Geisberg is regarded as one of the great Grand Crus of Alsace. It gained Grand Cru status in 1983 and the 8.53 ha site, the third smallest Grand Cru in Alsace, has only 4 owners, one of which is the Kientzlers who own 1.5ha. The south facing site, rises steeply from the northern edge of Ribeauvillé and is dotted with stone walls supporting narrow terraces. It produces the most powerful and cellarable wines of the three Ribeauvillé Grand Crus.
The Australian importer of Kientzler told me a great story about Marc Hugel, current winemaker at the iconic Hugel estate. When quizzed about the best Alsace he’d tried, referenced a 1937 Kientzler Geisberg. Wow.
“The Geisberg is immense and rivals with the greatest wines of the world.”
Les Meilleurs Vins de France.
"Geisberg has been well documented since 1308 as Riesling country par excellence. The wines are fragrant and have great finesse, yet they are also powerful and long lived. These are true Grand crus, not widely available and highly sought after. Andre Kientzler is the greatest exponent of Geisberg Riesling."
Tom Stevenson, The Wines of Alsace.
Geisberg means ‘goat hill’ and is thought to take its name from the craggy site where goats were sent. The official Alsace website also offer up “According to another approach, some believe this Grand Cru name stems from ‘spirit’ (coming from Geist in German), not the malevolent spirit but that which appears when tasting a good wine, allowing to say to German wine-lovers ‘Dieser Wein hat Geist’ meaning this wine has body.”
Until a few years ago Geisberg had five owners; Trimbach, Kientzler, Faller, Baldenbeck and the local monastery. But the nuns decided to sell their holding to Trimbach, so now there are only four. Of the four only Faller and Kientzler make ‘pure’ riesling grand Cru Geisberg. Trimbach makes a blend, and the others sell their fruit.
The Kientzler 2019 is 14% alcohol and is dry.
“The aromas of this remarkable dry riesling sparkle like a well-cut gem stone. So much drive and energy are packed into a rather sleek silhouette, the enormous, citrusy freshness at the mineral finish lighting up the sky. Drink or hold.”
95 points, jamessuckling.com, June 2022
97/100 points, Bettane & Desseauve 2022.
96/100 points Le Guide des meilleurs Vins de France RVF 2022.
This is a great example of a classic dry Alsatian riesling, one that will age beautifully and one you should definitely have in your cellar.