Grand Cru

Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé


Overlooking the medieval town of Ribeauvillé, under the mindful protection of its three castles, this terroir produces taut, vibrant wines like the instruments and voices of minstrels and other troubadours which once welcomed the Lords here.

  • Soil type Marl-limestone- sandstone
  • Surface area in hectares 11,40
  • Exposure South, South-West
  • Village Ribeauvillé
  • Altitude 270 to 350 metres
  • Grape varieties (in % per variety)
    • Riesling 71%
    • Pinot Gris 17%
    • Gewurztraminer 8%
    • Muscat 4%
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Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé

The wines

This Grand Cru terroir gives very precise, fresh and full-bodied wines boasting fantastic balance.

The terroir-tie

This Grand Cru terroir gives very precise, fresh and full-bodied wines.

These wines are fairly vigorous with their concentration, density and structure. Their acidic and tonic exuberance is expressed in a generous and pure body. The initial mouthfeel gives a small sensation of dryness (due to limestone), and a mineral intensity in the length.

Muscat simultaneously gives an immediate and mesmerising fruity and floral pleasure.

Riesling and Pinot Gris capitalise on the typical chiselled substance of this Grand Cru, substance which provides citrus fruit notes like mandarin, blood orange or kumquat. Gewurztraminer reveals savours of litchi and all expressions of rose (fresh, dried, withered).

With each grape variety, the intense and marine minerality of this cru has a delicate length.

Romain ILTIS
Best Sommelier of France, 2012 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2015 (in the Sommelier category)

Choose and serve

Great vintage years

1971, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.

Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé wines are closed in their youth and require a little ageing time. After four to six years of ageing, their body integrates acidity and offers all the aromatic and mineral potential of this Grand Cru.

During early-ripening vintage years : taut on the palate evoking very juicy citrus fruits like oranges. The wines are delicious, succulent with generous substance. The aromas explode and open up with beautiful eloquence.

During late-ripening vintage years: straightforward and clean, these vintage years should be aged to refine their body. They are dominated by minerality and freshness. The patina of time bestows them with a honey-like character.

Romain ILTIS
Best Sommelier of France, 2012 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2015 (in the Sommelier category)

Wine and food pairing

The strength of this cru makes it ideal to pair with salty and grandiose products. Seafood platters, grilled crustaceans, rockfish soup … the salty flavours and minerality of this Grand Cru simultaneously allow the flavourful character of these dishes and the terroir luxuriance to enjoy a very promising dialogue.

Romain ILTIS
Best Sommelier of France, 2012 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2015 (in the Sommelier category)

Kirchberg-ribeauville zvardon civa
Kircherg ribeauvill jenny civa
Kirchberg ribeauville jenny civa 2

Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé

The terroir

The nature

The vineyards climb along the craggy hillside with a marl-limestone-sandstone nature which allows Riesling wines to beautifully unfold.


This terroir belongs to the Ribeauvillé fault mosaic. Bordered on the south by the town of Ribeauvillé and to the east by the Geisberg Grand Cru, the Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé Grand Cru has a south/south-west exposure which, along with its very steep slope, provides excellent sunshine during ripening time. Towards the south, the steep hilly area plunges down towards the old town of Ribeauvillé whereas the northern slope is gentler.


This Grand Cru has a soil composed of marl, limestone and sandstone.

Kirchberg substrate can be divided into two parts:

  • the downhill part is formed with marl from the Triassic period and lower Muschelkalk dolostones,
  • the uphill part has multi-coloured sandstone marl and gypsum from middle Muschelkalk.

Sitting on this compact marl limestone, varying from 60 to 100m deep, the soil is very pebbly blending clay-silt-sand and clay-sand.


In summer, the Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé Grand Cru is exposed to fresh evening winds locally called tahlwendela or katabatic winds. These refreshing winds blow down the slopes along the Vosges, sweeping across the Grand Cru located at the mouth of the Strengbach valley and thus tempering excess heat. It allows for slow ripening of grapes and which preciously keeps the fruitiness and freshness.

In fact during the 18th century, Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé Grand Cru was known all over Europe for its great straw wine.

The natural aeration also contributed to maintaining the berries in excellent health. When the conditions are favourable for botrytis development, the latter usually appears in its refined and noble state, producing some wonderful dessert wines.

Regarding the low rainfall level (700 to 800 mm per year), this is due to the screen-effect created by the natural Vosges mountain barrier.

Grape varieties

Experience and time have shown that the best-suited grape varieties for this terroir are Muscat and Riesling, par excellence!

The success of these aromatic varietals is linked to this Grand Cru’s specific micro-climate. These grape varieties essentially gain from ripening slowly being subject to a succession of alternating warm and fresh periods. The regularly-blowing cabatic winds assure this function to a tee!

Plus récemment est apparu dans la partie située vers le Nord, du Pinot Gris. Gewurztraminer has been around for a long time on this Grand Cru but the vines are more discreet.

The people

The history and reputation of Kirchberg crus are closely tied to that of the town of Ribeauvillé and its Lords of Ribeaupierre.

Heritage transmission

Kirchberg, literally «church mount» gets its name from the presence of three churches at the foot of the Ribeauvillé’s old town: the monastery church of the Divine Providence, the catholic church and the protestant church.

Médard Barth, a historian of the Alsace wine-growing area, informed us that Kirchberg was cited as of 1328. Bernadette Burn and Gilles Schmidt associate the glory of Ribeauvillé to that of its two Grands Crus:

Le Ratbaldovilllare, qui fut donnée en 768 par Pépin le Bref à son chancelier, l’abbé Fulrade, était déjà célèbre sous l’empire romain pour sa source thermale. After the invasions, a certain Rappoltus self-proclaimed himself master in the land and built a village which remained the estate of the Ribeaupierre family for seven centuries.

Les seigneurs de Ribeaupierre, esprits éclairés, entreprirent d’aider et de protéger baladins et saltimbanques et se déclarèrent « rois des fifres », organisant leur fête chaque huit septembre. Yesterday, like today, during Pfifferdag (Fife day), the central fountain flows over with good wines and maybe those of Geisberg or Kirchberg, famous hillsides overlooking the town.

Burn-Schmidt, Alsace, Clos et Grands Crus, p. 130