Grand Cru



It’s when you look towards the East (Ost in German) that this Grand Cru reveals its name. The imposing integrity of its wines starts shining at daybreak.

  • Soil type Marl-limestone-sandstone
  • Surface area in hectares 24,60
  • Exposure South, South-East
  • Village Ribeauvillé
  • Altitude 250 to 350 metres
  • Grape varieties (in % per variety)
    • Riesling 46%
    • Gewurztraminer 29%
    • Pinot Gris 24%
    • Muscat 1%
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Grand Cru Osterberg

The wines

The acidity resulting from this terroir is expressive with all the grape varieties. Riesling gives additional tonus to the wine, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer find a subtle and exceptional balance on this Grand Cru. The expression of yellow and white fruits appears beautifully complex and ravishing.

The terroir-tie

This Grand Cru is distinguished by its weight.

Its great substance, issued from the terroir marl, gives generous almost heady mouthfeel to dry wines. Here the freshness is a little austere when young but is gives a full-bodied structure to these crus. This freshness unfolds later like a weight factor, delighting the taster. The exotic aromas of mango, passion fruit and honey are often perceived. They form a flavoured prelude to these both lingering and charming wines.

The generosity and acidity drawn from this terroir are expressive with all the grape varieties.

If the natural acidity of Riesling adds additional tonus to the wine and expresses notes of dried herbs, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer find a subtle and exceptional balance on this Grand Cru, swinging between sweet exquisiteness and freshness. The expression of yellow and white fruits appears beautifully complex and ravishing.

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

Choose and serve

Vintage years

The great Osterberg vintage years: 1971, 1975, 1976, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.

When young, Osterberg is simply delicious. But after waiting five or six years, it will truly unravel its potential. This waiting period fine-tunes its structure but mostly it allows the terroir’s unique mineral intensity explode, signs of beautiful ageing.

During early-ripening vintage years: the wines are charming and exotic and are ready to drink fairly soon. Their acidity is subtlety coated, giving a honey-like sensation. The wines are lengthy, ample, generous and often marked by notes of dried herbs.

During late-ripening vintage years: the more-dense matter still evokes honey. The wine body is more delicate, allowing notes of white fruit to express themselves. The length is intense in minerality and evokes hot stones.

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

Wine and food pairing

They taste great even when paired with highly-flavourful dishes.

Fish and seafood served with spicy sauces will also feel very comfortable with these wines. The firm structure of Osterberg wines allows them to pair with white meats – veal or poultry accompanied with mushrooms for example.

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


Grand Cru Osterberg

The terroir

The nature

Osterberg Grand Cru is a terroir which guarantees its varietals balanced growth, fed by the resources of a site which draws brilliant light from the sky and a genuine mineral mosaic from the ground.


This terroir belongs to the Ribeauvillé fault mosaic. Essentially facing east and incredibly sunny, its slopes sit in a privileged location of varied steepness – between 10° and 30°. Bordered to the west by the Geisberg and Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé Grands Crus, it completes the trilogy of the Ribeauvillé Grands Crus.


The soil is full of clay and pebbles and sits on coquina rock from Muschelkalk formations, formed thousands of years ago by the collapse of the Upper Rhine Plain. To the east they are mostly formed from dolomitic limestone and multi-coloured marl from the Lettenkohle formation.


Facing south/south-east, this terroir has incredible sunlight. In the west part, on the neighbouring Kirchberg and Geisberg, it also benefits from the phenomenon of fresh and evening winds (Tahl wendala) which comes down from the Aubure valley. These winds temper the summer days, allowing for slow and extended ripening of grapes, thus preserving the wine aromas and acidity. (This sector is mostly planted with Riesling).

>À l'abri des Vosges, les précipitations sont faibles et surtout estivales. The sub-Vosges hillsides often have a wonderful late fall. During favourable vintage years, noble rot helps produce some delicious Vendanges Tardives.

Grape varieties

As Serge Dubs and Denis Ritzenthaler point out, «the marl-calcareous-sandstone soil of this terroir (…) creates a well-balanced cocktail able to produce great wines. (…) The four authorised grape varieties grow wonderfully. This complicates the choice of producers in charge of objectively determining the most capable of giving the binding spirit between this terroir and the varietal. (Dubs, Les Grands Crus d’Alsace, p. 159).

This source of richness is attested by the presence of Clos du Zahnacker on this Grand Cru, where there has been complantation for nine centuries.

The people

Boasting three Grands Crus (Kirchberg, Osterberg et Geisberg), Ribeauvillé is a key town within the Alsace wine-growing area. Its reputation dates back a long time just like the singularity of the Osterberg Grand Cru and its Clos du Zahnacker.

Heritage transmission

Osterberg became part of the other Grands Crus in 1992, but it was already mentioned in documents dating back to the Middle Ages and the Lords of Ribeaupierre owned their vineyards. In regards to Ribeauvillé, Michel Mastrojanni points out:

Imperial town, former fiefdom of the powerful Ribeaupierre family which dominating it during the 13th century up until the Revolution (by also planting numerous vineyards in the region, from Ammerschwihr to Rodern), the Fiddlers’ town was bestowed many privileges and benefited from continuous wine-making prosperity.

Michel Mastrojanni, Le grand livre des vins d’Alsace, Solar, 1993, p. 82

The same author can also be thanked for telling the history of the Clos du Zahnacker:

This illustrious clos, which today belongs to the cooperative wine-making cellar, was initially owned by the Benedictine abbey of Ribeauvillé. Tradition has it that during the 12th century, a certain Zahn, monk-knight, had brought back the best grape varieties from the Holy Land and had planted them here. In 1426, the German emperor Sigismond, wanting to be allied with King Eric, sovereign of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, had a barrel of Zahnacker wine transported by water until Lubeck and which the imperial ambassador then offered to the Nordic royal court. It is also Zahnacker wine – by then it was in the hands of Ribeauvillé lords – which was served to Louis XIV during his stay in Ribeauvillé in 1673, and this in a spectacular silver-gilt hanap, still visible today in the small city hall museum. The Clos never departed from its original identity: 120 years of pebbly marl, forming a triangle at mid-hill within the Osterberg, and complanted on either side with noble varietals (currently a third Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris).

Op.cit., p. 88

3>Beloved vineyards and land

This demanding terroir obliges wine-makers to limit production using different methods. The old, low-yielding vines are still numerous. There is rigorous pruning which allows to control the production potential.