Sylvaner

Description

"Sylvaner certainly isn’t normally seen as an aromatic grape, not so in this case. This might have something to do with the fact the most noteworthy Sylvaner seems to come from Pfaffenheim. Jean-François was able to finesse notes of mountain herbs, echinacea, dandelion greens, flint and lemon zest.The palate is also densely flavoured (lime, custard) with good weight, and aromatics carrying over nicely As with all of Jean’s wines, we see this weight carried extremely well with vibrant almost prickly, pineapple like acidity." - Don't Worry Wines

"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