Jean-François Ginglinger

Jean-François Ginglinger – Introduction

Jean-François Ginglinger, son of Jean-Louis Ginglinger, is a producer of natural wines who is based in the central Alsace village of Pfaffenheim which lies 12 kilometres south of Colmar where he cares for 6.5 hectares of prime sites including two parcels in the Grand Cru vineyards of Steinert and Pfingstberg which is near the village of Orschwihr (which, in turn, is half way between Colmar and Mullhouse). The family are not recent arrivals having been involved in viticulture here since 1610!!!

Chez Ginglinger

The entrance to the Ginglinger winery

The soil here is complex being a mix of limestone of various types including calcareous sandstone. The photo below shows an outcrop of complex limestone in one of Jean-François‘s vineyards.

Limestone outcrop Alsace

Complex rock types in Jean’s vineyard

Although the family’s history of growing vines goes back 400 years, Jean-François’s father Jean began the domaine in the 1960s. It was converted to biodynamic viticulture in 1997, achieving Ecocert organic certification in 1999 and then, in 2001, biodynamic certification with Demeter. For the past couple of years Jean-François has abandoned mechanised vehicles and reverted to horses to do much of the work in the vineyards.

Importantly, since 2003 when he vinified his Pinot Noir Steiner without sulphites Jean François has pursued this ideal for all his wines. All the wines we import have no added sulphites.

Jean and old press

Jean-François in his winery

Ginglinger produces wines from the seven standard white grape varieties of Alsace namely Sylvaner, Riesling, Muscat d’Alsace, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer as well as Pinot Noir. He also makes a fine Cremant d’Alsace using Auxerrois Blanc and Pinot Blanc.

Jean-François is a quiet, humble and passionate man who wants to produce pure wines that reflect the terroir of his very special vineyards.

We mentioned above that he has approximately one third of his vines in two vineyards (Steinert and Zinnkoepfle) which are classified as Grand Cru vineyards. He does not, however, submit his wines for Grand Cru classification as the tasting panel has a preference for sweeter-style wines and wines that contain sulphites. He likes dryer-style wines and does not want to add sulphites, so he drops the “t” from Steinert for the cuvee names to emphasise that it is not rated as a Grand Cru. So we took a photo of Jean in the Steinert vineyard and also dropped the T from the photo.

Steinert vineyard sign

Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Riesling Mettla 2020

A new cuvée for us, Mettla is named for the plot where the grapes for this wine come from.

It is a mix of limestone and calcareous sandstone planted predominantly with Riesling (90%) but also with 10% Sylvaner Rouge, a rare, old variant of Sylvaner.

The press was very slow and, while it’s a white wine, because of the colour from the Sylvaner and the slow press it feels like it has a little more texture and colour.  It was aged in stainless steel.


Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Riesling Paradies 2020

The first vintage of this cuvée, Riesling Paradies is made from 60 year old vines from the Grand Cru Pfingstberg in the village of Orschwihr.

These vines have been retrieved over the past year by Jean’s son, who has now started working with the family.

The soil is Grèseux, which is one of the translations for the word sandstone. The wine was aged in foudre on fine lees.


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Sylvaner 2018

The production of Sylvaner in Alsace almost halved between 1958 and 2006 in favour of Riesling, however since 2006 it has undergone a revival as some young winemakers, including Jean have started making exemplary wines using this grape. Sylvaner was also recognised as a quality grape by the French INAO which created two Grand Cru appellations based on Sylvaner.

Jean’s vineyards are in the south of Alsace where it is recognised that the best Sylvaner comes from. This wine is well worth a try to savour the flavours of this truly interesting grape variety.

Jean describes this wine as thirst-quenching and lively and we can but agree. He also says that it matches well with seafood and salads.


Jean Ginglinger Stein 2018


This blend, which is becoming slowly more common in Alsace, is a particularly interesting wine as it is made from 80% Pinot Gris that has been macerated and then 20% Pinot Noir added to produce a light, ethereal wine that is very drinkable.

The name is to remind us that the grapes for this delicious wine are sourced from the Grand Cru Steinert vineyards.


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Bihl 2017

Ginglinger Bihl 2017

This beautiful wine is a blend of Riesling and Sylvaner from the Bihl lieu-dit where the vines are between 35 and 45 years old and benefit from the calcareous soils here. This is a great vineyard that has a complex geology giving rise to the pronounced minerality derived from the soil. If you look at the label closely you will see Jean examining a rock with his magnifying glass!

This is a long, lingering wine of considerable charm which is perfect for sipping on the balcony or accompanying a meal.


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Muscat 2017


This complex and charming wine is made from three varieties of Muscat that thrive on calcareous soils. The varieties are Muscat Ottonel, Muscat d’Alsace Rose and Muscat d’Alsace. Muscat Ottonel was created in 1852 by crossing Chasselas with Muscat. It is particularly suited to the Alsace region. Muscat d’Alsace Rose is a pink variety of Muscat which is quite rare, but Jean is lucky enough to have a small plot of this variety. Muscat d’Alsace is the local name for Muscat à Petit Grains which is widely planted in the Languedoc and Roussillon and probably came originally from Greece via Italy.

This wine is a stunner. If you haven’t tried a complex Muscat then this is one that you will find to be a beautiful companion to a wide range of foods.


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Pinot Blanc Glou Glou 2020

This wine is a pure, tense, energetic Pinot Blanc that is a great expression of this grape variety which is widely planted in the Alsace as well as in Champagne, Lorraine and Burgundy where it is valued for the minerality and acidity that it provides.

This Pinot Blanc is very food friendly and can be matched to a wide variety of dishes.

Jean has added the words Glou-Glou this year as he thinks it is particularly drinkable!


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Riesling Lerchenberg 2017


An amazing wine of depth and precision with great floral aromas for this cult wine. This is a Riesling from the Lerchenberg vineyard that has been gently oxidised to give it a unique flavour and amazing tension.

The Lerchenberg (the hill of the larks) vineyard is south facing on a moderate slope just a few kilometres north-west of the town of Colmar. The minerality in the wine comes from soils composed of clay, limestone sand and a marl substrate. 

And this year there is yet another surprise with this wine. As you will see from the word “infusion” clearly displayed on the label there is a little something extra. Jean wrapped some Gewurztraminer in a cheese cloth and lowered it into the Riesling (just like a large tea bag) and let it macerate in the juice. This has added an extra dimension to this already complex wine this year.

This wine is perfect with spicy foods.


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Pinot Gris 2021


This Pinot Gris from Jean Ginglinger is a great example of the Pinot Gris variety with enhanced minerality from the biodynamic practices used by Jean.

This is a particularly fine wine reminding us more of an Italian wine made from Pinot Grigio with its beautiful texture and long, lingering effect on the palate.

The acidity is restrained allowing the fruit flavours to shine through.


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Riesling Steiner Zinnkoepfle 


This wine is an elegant, powerful Riesling with grapes sourced from both the Steinert vineyard and the Zinnkoepfle vineyard which lies in a beautiful valley just over the hill from Steinert. The Steinert vineyard lies about 8 kilometres south of the town of Colmar and is one of the highest vineyards in Alsace and benefits from southern exposure.

Both of the vineyards are Grand Cru vineyards so the grapes are of outstanding quality, however Jean does not submit his wines to the appellation authorities because they have a preference for wines with quite a lot of residual sugar which does not appeal to Jean who has a preference for dry wines.

The characteristic of wines made from grapes of this vineyard is the amazing length at the finish. It simply lingers for ages.

The texture of this wine is also characteristic of Jean’s winemaking prowess. A beautiful wine of power and elegance.

This is a wonderful application of skin maceration producing a wine that is perfect to drink right through a meal. It also stands up to hot and spicy foods really well.


Jean Ginglinger Gewurztraminer Steiner Macération 2019

Jean uses Gewurztraminer from the beautiful Steinert Grand Cru appellation to make this macerated cuvée. For this vintage he macerated whole bunches for 5 weeks. It is an intense gastronomic wine which demands food.


Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Gewurztraminer 2020

This is another Gewurztraminer wine released by Jean Ginglinger in 2020.

We are very keen on Alsace grape varieties and this wine is no exception. The Gewurztraminer has this year produced a lovely, light very drinkable wine of considerable charm.

It is long on flavour and very good as a food wine. Everything is here, spice flavours, floral notes, tannic impressions derived from skin and pip tannins, freshness and drinkability. A great wine and a great introduction to wines from Alsace.


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Pinot Gris Steiner 2015


The vines from which this wine is made are from the area called Steinert which is a Grand Cru area. Jean, however, does not apply for Grand Cru status because he doesn’t like the level of residual sugar required for this appellation. 

In this case it is Pinot Gris that has been used to makes this incredibly interesting and complex wine which finished much drier than most wines produced here.

As always with this amazing vineyard the finish on the wine is very, very long. The flavour and the texture of the wine lingers for ages.


Domaine Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Gewurztraminer Steiner 2016

The vines from which this wine is made are from the area called Steinert which is a Grand Cru area. Jean, however, does not apply for Grand Cru status because he doesn’t like the level of residual sugar required for this appellation. 

This is a classic Gewurztraminer with power and elegance and the most amazing aroma. We only have tiny quantities of this wine.


Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Pinot Noir 2021


The Pinot Noir 2021 vintage is 100% Pinot Noir, a melange from all Jean’s vineyards because the size of the harvest in 2021 was relatively small. As with the Pinot Gris from 2021, because of a small harvest, this cuvée contains the grapes that would normally go into several Pinot Noir wines (including Sandstein, his traditional Pinot Noir, and Steiner).And for the same reason as the Pinot Gris it was bottled early.

If you haven’t tried a Pinot Noir from the Alsace region then you should do yourself a favour because they are often very good and quite often exemplary.

The Pinot Noir juice was matured in a large, old foudre and shows depth and elegance as well as a nice streak of aciditiy.


Jean Ginglinger Vin d’Alsace Pinot Noir Sandstein 2020

We said above that in 2021 the Pinot Noir harvest was very small so Jean combined the Pinot from a number of plots into one cuvée. However in 2020 the story was a bit different and the fabulous old vine plot of Sandstein had a good crop and produced a small, but stunning, vintage.

However, we were only able to secure a dozen bottles of this special wine made from 100 year old vines!