Domaine Robert Klingenfus
2005 Riesling Clos des Chartreux
Riesling •Vin d'Alsace AOC
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Domaine Robert Klingenfus.
EXCLUSIVE WINE ALERT:
As part of our inaugural launch of International Wine Sundays, The Wine Spies have secured a very special wine. We are the only retailer in the United States with an allocation of this rare, organic and boutique Alsace Riesling. Be sure to pick up a few bottles, one for your next summer get-together and a couple for your cellar and collection. But stock up now, our allocation is extremely limited.
Use the promotion code FRENCHSPY for free ground shipping on orders of six or more bottles. Be sure to sign up for our Daily Dispatch for more valuable promotions for additional savings.
Mission Codename: A.O.C. Alsace… Organic… Chartreux!
Operative: Agent White & Agent Terroir
Objective: Seek out a boutique organic Riesling from France’s famous Alsace region.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Domaine Robert Klingenfus
Wine Subject: 2005 Riesling Clos des Chartreux
Winemaker: Robert Klingenfus
The Alsace AOC (also Vin d’Alsace AOC) covers the entire Alsace region in east-central France bordering Germany from north of Strasburg to Switzerland’s Basel with the Rhine river as a natural border.
The region is known primarily for Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Muscat and Sylvaner along with several lesser varietals. The wines of the Alsace provide a great balance between the classic French styles with German influence (don’t tell the French that though).
The region is also rich in history which is why you get the mixture in various winemaking influences with the border being disputed from 1648’s Thirty Years War all the way through World War II.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Clear golden with tints of pale green with thick slow legs that that creep down the side of the glass. This wine is thick and viscous when swirled.
Smell – Clean and bright with flavors of tart tropical fruits and layers of spice and a distinct Alsace mineral component.
Feel – Smooth, medium dry (very slight sweetness) with a creamy mouth-feel that balances the a nice minerality.
Taste – Tart flavors of tropical fruit, a bold grapefruit component, with hints of spice, floral blossoms, flinty minerality and a very subtle nutty flavor.
Finish – Long and crisp with tart fruits, especially the bright grapefruit, and lingering with its other flavor components.
Conclusion – The 2005 Clos des Chartreux is a beautiful wine with well balanced and integrated flavors that will please even the most discerning Alsace experts. For those that deny that Terroir has an impact on wine flavors, this wine proves them wrong.
Being medium-dry with balanced acidity and a lighter alcohol content, this wine will pair perfectly with all your summer creations. We enjoyed this wine with a salad with fresh figs, Roquefort cheese and candied walnuts with a balsamic reduction dressing.
The plan was to arrive in France with a few day’s to spare before the start of the 2008 Tour de France. Flying into Paris and then jumping a train to Brest. Upon arriving in Paris, Agent Terroir was their at Charles de Gaulle airport. Terroir was supposed to have arranged our transportation, lodging and even setting up our bikes so we could ride a few of the stages before the official race.
Like all good plans, once put into operation, they go right out the window. Terroir said Brest was off the itinerary, we had no bikes and hopefully, we’ll have time to hit some of the later mountain stages, but we would most likely miss the first few stages.
Instead, we jumped a connecting flight to Strasbourg on the French/German border. Normally, I don’t mind connecting flights, but when they are in small airplanes, I prefer to be at the controls. Terroir noticed my agitation and tried to calm me with stories of exquisite wines, and small wineries that focus on organic and biodynamic production…
At Strasbourg, things went from bad to worse, Terroir had hired the ugliest lime and chartreuse green two-tone Citroën 2CV (yeah – the ones that look like refrigerators); and it barely ran. Agent Terroir is way to into this ‘green’ thing.
Our ‘green wheels’ for this mission.
Thankfully after some coaxing, it started and we headed north along the Rhine to Molsheim. Along the way, Terroir was regaling me with stories of the latest small producer he had found. How perfect their wine was. How he loved the commitment to biodynamic, sustainable farming and organic production. And how the Wine Spies would be the only folks in the U.S. to get this wine.
The most interesting part of the story, was that the wine we were going to taste was made from a Premier Cru vineyard and in the style that dates back almost 500 years. Originally, the Clos des Chartreux, named from Charters who lived in the region was made by Carthusian Monks in 1520.
The long ride gave me a chance to calm down a little, but it was only once we arrived at Domaine Robert Klingenfus and I tasted the wine that I really relaxed. The wine was delicious, classic Alsace in style, medium dry with tropical fruit, tart grapefruit and a unique mineral component that is 100% Alsace in nature.
I immediately reported into the Operations Center that we had acquired a target wine and that I would be unavailable for the rest of the week. _*Now, I only hope our P.O.S. Citroën 2CV can get me all the way across France to I can catch stage one next weekend!*
Agent Red’s Mission Postscript:
For those fans of the Tour de France, you can catch coverage of this amazing bicycle race (along with all the scandals) on Versus Channel (check your local cable listings; formerly Outdoor Life Network – OLN); and no, the guy that dresses up like the Devil with a pitchfork and chases the riders up the mountain stages is not Agent Terroir in disguise (although it may be Agent White’s alter-ego Dr. Decimal!)
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Domaine Robert Klingenfus winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
This premier cru vineyard produces wines of rich and viscous gold. Complex and lush, the mouthfeel yields to deep tropical flavours with undertones of stone mineral and spice. Cleanly layered with natural acidity this is an elegant and polished wine.
Vintage “Clos des Chartreux” was originally produced by the Carthusian monks who founded the Molsheim Monastery in 1520 and lived there until the Revolution in 1789. 4 generations of our family patiently rebuild the monks’ vineyards.
This name pays homage to the CHARTERS who lived in Molsheim from 1551 to 1790 and give to the Molsheim wines their letters patent of nobility. This property lying on the Finkenberg (finch hill) slope was acquired since 1591. This predilection soil provides remarkable wines with great finesse like Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer
The soil gives the wines the suppleness typical of the great Alsace wines as well as gaiety like the finch’s song.
About The Winery:
Robert Klingenfus wines are made with respect for nature. The Klingefus family-run vineyard in Molsheim exports 50% of its wines; the rest are sold within France. The estate’s core values are the respect for nature and a healthy and sustainable form of agriculture. Robert Klingenfus follows strict production standards, with balanced soil amendment, control of vine nutrients and yields, hand harvest of sensitive vines, maturing in wood casks and delayed bottling – all of which is done in order to ensure the consistent quality of the wines.
KLINGENFUS is a Swiss name referring to the people living at the foot of a mountain called Klingenberg in Switzerland. As early as the 14th Century, the Klingenfus have been active in cooperage and vine.
Our ancestor Guillaume KLINGENFUS settled in Molsheim (in the Region of Alsace, Eastern France) in 1884. He was a professional cooper and through hard work and skills in the trade, he was able to buy a few acres of vines from the nearby Chartreuse (Carthusion monastery) of Molsheim.
My ancestor Charles KLINGENFUS was born in 1886. He was also a skilful cooper who was able to make casks of 3000 to 6000 litres. Charles was a hardworking man, who was used to grow vineyard or orchard on its “free time” after long hours spent in its workshop. He was already producing at the time wines and Brandies of high quality and received several awards in Molsheim, Strasbourg and Paris. Wines were sold then in barrels of 50 to 250 litres. We started to sell our wines in bottles only in 1946, under the management of Antoine KLINGENFUS.
Antoine KLINGENFUS was born in 1927 and with him the Vineyards developed. He was also trained as his ancestors as a cooper, and he was one of the pioneers in the profession to start making oval casks of 3000 litres. He extended our vineyard and started developing the concept of wines of the local land (in French “vins du terroir”). The Bugatti Vintage was then created in 1971. Like his father, he received several awards for his high quality wines.
My name is Robert KLINGENFUS, son of Antoine. I was born in 1959 and I consider as my mission to maintain our heritage and implement new ideas. Several projects have been conducted to improve our knowledge of vine growing and of its biotope in order to perpetuate the quality of our wines. We have invested also in customer communication and service as satisfying customers’ needs and requirements is essential to our business.
Consumers request healthy wines produced on healthy land using environmentally friendly agriculture. I wish to preserve such a healthy and productive land for my own children Elodie and Guillaume who will later take over from me. Thus, my commitment to organic viticultural practices.
Our Vineyards cover 20 hectares of organically farmed land located in Molsheim between Strasbourg and Obernai. Since 2000, we have implemented environmentally friendly and conservationist agricultural methods. This same approach applies as well to our wine making in cellar and bottling / packaging techniques.
We are certified by the TYFLO association. This is a gathering of Alsace winemakers who follow reasoned methods of production according to the IOBC guidelines (International Organisation for Biological and Integrated Control) which defines drastic specifications since January 1st, 2000 and which requires every operation carried out on every piece of land to be recorded and archived.
Wine quality is the most important purpose the KLINGENFUS DOMAIN has choosen thanks to an efficacious and rational production management.
1. Choice of land (slope, exposure, kind of soil);
2. Regional grape-variety (depends of the soil, exposure and so on …);
3. Soil analysis every 5 years to control nutrients and looking after the vines with meticulous care;
4. Yield monitoring thanks to a good vine training:
- Short guyot pruning
- Less fertilizer supplying
- Grass sowing / simultaneous ploughing
- Thining out in July if necessary to ensure top quality;
5. Hand-made picking for sensitive grape-varieties;
6. Pressing out of non-destemed grapes;
7. Traditionnal wine-making with strict fermentation temperature control;
8. Maturation in wooden tun where applicable;
9. Bottling process as late as possible.
Ours south south-east soils are marly and calcareous. They are very permeable. Therefore wine aromas thrive quickly. However, vines and grapes grow slowly because of the clayey soil (up to 30 %). Light calcareous gravels reflect the sun’s heat and also drain rain-water. In that way roots can easily find all the nutriments (minerals and water) required to the vinegrowth.
The wine-grower motivation increased with grapes ripening and wine maturation. He is wholly satisfied when his wine lover consumers shared the same feelings after tasting the final product. Living in the spirit, choosing the quality enables Robert KLINGENFUS to surmount difficulties and especially to forge ahead.
Planting year: 1985/1986 4500 vine-plants /ha
Vines: A vine training with low treatments
Aspect: A south south-east exposure to sun slope 35%
Alcohol: 12 % vol
Soil: A marly calcareous ground with a dolomite underground
Sugar: > 6 g /litre
Fermentation: All indigenous yeast from our vineyards