Mittelbergheim, another pretty village on the Alsace wine route, is where the Rietsch family has prospered since the 17th century, living from agriculture and viticulture. A few centuries later, Jean-Pierre has taken over the estate, alongside his wife Sophie, magnifying the indigenous grape varieties...
|Handover of the estate||1987|
|Cultivated grapes||Riesling, Pinot Noir, Auxerrois, Sylvaner...|
|Certification||Organic agriculture (AB)|
|Our favorites||Stierkopf, Riesling Stein, Demoiselle|
While the family has been established in Mittelbergheim since the 17th century, the estate was founded in the early 1970s by Pierre and Doris Rietsch, Jean-Pierre's parents, who transformed their farm, which was then devoted to mixed farming, into a purely winegrowing enterprise. The vineyards are spread out around the estate, which owns plots in several Grands Crus, such as the Zotzenberg, famous for its Sylvaner and Riesling, marked by a remarkable salinity, the Stein and its limestone soils, located right next to the estate, or the Brandluft, richer in sandstone, which gives the wines power and minerality.
Under Jean-Pierre's leadership, the vineyards were converted to organic farming in 2008, favouring grassing, lighter soil work and the sowing of green manure. A search for the natural balance of living cycles, in order to favour the pure expression of the terroir. The grapes are harvested by hand and particular care is taken with the sorting in the vineyard.
In the cellar, vinification is gentle, with long, low-pressure presses, so as not to rush the grapes or strip the juice of its substance. No sugar is added, no acidification, no fining, interventions are reduced to a minimum, and the wines ferment slowly and naturally, for 5 to 24 months, for some in the estate's foudres, which have been in place for three generations.
For Jean-Pierre, making natural wine means first of all trusting his raw material. Most of the work consists of an approach that is as respectful as possible of the vines and the land, followed by a healthy and attentive accompaniment of the juices, paying great attention to each stage of the process during the vinification, but without ever trying to control the destiny of the wine.
The resulting beverages are fluid, balanced and relaxed. Subtle expressions of Alsace's terroirs and grape varieties, elegant and touching wines. Jean-Pierre also favours long macerations on grape varieties such as Pinot Gris (Quand le Chat...) or Gewürztraminer (Demoiselle) and experiments with a "solera" cuvée, long maturing in tuns, straw wines...
The labels of the different vintages of the estate are just like the wines, subtle, charming, inspiring... This magnificent work, Jean-Pierre owes it to a neighbour and friend, Andréa, who has been designing the labels for the estate since the end of the 1980s, when the new generation took over and wished to breathe a fresh wind into the range.
30 years later, the labels have evolved with each vintage, telling a new wine story, but the spirit is still there, and the complicity between the artist and the winemaker has only grown stronger...