The terroir driven wines comes from three vineyards:
The Kirchberg de Barr Grand Cru, which lies to the north of Mittelbergheim and extends to 40.6 hectares. This is a south and southeast-facing block that contains numerous individual lieu-dit vineyards that were bundled into the Grand Cru when it was designated in 1983. The steep slopes run from 215 to 330 meters and the soil type is marl-limestone with a good scattering of small limestone rocks in the topsoil. The top of the vineyard is bordered by forest. André produces Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewurztraminer from the Kirchberg de Barr.
The Pinot Noir was planted in 2008 as a 30 ares parcelle bang in the middle of the Grand Cru. This faces directly south on a steep sloping section. Because of its situation and exposure, it is usually one of the first parcelles that are harvested. André described this as “une jolie parcelle, bien protégé” (a well protected, nice plot). And there are high expectations of Pinot Noir in Alsace and you can check out a background piece here. We tasted the Pinot Noir “K” 2015 on two separate occasions. This wine was produced from a small yield of 15 hectolitres per hectare, went through two weeks of maceration on whole bunches and was raised in mature oak barrels for 18 months. This is ready to drink now, with a slight red fruit reduction on the nose and delicate tannins and round griotte cherries on the palate. A delicious drinkable wine, with a fine balanced structure, that nicely holds together the ripe fruit.
Starting with the 2017 vintage, André is planning to bottle all his Pinot Noir in magnums.
All the white wines from the Grand Cru’s go through 18 months to two years of élevage on the lees in traditional large foudres. This method develops good levels of complexity, structure and depth in the resulting wines.
We tasted the Riesling Kirchberg de Barr 2013, which was super clear, with tart agrumes on the nose and balanced green apple, acidity on the palate. The 2014 was less pronounced in acidity with rounder, more orange peel agrumes on the palate. Interesting wines, that are drinking well today, but should develop for at least another five to ten years.
The Zotzenberg Grand Cru hugs the west of the village. The 36.4 hectares of marl-limestone are more east than south facing. The slope is undulating and runs from 215 to 320 meters. Designated in 1992, the Zotzenberg is the only Grand Cru where Sylvaner can be named as a variety. The marl content tends to produce big wines that can have a certain roundness to them.
André produces Pinot Gris and Sylvaner on the Zotzenberg. We tasted the 2015 Sylvaner from a large foudre. It was slightly cloudy in appearance as expected, with ripe white fruits on the nose, round and crunchy on the palate with a dry finish of white pears and quince. On a recent visit in mid March we also tasted the 2012 Zotzenberg Sylvaner. This was clear with green taints, white fruits on the nose, round and full in the mouth with a lovely dry and saline finish that lingered on. Two fabulous wines, from the most serious Sylvaner vineyard in Alsace.
The Rebbuhl lieu-dit is on the granite plateau that sits behind the Kastelberg Grand Cru in Andlau. André has a good-sized area of 1.4 hectares here. This vineyard is a continued extension from the west of the Gebriet lieu-dit. We have provided some information on the Gebriet in Back in Alsace and the link is here. This is serious Pinot Blanc terroir and André uses his Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois to target high quality cremant production.
His Rebbuhl Riesling is labeled “terre de granite”.
We recently tasted the 2014. This was clear with a faint yellow taint, amer on the nose with a serious tight vertical tram on the palate. It finished bone dry, long with great salinity. About half of the vines used for this Riesling were planted in the early 1920’s.
This is the first pass on the profile for André Kleinknecht (and as is the advantage of a blog publication) an update will follow with additional tasting notes from our March visit.