Alsace Grand Cru AOC Altenberg de Bergheim is one of the Grand Cru AOC sites in the Alsace region of north-eastern France. As its name suggests Altenberg is located in the commune of Bergheim in the Haut-Rhin department. It neighbours the Alsace Grand Cru AOC Kanzlerberg.

History: Altenberg de Bergheim first became renowned in the 12th-century. See Tom Stevenson (1993).

Size: 35.06 hectares (CIVA).

Main grapes: Gewurztraminer. 100% Muscat wines are not permitted.

Terroir: CIVA Alsace describes Altenberg de Bergheim as lying ‘just outside the medieval city of Bergheim, extending over the steeply sloping south face of the Grasberg hillock, at an altitude between 220 and 330 metres. At the margin of the Ribeauvillé fracture zone, carved up into strips and compartments of varied terrains. Lower-and Mid-Jurassic fossil-rich limestones and marls of different composition are partly overlain by Tertiary limestone boulders. The soil however looks rather homogeneous, lime, marl and sand, often reddish, very stony, shallow in depth but with quite good water retention capacity. Thanks to its south exposure, its distance from the main mass of the Vosges, and the steep slope down to the small Bergenbach, this site has a warm temperate microclimate, with very even temperatures and air moisture. [This] makes it ideal for Gewurztraminer and Riesling. The pride of Bergheim winegrowers, the Altenberg has been renowned for its fine wines since the end of 13th century. Numerous references in the municipal archives bear witness to its exceptional viticultural vocation.’

Jean-Michel Deiss says Altenberg de Bergheim is situated ‘in the heart of a geologic fault area that combines hard Jurassic calcareous deposits and liassic marl strata. These formations, which are rich in fossils, have formed a spare [thin] clayey-calcareous [top]soil that is red (ferrous) and rich in limestone rock [in other words a very stony, red coloured, fossil-rich, calcareous marl topsoil over limestone bedrock]. Here, the vine has to send its roots deep for energy. Altenberg’s microclimate results from its open southern exposure, its considerable distance from the Vosges face and its isolation near the Rhenish plain; it is very warm, dry and nearly overheated. That maturity of the grape is often enhanced by noble rot and is exceptional. It imposes the domination of the terroir on the planted varieties.’

Yields: Growers in Altenberg de Bergheim cut maximum yields to 50hl/ha via the ‘gestion locale’ or local governance system (allowed since 2001).

Wines

Gewurztraminer

Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives

Gewurztraminer Grains Nobles

Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives

Pinot Gris Grains Nobles

Riesling

Riesling Vendanges Tardives

Riesling Grains Nobles