Grand Cru

Pfingstberg

Orschwihr

A delicate sensation and upstanding expression are signatures of this wine. Just like the beautiful hoopoe bird which found refuge here.

  • Soil type Marl-limestone-sandstone
  • Surface area in hectares 28,15
  • Exposure South-East
  • Village Orschwihr
  • Altitude 270 to 370 metres
  • Grape varieties (in % per variety)
    • Riesling 51%
    • Gewurztraminer 27%
    • Pinot Gris 21%
    • Muscat 1%
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Grand Cru Pfingstberg

The wines

On this terroir, the aromatic expressions are never exuberant. The wines are distinguished on the palate by their elegant substance and highly-vertical structure.

These wines are singled out with their delicate sensation and great straightforward expression. Their structuring freshness gives them impetus and they sparkle with their mineral notes evoking warm stones. A smoky hint, already present on the nose, interweaves their aromatic silhouette.

Tous les cépages de ce Grand Cru possèdent cette remarquable typicité. Muscat and Riesling are chiselled and fresh. Pinot Gris reveals terroir-specific notes of ash – the smoke naturally characterising this grape variety. The light expression of these wines allows Gewurztraminer to elegantly express all its aromatic virtues even when its substance is flavoured.

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

The terroir-tie

Ageing and vintage years

Pfingstberg crus reveal a remarkable capacity to age. Their aptitude to remain concentrated and taut throughout the ages bestows them with a form of timelessness.

Some vintage years

2006: an appealing wine with its spicy and mineral character. The palate is ample but keeps a chiselled structure, announcing freshness and minerality. A racy wine with great persistence. For those who patiently waited for this delicate vintage year, the wine will be fantastic.

2007 : vins plus confits, et souvent plus riches, mais toujours dans les équilibres du Pfingstberg. They are not exuberant, but deep and dense. A crystalline vintage year!

2008 : un confit qui ne bascule pas dans l’exubérance. The palate is both dense and concentrated. Its beautiful acidity bestows it with crispness and persistence. A great wine in the making, perfect around 2018.

2009 : un millésime solaire qui a révélé des vins puissants, avec une belle complexité aromatique et une grande persistance en bouche. This still-young vintage year is beginning to unfold.

2010 : un millésime superbe de pureté, avec de belles acidités tartriques. Its dry wines have wonderful keeping potential.

Recommendations

Regardless the wine chosen, all Pfingstberg wines are better when decanted half an hour before serving.

Vintage years

After four to five years the combination between warm stone notes and ash perfectly interblend with the delicate wine substance. But Pfingstberg wines can be kept for more than ten years.

During early-ripening vintage years : the mouth is more full-bodied without losing its balance and gives a honey-like flavour to the mouth weight.

During late-ripening vintage years : the wine roundness discreetly offers a range of opulent hints of flowers. The structure remains divine!

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

Choose and serve

Garde et Millésimes

Les crus du Pfingstberg montrent une capacité de vieillissement impressionnante. Leur aptitude à rester concentrés et tendus à travers les âges leur confère une forme d’intemporalité.

Quelques millésimes

2006 : le vin séduit par son caractère épicé et minéral. La bouche est étoffée, mais garde une trame ciselée, empreinte de fraîcheur et de minéralité. Un vin racé et doté d’une belle persistance. Pour ceux qui ont su attendre ce millésime délicat, le vin se révélera magnifique.

2007 : vins plus confits, et souvent plus riches, mais toujours dans les équilibres du Pfingstberg. Ils ne sont pas exubérants, mais profonds et denses. Un millésime cristallin !

2008 : un confit qui ne bascule pas dans l’exubérance. La bouche se révèle à la fois dense et serrée. Sa belle acidité lui confère relief et persistance. Un vin en devenir, à découvrir vers 2018.

2009 : un millésime solaire qui a révélé des vins puissants, avec une belle complexité aromatique et une grande persistance en bouche. Ce millésime encore jeune commence à se dévoiler.

2010 : un millésime superbe de pureté, avec de belles acidités tartriques. Des vins secs dotés d’un grand potentiel de garde.

Conseil

Quels qu’ils soient, les vins du Pfingstberg gagnent à être carafés une demi-heure avant d’être servis.

Wine and food pairing

With their unique minerality, these Grand Cru wines can be paired with grilled or fatty fish. Any Mediterranean preparations associating vegetable and olive oil, unravel a harmonious touch of smoky notes. Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer are great with fresh or pressed cheeses.

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

Some examples of wine and food pairing:

Riesling Pfingstberg Grand Cru(dry): its mineral notes perfectly suit pan-fried Rossini scallops (with foie gras), browned oysters, sushi or sashimi as well as grilled fish. At the end of the meal, it is delicious with goat and sheep cheeses, Gruyère, old Comté and Cantal. It can also be served as an aperitif with seaweed tartar or salmon tartines. Divine!


Pinot Gris Pfingstberg Grand Cru(dry): to be served with free-range chicken.


Pinot Gris Pfingstberg Grand Cru(semi-dry): perfect with more flavourful, sweet and sour dishes or en croûte dishes. Why not try with a fresh mushroom stir-fry ...

Les accords majeurs

Les vins de ce Grand Cru, par leur minéralité unique, peuvent être associés à des poissons grillés ou à chair grasse. Les préparations méditerranéennes, associant légumes et huile d’olive, révèlent un accord heureux avec les notes fumées. Les Pinot Gris et Gewurztraminer s’accordent très bien aux fromages frais ou à pâtes pressées.

Romain ILTIS
Meilleur Sommelier de France 2012 & Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2015

Quelques exemples d'accords mets-vins :

• Riesling Grand Cru Pfingstberg (sec) : ses notes minérales font honneur à une poêlé de Saint-Jacques Rossini, des huîtres gratinées, des sushi ou sashimi ainsi qu’à des poissons grillés. En fin de repas, il accompagne les fromages de chèvres et de brebis, les gruyères, vieux Comté et vieux Cantal. On peut également le servir en apéritif avec des tartines de tartares d'algues ou de saumon. Divin !


• Pinot Gris Grand Cru Pfingstberg (sec) : à servir avec une volaille fermière.


• Pinot Gris Grand Cru Pfingstberg (1/2 sec) : parfait avec les cuisines plus riches, sucrée-salées ou les plats en croûte. À tester avec une poêlé de champignons frais.

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Grand Cru Pfingstberg

The terroir

The nature

On its upper part, the Pfingstberg-peak forest guarantees a water supply which tempers the varying climate conditions. Its very porous sandstone soil actually prevents water excess and stores the heat. Finally, generous sunlight allows the berries to ripen slowly and steadily. The wines from this terroir are consistent, not too affected by the changing climates of vintage years.

Location

Located on the Orschwihr hill, Pfinsgtberg sits against the Vosges mountain range. It is separated from the Bollenberg hill by a small valley crossed by a large fault. Facing south-east, the Grand Cru covers 28.15 hectares at an altitude between 270 and 370 metres on steep and very-steep slopes, some which required terraces to be built.

Soil

The Pfingstberg base sits on fossiliferous Muschelkalk sandstone. Progressing up the hill, the soil becomes lighter by the Vosges sandstone content. So in the upper part of the hill, it is a brown acid sandstone soil and in the lower part, a brown calcic sandy-clayey soil. Finally, at the foot of the hill there is a layer of wind-deposited loam or loess.

3>Microclimate

Due to its location near the Vosges forest and its relatively-high altitude, the terroir of Pfingstberg is a fairly-late ripening area. It is well protected from the west winds by the Vosges mountain range. But its geographical situation in southern Alsace results in heavier rainfall, along with its proximity to the Belfort gap. This compensates for the low water retention in these mostly-sandy soils.

The moderate vine-yields and the late-ripening of grapes allows the appearance of delayed botrytis which often transforms into botrytis.

Grape varieties

This damper climate is perfect for Riesling and Muscat on the top of the hill. However the lower part, more abundant in clay with deeper soils, is ideal for Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris.

The people

This ancient medieval wine-growing area is today exhaustively looked after, associating the search for great wines and preserving nature. The wine-grower trail which crosses the site allows visitors to also appreciate its beauty and grandeur.

Heritage transmission

The small Haut-Rhin locality appeared in wine-making history under the name of Otalesviler. A donation from the Count Eberhard to the Murbach abbey around 735-737, cites the estate as a place where monasteries, abbeys, priories and other religious institutions shared the wine-growing area. The Eschau monastery owned some parcels in 1060, the Eberbmunster abbey in 1242 and the Saint Marie-Madeleine of Basel in 1272.

Le nom de Pfingstberg apparaît dans un acte d’achat de 1282 sous la dénomination de « Phinisberge » et, quelques années plus tard, en 1299, sous celle de « Pfinkerstberge » dans une donation du chevalier Richard d’Epfig au couvent d’Unterlinden. The bishopric of Strasbourg, largest owner of vineyards in Alsace under the Ancien Régime, directly cultivated the upper part of the Pfingstberg called Lippelsberg up until the French Revolution. The wines from this site had a wonderful reputation, recorded in the annals as of 1287!

La vie quotidienne se règle au rythme des cultures saisonnières et des usages religieux. Men asked their saints to protect their harvests. Saint Urbain, whose statue still sits in the parish church, was carried throughout the hillsides to protect the vineyards from frost and outbreaks.

L'arrivée des manufactures de Guebwiller, l'industrialisation de Mulhouse et l'exploitation des mines de potasse absorbent une forte proportion de main-d'œuvre rurale, en butte aux difficultés que traverse la viticulture alsacienne au cours du XIXème siècle et au début du XXème. During this period, Orschwihr lost its wine-making reputation. Its vineyard, one of the oldest in Alsace, was only truly revived after the Second World War.

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Dès les années 1960, les vignerons d'Orschwihr emboîtent le pas du renouveau qui gagne toute la viticulture alsacienne. They meticulously restored their viticultural heritage. They built walls to win-over the hillslopes, chose grape varieties and rootstocks with the firm determination to make their wines famous again. Today their efforts have proved to be successful. Pfingstberg has joined the family of prestigious terroirs in Alsace.

Victor CANALES
Synvira

Beloved vineyards and land

In the Pfingstberg Grand Cru, several environmental projects are underway, notably to totally abandon anti-botrytis products and insecticides. Furthermore, for the past several years, wine-makers grass the headlands and ensure the small walls are in good condition. This environmental promotion goes hand in hand with organising walking tours in partnership with the Guebwiller tourist office, to discover the wine-making trail which crosses the Grand Cru.