Gewurztraminer Steiner Macération 2019


"Gewurztraminer fruit from the Grand Cru Steinert vineyard with 15 days of maceration on skins. A completely mad idea, for Jean-François to take his most prized and valuable fruit and make an orange wine out of it. The grapes here are picked slightly early to give a touch more acidity. In a heat wave vintage like 2019, this wine is dense at a whopping 15%, but shockingly none of that alcohol can be perceived, and the wine tastes like it could be a modest 11-12 percent. Jean-François’ skin contact wines always sit in a special category for us. With lifted VA piquancy and huge aromatic character, they are vastly underrated, and sit in the top tier of cult orange wines. Examples like Gabrio Bini, Denavolo, and Momento Mori immediately come to mind when drawing comparisons. Where 2018 was more musky and full bodied, 2019 is radiant, teeming with tropical fruits and herbal spices. Explosive in the mouth, there’s alot going on, prickly acid, pristine tannins and layers of complexity to unpack. The pure electricity of this wine can easily overshadow the depth underneath, so we’d suggest taking a bit of time with this one, even though it’s so appealing right off the bat." - Don't Worry

"Initially working conventionally, Jean-Louis converted his vineyards to organic and biodynamic after a doctor attributed his wife’s deteriorating health to products widely used in their vineyards.They began biodynamic conversion in 1997, Ecocert certification in 1999, and finally became Demeter certified in 2001. Jean-François has been at the helm since the late 90’s, and more recently, he no longer pays fees to be certified, despite carrying on these practices.The harvest at Domaine Ginglinger is done by hand, and the vines are plowed by a big horse named Boris. If necessary, sorting is done on the vines.All of his wines are labeled ‘Vin d’Alsace’ as Jean generally doesn’t agree with the appellation requirements for sweetness.

The soils that make up his vineyard sites are composed of complex limestone, mixed with sandstone rich in calcareous fossils. In the wines this shows up as a wonderful backbone of acidity and chalky aromatics that play nicely with the fruit. Whether it be experience, talent, healthy vines that have been worked naturally for roughly 20+ years, or all the above; there is joy here, there is transparency, and there is balance between the two so effortless that the bottles may be finished much quicker than you would have liked.

On top of growing up and learning with his father, Jean-François was able to seek mentorship with his uncle, Gerard Schueller. His proximity to the Schueller family certainly had an impact on Jean’s winemaking style. It was this, and conversation shared with the likes of Pierre Frick (Pierre and Chantal work across the street), Patrick Meyer, and his cousin Bruno Schueller, that finally steered Jean-François towards a natural vinification without added sulphur. If there was one wine that tipped scales for him it was the 2003 vintage of his Steiner Pinot Noir, the first wine he bottled without any added sulphur. Jean-François has pursued this ideal for all his wines and since 2012 does not add sulphur to any of his wines. What Jean-François has to offer us, proves he has been hitting his stride for years.

His wines run the gamut from crystalline, unrestrained expressions of their specific vineyard, to highly digestible wines of thirst. Jean’s skill may be most evident, when working with classically shrug-worthy, and low-aromatic grapes (i.e. Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc). In addition, Jean doesn’t take himself too seriously, as evidenced by the caricatured version of himself (named Changala) that shows up on all his labels.

His vineyards are planted with the historic varietals of the region. Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat d’Alsace, Gewurztraminer, Auxerrois Blanc and Pinot Noir. Most are vinified as single varietal wines, but in recent years, Jean has experimented more with some atypical blends. He treats each wine with intuition as he feels it needs, and doesn't follow the regional styles for these grapes.The results are exciting, highly aromatic and full of charm. One third of his vines are classified ‘Grand Cru’ but because he doesn’t add sulphur (which is preferred by the tasting panel), he doesn’t submit any for classification." -Don't Worry Wines