To understand the quality of a given vintage in Alsace, nothing is better than tasting the whole range of Zind-Humbrecht's wines, once they are bottled. Because Olivier Humbrecht produces some of the best wines of the region, but specifically because he does so on an unmatched range of terroirs, spanning from Hunawihr in Central Alsace to Thann in the southern most part of the Alsace vineyard. The estate's vineyard is planted on all kinds of terroirs, from granite hills to marly slopes through volcanic, limestone-based soils, with several grape varieties. This way it is possible to asses how a particular grape/terroir combination did in a specific region of Alsace, meaning understanding how the vintage's climate allowed a perfect ripening of the grapes. If some are already chasing the 2011 vintage, looking before everyone else for the best future wines, now is the perfect time to taste and discover the 2010 vintage, widely available for sale throughout the region.
In addition to a high-quality range of wines, Zind-Humbrecht is distinctive for its publishing of vintage notes written by Olivier Humbrecht. After a brief introduction to the vintage, details are given for every wine produced, from technical analysis to harvest information, on top of his own tasting notes including ageing potential. A remarquable effort done since 1996, no other winegrower has done it yet in such detail. www.oenoalsace.com has published every vintage note since 1996, with an english version available since the 2004 vintage. This on-line database easily accessible from a smartphone (while in a restaurant for example) is a great way to check the richness of a wine...
2010 Vintage Notes
(Olivier Humbrecht, March 2012)
2010 will probably considered as one of the most extreme vintage in recent years, as we went from -26°C before Christmas to an extremely hot July. 2010 will also be remembered as one of the smallest crop in Alsace for many years, with yields sometimes up to 70% smaller in some areas.
December 19th 2009, temperatures were so low that even Christmas trees were frozen! The sad thing is that many vineyards suffered bud loss if not sometimes whole vines in frost sensitive areas (valley floors around Colmar). Winter lasted up to April, so bud-break was quite late. Some favourable periods in May helped most vineyards to start flowering early June, but most were in full flower middle June while the temperatures dropped. This cold weather caused some serious grape loss through coulure (flowers aborting), and that was the second climatic effect explaining the small 2010 crop. Millerandage and coulure were exceptionally high, even in grape varieties that are usually more resistant like Riesling. Later flowering vineyards like Rangen and Clos Windsbuhl were proportionally less affected, because the weather turned very hot and dry the last week of June.
July was extremely hot with important rainfalls (storms). August was very wet, almost double the average with around 125mm in Turckheim, and also cold. Curiously, Oïdium was more of a problem than Mildew. From November 2009 to October 2010, we had the following amount of rainfall: Thann: 698mm, Windsbuhl: 612mm, Turckheim: 615mm, which is above the average 525mm. Overall, the vines looked beautiful and the soils were covered by a lot of greenery in August. Despite the higher amount of rain, the grapes remained very healthy because of the colder temperatures and later ripening season.
End of August saw the return of exceptional weather, gradually getting cooler towards October and very dry with many days of north wind blowing. Rot was not a problem in 2010 as the weather conditions favoured healthy grapes and very late noble rot development. The harvest started the 20th September and finished the 18th October with the Rangen Riesling, actually much earlier than anticipated.
All wines from 2010 are characterized by a very high acidity, low pH and good to very high ripeness. Fermentations were very slow and many wines fermented for over a year, in a very similar way to 2008. Yields are extremely low. The average of the estate is 29hl/ha with many gewürztraminer vineyards below 20hl/ha. All grapes performed very well and most vineyards eventually developed noble rot towards October. To avoid making too many sweet wines, especially for the Riesling, like in 2007 and 2008, we were able to start harvesting end of September.
Like many previous year, bio-dynamic farming helped us to obtain perfect physiological ripeness before the development of noble rot. As usual, the two last vineyards harvested were the Riesling Rangen and Clos Windsbuhl, which were still very healthy and produced exceptional dry mineral wines. Two SGN were made in Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal and Clos Windsbuhl, and two Vendanges Tardives in Brand and old vines Herrenweg.
Without any doubt, 2010 is a great vintage that produced wines capable of long ageing.
Indice: level of sweetness on the palate. This note combines the sweetness, acidity, alcohol and overall structure of the wine.
It ranges from 1 to 5.
- 1: technically dry or tasting dry.
- 2: not technically dry, but sweetness not apparent on the palate. Some tasters might find some roundness on the finish.
- 3: medium sweetness, especially present when the wine is young and might gradually disappear with the ageing.
- 4: Sweet wine
- 5: High sweetness, VT in richness without the usual botrytis
Alc/Alcohol: finished alcohol level at end of fermentation, RS/Residua Sweetness: sugars in g/l naturally left in the wine at the end of the alcoholic fermentation. H2SO4: total acidity in g/l expressed in sulphuric acid (in France).
Pinot Blanc 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 13.7° alc; Residual sweetness: 4 g/l; 4.2 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.4; Yields: 45 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012/2022; Average age of the vines: 35 years; Terroir: Oligocene Calcareous and gravely soil. Indice 1.
For many years now, our Pinot Blanc is made from Auxerrois (70%) and Pinot Blanc (30%) grapes originating from the Herrenweg and Rotenberg vineyard. Most years, the Rotenberg plays a key role as its limestone soil brings the structure and acidity necessary to balance the richness of the gravely soils of the Herrenweg area. As such, Auxerrois is also a slightly less acid grape variety and is a little more precocious than Pinot Blanc. Auxerrois does remain the main grape variety of this blend as we like the smaller grapes, more aromatic expression and the fact that Auxerrois reaches phenolic ripeness more evenly. In 2010, however, such considerations were less important as both grapes achieved perfect ripeness and kept a great acidity. The fermentation was fast and the wine fermented to the end of the sugars.
3/2012: the nose is now starting to open up towards white fruit aromatics (peach, yellow plum) and despite still far away from its best expression, is already showing an interesting complexity. The palate is ample, tight with great length for such a wine. Probably a future classic and best example of Pinot Blanc we’ve made recently. The finish is dry and shows a nervous structure. Excellent with salads, chicken, fish…
Zind 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 13.1° alc; Residual sweetness: 4.8 g/l; 4.4 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.3; Yields: 45 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012/2022; Average age: 21 years; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous (Jurassic) facing south & east. Indice 1.
Since 2004, the Zind is produced exclusively from Clos Windsbuhl grapes (2/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Auxerrois). Back in the 80s we were really concerned about the evolution of our climate and tried to find a grape variety that would bring structure to the Auxerrois grape. The part closest to the forest being slightly cooler, we thought that these grape would achieve very well in this old calcareous Muschelkalk soil. Unfortunately, Chardonnay is not permitted for still wines in Alsace, so this wine is sold as Zind and Table wine. The grapes were very healthy in 2010 and achieved perfect ripeness. The fermentation lasted a year and ended with the wine being dry.
3/2012: these extra months on total lees really benefited the Zind 2010 as it is now really fully open. The nose shows beautiful ripe fruit flavours mixed with typical almond/nutty influence from the Chardonnay. The vines ageing, the Windsbuhl character shows more and more: the palate has this textbook acidity and elegance. Finishing dry but not aggressive, the Zind 2010 is a true Windsbuhl wine.
Muscat Herrenweg de Turckheim 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012, Alcohol: 13.5° alc, Residual sweetness: 2.9 g/l; 4.0 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.3; Yields: 33 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2012; Average age of the vines: 31 years; Terroir: Gravely/silt; 75% Muscat d’Alsace, 25% Ottonel. Indice 1.
In recent years, we changed a lot the proportion of Muscat d’Alsace and Ottonel in this vineyard. Previously, the Ottonel was dominant and now we do favour the Muscat d’Alsace, more adapted to our warmer climate. The Muscat d'Alsace is also called ‘petits grains’ and it is the same Muscat which is used in the South of France. The Muscat d’Alsace ripens slower, keeps a better acidity/structure and is more complex than the Ottonel. However, if not planted in a good site and harvested at perfect physiological ripeness, it can develop some green character. It is also much less sensitive to cold temperatures during the flowering, so in 2010, we were still able to make some Muscat despite the fact the Ottonel had a lot of ‘coulure’. The 2010 fermented over a year but in two distinctive motions. At the end of winter, there was still a lot of sugar in the wine, but the following spring the fermentation started again and the wine finished dry.
3/2012: the nose shows almost more mineral quality than the usual floral Muscat aromas, which are very discreet and elegant at this early stage. The palate is dry, shows nice acidity and freshness, with a structured finish that is more of a Riesling than Muscat. This will be the perfect wine with white asparagus!
Muscat Goldert Grand Cru 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alc: 12.5 ° alc; RS: 9.8 g/l; 4.3 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.3; Yields: 45 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2014-2025+; Average age of the vines: 23 years; Terroir: Oolithic calcareous, facing East, gentle slope. 90 % Muscat d’Alsace, 10 % Ottonel. Indice 2.
The Muscat d’Alsace is now famous on the Goldert for many years. The ideal combination of a late ripening climate and limestone soil stops this grape to become overly rich and perfumed while retaining great structure. Muscat Goldert is also a wine that will be able to age and develop an interesting minerality. In 2010 the Muscat d’Alsace was picked very healthy, slightly later than usual but without any over-ripeness character, developing an ideal phenolic ripeness. The fermentation lasted a full year and the wine finished almost dry and kept a great acidity. This vineyard contains very little Ottonel grape, so the crop was totally normal in a year of generally small yields.
3/2012: the nose is still going from full floral notes to mineral stony aromas. Full lees contact has also made the wine less developed. The palate shows a discreet sweetness and very nice Riesling-like texture. The acidity, well present on the middle palate, and the lower alcohol make it extremely elegant. The flavours are long lasting and that little sweetness is almost not perceptible. There is no doubt that this Goldert will age for a very long time.
Riesling Terroir d’Alsace 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 12.85° alc; Residual sweetness: 4 g/l; 5.6 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.0; Yields: 43 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2014-2025; Average age of the vines: 27 years; Terroir: gravely soil/silt; granite and marl; Indice 1
We started to make this wine for the first time in 2008, mostly using grapes from the Herrenweg and Turckheim area, so mostly gravely and granitic soils. The idea was clearly to obtain a dry wine (by Alsace standard it means <5g/l RS) so we could write plain and clear on the front label. It also means that we have to be extremely careful with the harvest date, not to pick too late and avoid by all means any noble rot. In 2010 this was quite easy for most Riesling and the general high sharp acidity also helps to give a very dry structure to the wines. The fermentation lasted over a year but eventually was completed before Christmas 2011!
3/2012: the nose is extremely mineral and still strongly influenced by a very long total lees contact. The autolysis must have been complete as the nose shows strong iodine, flinty and sea air characteristics. The palate starts very sharp and the strong acidity increases the sensation of dryness. Beware, this tastes very dry! The elegant style of the Riesling grape eventually comes around on the finish with a nice sensation of salt. This wine can benefit from more ageing.
Riesling Thann 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 12.5° alc; Residual sweetness: 4.8 g/l; 5 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.3; Yields: 24 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2014-2025; Average age of the vines: 27 years; Terroir: Sedimentary volcanic rocks, facing south, very steep slope. Indice 1.
Most vintage, some of the last vines planted in the Rangen are declassified into either our classic Riesling or under the Thann label if the vintage is interesting, like 2010. We felt that the ‘older’ vines were slightly riper but more importantly, we feel that the root system is less deep and profound in these younger vines. The Rangen vineyard is a steep volcanic hill. The growing conditions can be tough for the vines and age matters a lot. 2010 wasn’t a drought year but some periods, especially late in season were quite dry and warm, so not all the vines behaved the same way. This wine fermented quickly and finished dry way before any other Riesling in the cellar.
3/2012: the nose shows the volcanic origin! There is plenty of flint and smoke, associated with typical stony aromas. The palate is dry but has a nice round middle touch, enhanced with some more fruity flavours. The finish is medium long and delicate. The acidity feels softer than what the numbers suggest and this is probably because of the volcanic origin that usually increases the pH. Like most Riesling, it will need some time.
Riesling Gueberschwihr 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling: 3/2012; Alcohol: 12.5 °alc; Residual sweetness: 9 g/l; 5.6 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.0; Yields: 45 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period 2014-2025; Average age of vines: 36 years; Terroir: Limestone/calcareous/siliceous, facing East and South. Gentle slope; Indice 1.
This is probably the last time we will label this wine as ‘Gueberschwihr’. Not because it is almost impossible to write for the non-residents, but because we were the only one to use this village designation and under Alsace new wine laws, we won’t be allowed to continue. I am not debating whether it is fair or not, but it obliges us to use the designation ‘Calcaire’ for any future vintage (Calcaire means limestone). If 2010 is a high acidity vintage, it is probably in limestone soils where the acidity is the sharpest and makes the most vivacious styles. The grapes were very healthy and with the very small crop, they produced an intense wine with an enormous ageing potential after a very long fermentation.
3/2012: the wine is still on its lees so the nose is very mineral. A little aeration will help the development of fruity aromas (citrus) and show more the potential of this wine. The palate starts very sharp, but the light sweetness eventually helps to hide the crisp structure and makes the finish very interesting and almost smooth. The balance of acidity also brings a mouthwatering saltiness.
Riesling Turckheim 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 13.1°alc; Residual sweetness: 12 g/l; 5.4 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.1; Yields: 45 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2025; Average age of the vines: 20 years; Terroir: gravely silt, gravelly marl and granite; Indice 2.
Unlike the ‘Terroir d’Alsace’ this wine only comes from the Herrenweg area and was harvested with a surprising acidity and quite an important richness. Few Riesling developed noble rot in 2010, but the precocious gravely soils of Herrenweg eventually allowed for some grapes to concentrate with botrytis. This wine could have been blended with the Terroir d’Alsace, but predictably, with noble rot, the fermentation was slow and didn’t manage to finish all the sugars.
3/2012: gravely/silt soils produce very aromatic expressions of Riesling, and here there is no exceptions in the rule. This is probably the most open Riesling of 2010. The nose shows typical fruity flavours enhanced by this little noble rot touch (white fruits, light bee wax). The palate is generous and quite ample, but before we expect some sweetness, the acidity kicks in and allows the finish to be drier than expected. This wine surely has a nice ageing potential, and with age, it will taste even drier.
Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 13.3°alc; Residual sweetness: 7.5 g/l; 5.6 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.0; Yields: 30 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2030; Average age of the vines: 45 years; Terroir: gravely soil/silt; Indice 1.
The cellars of domaine Zind-Humbrecht are located in the middle of the Herrenweg vineyard. Herrenweg means the ‘soldiers road’ in reference to the old romaine road that linked Colmar to the other side of the Vosges. The Herrenweg is our most precocious vineyard because it benefits from the Colmar specific climate (driest and warmest in Alsace) and also the soil, made of pebbles and fine sands, drains easily and therefore warms up very quickly. As temperatures at roots level are more influential on precocity than temperatures at leaves level, it explains why any grape variety on the estate is always harvested first in the Herrenweg. Specific canopy management and the use of some bio-dynamic preparations also help the vines to mature physiologically quicker. This is very important in vintages where alcohol levels can be too high, as we can harvest earlier with better acids. This is exactly what happened in 2010 with this Riesling. The grapes were fully ripe and we could harvest them at a moment where the acidity was still important. It seems like a contradiction but the numbers are there!
3/2012: the nose shows a surprising nice minerality for the Herrenweg, usually fruitier and simpler. The selection was stricter in 2010 and the proportion of older vines is more important. Yields are also very small! The palate has the structure of a tight limestone Riesling, with a crisp saline acidity. Low RS, so the finish is quite dry and long. Pity that this is a small cask as it is probably our best Herrenweg to date!
Riesling Heimbourg 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 13.7° alc; Residual sweetness: 5.5 g/l; 4.8 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.2; Yields: 40 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2013-2028+; Planted in 1994; Terroir: Oligocene calcareous, facing south, southwest, steep slope. Indice 1.
The Heimbourg is a small 9ha vineyard located on the east of Turckheim. It lies on a steep calcareous hillside, whose exposition turns from south to west. The domaine Zind-Humbrecht owns 4.5ha in this single vineyard. The south side, which is the warmest and steepest part, is planted with the Riesling grape. Here, the vines are protected from the cooler north winds and the ripeness is quite precocious. At the opposite of the Clos Jebsal, across the road, the Heimbourg Riesling rarely develops noble rot, but does reach high ripeness level due to the solar exposition. The 2010 was harvested very ripe, relatively early, and the yeast managed to ferment almost all the sugars.
3/2012: the Heimbourg develops rich ripe fruity aromas mixed with classic minerals. It is a very complex nose. The vines are finally exploring the best part of the soil and this also shows on the palate: powerful, intense, well balanced with a ripe acidity and a long dry finish. Unlike some other calcareous soils in 2010, the acidity here isn’t as sharp which gives the Heimbourg a gentle touch. This wine will deserve some further ageing.
Riesling Clos Häuserer 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling: 3/2012; Alcohol: 12.7 ° alc; Residual sweetness: 8 g/l; 5.3 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.1, Yields: 29 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2014-2030+; Vineyard planted in 1973; Terroir: Calcareous Marl (Oligocene period). Very gentle slope. Indice 1.
The Clos Häuserer is located just below the limit of the Grand Cru Hengst. This wine was actually labelled as Riesling Grand Cru in the late 70s! The delimitation was correct because the Clos Häuserer has a deeper, richer soil than Hengst. It takes about 1 to 1.2 metre to find the calcareous mother rock. This depth brings lots of interesting minerals to the wine and a very balanced water supply. Until the vines reached about 20 years old, it was difficult to obtain a balanced vigour in this rich soil in order to bring the yields down. The Clos Häuserer has a cooler soil, due to its higher marl content, so the Riesling grape takes longer to ripen there and can keep a high acidity. In 2010, unfortunately, we lost about 40% of the crop due to a severe hail early July. The clusters were still very small and fragile, so each impact would cut off the whole cluster or part of it. The good weather allowed for the vines to recover quickly without diseases and the harvest, very healthy, was done at normal time, unfortunately too quickly. Fermentation was very slow and the yeast kept little residual sweetness.
3/2012: this wine is starting to express some beautiful stony, mineral aromas. It will take probably a year after the bottling for the fruity character to eventually come out. The palate shows a firm crisp minerality with a long aftertaste. The Clos Häuserer is a very elegant wine in 2010 with a medium alcohol power. The little residual sweetness brings a small sensation of roundness which is very short, because the firm acidity makes the finish taste dry. This is a true Indice 1 wine!
Riesling Clos Windsbuhl 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 12.6° alc; Residual sweetness: 4 g/l; 6.0 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.1; Yields: 40 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2035+; Average age of the vines: 36 years; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous (Jurassic), facing southeast, medium/steep slope. Indice 1.
The Clos Windsbuhl is located in a late ripening area in Alsace, capable to keep extraordinary structure while allowing the grapes to reach full physiological ripeness. The higher altitude and poor limestone soil increase this characteristic. The Windsbuhl Riesling was the last Riesling harvested on the estate and the grapes still remained very healthy. In 2010, the Windsbuhl also flowered just after the cold period in June, which means that we suffered much less from grape loss in this vineyard. Being less precocious is not a problem if the vines are located in a vineyard that has a good exposition (south facing) and good drainage (steep slope and rocky soil). Despite the normal ripeness, this wine took also a long time to ferment.
3/2012: nothing in the nose could prepare to the severity of this wine. The aromas are very classic: light stony, some lees effect (light toast), fresh citrus fruits and classic ‘mineral’. The first palate is delicate and very refined, but gradually the acidity and structure show. This wine has an amazing crisp tension, lots of minerality and a long finish. Beware; this is a very dry wine! And, please, keep it as long as possible before drinking it.
Riesling Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 12.5° alc; Residual sweetness: 9.5 g/l; 4 g/l acidity H2SO4, pH: 3.4; Yields: 25 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2035+; Average age of the vines: 48 years; Terroir: Sedimentary volcanic rocks, facing south, very steep slope. Indice 1.
The Clos-Saint-Urbain is located around the Chapel Saint-Urbain in the middle of the Rangen Grand Cru vineyard in the village of Thann. The Rangen vineyard is our highest vineyard (350m to 450m) and probably one of Alsace’s highest as well. Despite the incredible warming effect of the dark rocky volcanic sedimentary soil and the steep south facing 90% slope, bud-break and flowering is usually about 2 weeks later than in Turckheim. In 2010, this allowed the vines to flower under better weather conditions and in fact we harvested almost a normal crop size in Thann, unlike all our other vineyards. The yields are very low, but this is almost the norm in this vineyard. Some of the younger vines were declassified in our Thann Riesling and all grapes were harvested very healthy in 2010. The fermentation was actually one of the fastest. This vineyard often enjoys a totally different climate than the rest of the estate and 2010 is quite a late ripening style vintage.
3/2012: it is so easy to recognise the vineyard by just smelling the wine. There are strong flinty and earthy aromas on the nose that can almost be mistaken for reduction. Tasting all three grapes from Rangen is very revealing in 2010 as all three show similar aromas. The palate is powerful, despite a lower alcohol, long and finishes with a nice velvety texture. The wine shines more by its vineyard character than high acidity. In this case, the acidity is much salinized and it brings a new dimension of texture on the palate.
This is definitely meant for long keeping!
Riesling Brand Vieilles Vignes 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 12.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 33.5 g/l; 5.8 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.1; Yields: 17 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2035+; Average age of vines: 60 years; Terroir: Biotite granite, facing south. Steep slope. Indice 3.
The Brand vineyard is located in one of the most precocious and warm vineyard area in Alsace. The combination of well drained warm granite and a climate that brought enough humidity in August explains why this vineyard developed so much noble rot so early. Most years we have the possibility to separate the noble rot affected grapes from the healthy ones, but this wasn’t possible in 2010. In fact, the clusters with the highest proportion of noble rot produced a Vendanges Tardive, and, the rest produced this wine which still reached high level of concentration. The fermentation was the slowest of any Riesling in 2010, probably due to the very high acidity, really amazing for this kind of vineyard, and sugar ripeness.
3/2012: being one of the last Riesling to finish fermenting, this wine still shows strong fermentation character (lees, slight reduction) and the more pure fruity aromas will take some time to come out. Usually Brand is one of our most aromatic wines and this one will not be an exception. It just requires more time. The palate is model of harmony between a relatively high sweetness and great sharp acidity. This wine tastes much drier than what one can expect in seeing the RS. The finish is long and delicate, with complex citrus and minerals notes. Amazing ageing potential.
Pinot-Gris Calcaire 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 14° alc; Residual sweetness: 10 g/l; 4.3 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.5, Yields: 50 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2014-2025+; Average age of the vines: 20 years; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous, south/southeast facing. Medium slope. Indice 2.
In 2010, the Pinot-Gris Calcaire comes entirely from the young vines planted in the period 1988/1992 in the Clos Windsbuhl vineyard. This vineyard produces wines which are recognisable by their elegance and delicate structure, always showing a beautiful racy acidity. We tried hard in 2010 not to let these grapes go too far in the ripeness process, avoiding unnecessary alcohol or residual sweetness. This was quite easy to obtain in 2010, as the grapes stayed healthy a long time and the natural acidity was high. The fermentation was medium fast (about 3 months) and managed to ferment most sugars. There is a clear family resemblance with the Windsbuhl wine, but of course, the young vines will never achieve the level of complexity of older deeper rooted vines.
3/2012: the nose shows elegant and fresh fruity aromas (pears, citrus, white peach) but also a classic Pinot-Gris expression (toast, light smoke, hazelnuts…). The limestone effect is easier to identify on the palate. This wine has a delicate texture, enhanced by a ripe acidity and quite dryish finish. Despite the more modest name, this wine will age relatively well.
Pinot-Gris Herrenweg de Turckheim 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 14.3° alc; Residual sweetness: 26 g/l; 4.7 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.4; Yields: 37 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2020; Average age of the vines: 19 years; Terroir: gravely soil on valley floor. Indice 3.
The Herrenweg is located on the gravely alluvial soil between Turckheim and Wintzenheim. These soils struggle to keep minerals and often suffer from drought, but, because they are well drained, they warm up quickly and it is always there that we start the harvest. In 2010, the crop was much smaller than usual and the grapes were harvested very ripe. The wine has a higher than normal acidity, and this probably is the main reason explaining an exceptionally slow fermentation. At one stage, we really thought that this wine would keep much more sweetness, but eventually, around October 2011, the yeasts finally finished their work.
3/2012: at this early stage, the wine still has attractive post-fermentation characteristics, with an expressive nose, showing toasty aromas, almonds, wax and some smoke. The palate should feel sweeter, but the acidity plays its role in the harmony of the wine, so the finish is clean and doesn’t leave a sweet impression. This is a particularly well balanced Herrenweg!
Pinot-Gris Heimbourg 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 14.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 16.5 g/l; 4.7 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.4; Yields: 21 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2028+; Average age of the vines: 25 years; Terroir: marl-calcareous, facing west. Indice 2.
We chose to plant Pinot-Gris on the top part of the Heimbourg vineyard. There, the soil is much poorer and thinner and the effect of the active lime is stronger (pH of the soil 3 feet deep is around 9/9.5). It is also more windy and exposed to colder temperatures, which is actually interesting for this grape as it stops them to botrytise to early and also keeps better acids in the grapes. As the botrytis was slow to start and the grapes showed excellent phenolic ripeness, we decided to harvest them before sugar content would soar too much. In 2010, we were also concerned by the very small crop that would even be more reduced if harvested too late. The fermentation was excruciatingly slow and we wondered if this wine would ever stop fermenting! Finally, around October 2011, it was finished and we were surprised to see how far it went. The Heimbourg is still a relatively young vineyard, but year after year, it shows its potential to become one day a top vineyard in Turckheim.
3/2012: the Heimbourg vineyard is recognisable for its very aromatic, fruity style, often mixed with candied or dry fruits. In 2010, there is also a strong fermentation character on the nose: lots of nutty, vanilla, crème brulée aromas. These are purely the effect of long lees contact, there is no new oak! The palate is slightly round or gentle. The finish is long, quite aromatic and expressive. The small residual is well integrated and participates to the velvety touch.
Pinot-Gris Rotenberg 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 13.4° alc; Residual sweetness: 19g/l; 5.1 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.4, Yields: 24 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2013-2030+; Average age of vines: 29 years; Terroir: Oligocene calcareous. West to Northwest facing. Steep slope. Indice 2.
The Rotenberg is located on the west side of the Hengst Grand Cru and turns from a West to North-West exposure. This cooler, less sun exposed facing, doesn’t cause any problem. The quality of this little vineyard comes essentially from its fantastic red colored limestone, rich in iron but with a poor top soil and very rocky texture. Yields are always naturally very small, which suits the Pinot Gris perfectly. The altitude and facing are actually an advantage in today’s warmer vintages. As the sun appears late morning and stays late, it allows the grapes to ripen very slowly and keep a good acidity. This climate also allows noble rot development, but in 2010, because of the small crop, botrytis was slow to develop and the grapes were harvested very healthy. The fermentation was slightly faster and the wine kept a medium sweetness.
3/2012: this wine was bottled in September 2011 and it helps the wine to be more expressive today. The nose shows delicate toasty, nutty and white fruit aromas. The palate feels gentle and creamy with excellent acidity eventually bringing a very nice harmony. The finish is just off dry, thanks to the firm structure. It is a very elegant wine, quite easy to use with food.
Pinot-Gris Clos Windsbuhl 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 15.6° alc; Residual sweetness: 15 g/l; 4.2 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.5, Yields: 32 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2014-2035+; Average age of the vines: 41 years; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous, south/southeast facing. Medium slope. Indice 2.
The old vines of Pinot-Gris in the Clos Windsbuhl were planted by the previous owner in the 50’s and 60’s. In these days, the choice of root stock and massal selections were orientated towards quality and vines were planted in higher density. The Windsbuhl is located in a cooler part of Alsace and quite high in altitude (300 to 380m), which explains the late ripening character of this site, despite the solar facing and good slope. Like any late ripening vineyard, the Windsbuhl has the capacity to keep good acidity and also will allow the development of noble rot, mostly on the Pinot-Gris grape. In 2010, it was quite phenomenal and we were able to separate the noble on these vines. We finally produced this drier wine but also a richer Selection de Grains Noble. Despite the relative richness of this wine, the fermentation was powerful and we were glad when it stopped.
3/2012: the nose shows all the delicacy of this vineyard. There is a harmonious sensation between ripe fruity nose (noble rot influence) and strong minerals. The palate is intense, feels quite dry with a balanced finish. This wine also has the ability to hide its power (which is quite a common quality for a lot of 2010s). It only needs a few more years of ageing now!
Pinot-Gris Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 13.6° alc; Residual sweetness: 49 g/l; 4.8 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.6; Yields: 17 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2040+; Average age of the vines: 41 years; Terroir: Sedimentary volcanic rocks. South facing, steep slope. Indice 5.
Like many other vineyard in 2010, the Pinot-Gris grape developed some noble rot while the Riesling stayed very healthy. The Rangen is located in a late ripening climate, benefiting from an outstanding exposition to the sun (90% average steepness facing South). The combined effect of the river Thur, which brings humidity and solar reflection, and the rocky soil that catches the sun heat late in the season explain the quick development of noble rot in this vineyard, especially in the lower part, closer to the river. The Pinot-Gris started flowering slightly earlier than the Riesling and therefore coulure was more important. The 2010 fermented quite fast in just less than 3 months, but then settled for a balance with important residual sweetness.
3/2012: just like the Riesling, this wine develops huge Rangen aromatics: flint, smoke, minerals, almost peaty (!) with more classic ripe white fruits. The nose doesn’t allow the taster to guess the intensity of the palate. The mouth feel is dense, long lasting and full of mineral flavours. One wouldn’t call it powerful or heavy as the acidity of the vintage prevents any heavy character. The sweetness is well present and deserves, today, an indice 5, but some ageing will see the structure take over. I expect this wine to age a long time.
Gewurztraminer Gueberschwihr 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 14.2° alc; Residual sweetness: 6 g/l; 4.8 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.5; Yields: 49 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2025; Average age of vines: 27 years; Terroir: calcareous limestone/silicium; Indice 1.
We only have one little vineyard, not far from the Goldert GC, but on a totally different soil type (less calcareous and richer) planted in Gueberschwihr with Gewurztraminer. According to new ‘village’ wine regulations and because we are the only estate to claim the name of this village, we will not be permitted to continue this tradition. The combination of limestone and lighter sandstone elements allows this wine to express every year some interesting floral aromatics. It is also a late ripening area which is harvested usually at the same time as our Muscat Goldert, so we don’t allow too much over-ripeness in this wine. In 2010 the grapes were very healthy and the fermentation managed to go through, so the wine became quite dry.
3/2012: the nose is in the middle between a very floral expressive perfumed type and a more austere mineral spicy Gewurztraminer. The very slow fermentation helped this wine to gain more complex spicy character. There is a great zesty mouth-feel enhanced by a dry finish. This vineyard produced an interesting complex wine in 2010. The finish is elegant and will probably satisfy the non Gewurztraminer lovers!
Gewurztraminer Calcaire 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 14.6° alc; Residual sweetness: 13.4 g/l; 4.6 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.6; Yields: 18 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2013-2025+; Average age of vines: 27 years. Terroir: Oligocene calcareous, facing west, severe slope and Oolithic calcareous facing East. Gentle slope. Indice 2.
In 2010, the harvest of both our Gewurztraminer from the 30 years old vines from Hengst and the entire Goldert was so small following the bad flowering (and hail in Hengst) that we decided to blend the two together into this label. Both vineyards are located on calcareous soils and are capable of producing very interesting wines. The limestone effect is recognizable on the nose (less floral, rose/geranium scents) and on the palate (more acidity and spicy character). The 2010 Calcaire fermented over a year and eventually finished almost dry. The Calcaire label will be used in the future for the Gueberschwihr wines and any declassified limestone vineyard on the estate.
3/2012: the nose is already quite intense, showing complex floral aromas (old English roses) and lots of spices (nutmeg, saffron, cloves…). There is still a slight reductive fermentation character due to the long lees contact this wine had. The nose announces a wine that can be quite sweet, but the palate actually comes as a surprise because it feels drier than expected. Despite the rich structure, it is a wine that has a delicate and elegant mouth-feel. This wine will be excellent with medium spicy food dishes.
Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 12.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 69 g/l; 4.2 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.6; Yields: 32 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2025; Average age of the vines: 37 years; Terroir: gravely soil on valley floor; Indice 5
For once, being located in one the most precocious area of Alsace didn’t serve the gravelly Herrenweg vineyard. The flowering started early June and the vines were in the middle of flowering when the weather changed and became dramatically colder with some rain. The immediate effect, especially on the fragile Gewurztraminer, was a very bad fruit set and many flowers aborted and fell (coulure) or had no or just one pep provoking millerandage. The consequence was a reduced yield that made an extraordinary rich wine. Due to the richness, the fermentation stopped earlier and this wine kept a large amount residual sweetness. We are here very close to the Vendanges tardive style.
3/2012: there was mostly passerillage than botrytis, so the nose is very floral and expressive, showing intense exotic and rose aromas. The small yields prevent the flavours to be too simple and there is a nice overall typical varietal expression. Having stopped with a ‘lower’ alcohol’, the palate shows a nice delicacy and elegant sweetness. In keeping with the 2010 style, there is no extra weight in this wine. Of course, it is a typical ‘end of the meal’ wine, ideal with cheese or desserts.
Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim Vieilles Vignes 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 12.8° alc; Residual sweetness: 72 g/l; 4.0 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.6; Yields: 18 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2030+; Average age of the vines: 64 years; Terroir: gravely soil on valley floor; Indice 5.
Just like the regular Herrenweg vines, the very old vines suffered from a difficult flowering and the yields were even lower. Both wines have a similar analysis, and one could wonder why these two wines were not assembled together. The Herrenweg is a valley floor vineyard, on a poor gravely/sandy soil whose main default is a lower mineral content, because water can drain them quickly. To express some complexity and find a more regular nutrition, the roots have to penetrate deeper, but these soils are usually quite compact and it is actually very difficult for the roots to explore the soil deeper. Proper farming will allow to preserve the minerals and bring them back closer to the surface (allowing plants to grow through the year), but nothing will replace the effect of an older vineyard. The 2010 is a rich wine that kept a balance which is close to a late harvest style.
3/2012: the influence of the old vines shows on the nose and palate. There are much less floral expression here and more complex spicy ripe fruits aromas. The palate has a great structure. Of course, the mouth-feel is rich and dense, but with this typical Gewurztraminer richness. Here, there is some noble rot influence, as the wine also develops some ‘roti’ character (phenolic) and chocolate aromas.
Gewurztraminer Heimbourg 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 15.7° alc; Residual sweetness: 21g/l; 3.8 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.8; Yields: 22 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2014-2028+; Average age of vines: planted in 1983; Terroir: Oligocene calcareous, facing west, steep slope. Indice 2.
Having planted the Gewurztraminer on the cooler west side of the Heimbourg calcareous hillside, we knew we took a certain risk to see some years the flowering being affected by colder winds. This is what happened in 2010 and it explains the very small crop. Nevertheless, being forced to ripen slower has many merits. Gewurztraminer grape variety develops strong terpenic aromatics (floral aromas) that can be considered as vulgar if overpowering and also quite volatile as they don't last in the wine. Forcing this grape to take its time means that the resulting wines are more complex, less floral but spicier, and also more stable in time. The Heimbourg 2010 was harvested quite healthy, so the grapes reached a high ripeness from natural physiology and low yields. The fermentation lasted over a year and went quite far, producing a powerful wine.
3/2012: the nose is typical of limestone: lots of spices, bacon, smoke and minerals. This is quite an austere Heimbourg, but quite intriguing and complex. The palate shows great structure and density. This is a compact wine, hiding to perfection its rich composition. The firm but harmonious palate makes this wine a very good food companion. Of course, the power has to be matched with spiciness and flavour intensity as well! It will also probably need some time to completely open up.
Gewurztraminer Hengst 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alc: 14.35° alc; Residual sweetness: 37 g/l; 4.5 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.6; Yields: 16 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2040+; Average age of the vines: 59 years; Terroir: Marl-Oligocene calcareous. South-south-east facing, medium to steep slope. Indice 3.
The Hengst Grand Cru enjoys an old reputation for being the place to grow Gewurztraminer. The combination of a high lime content calcareous soil, some marl, a warm and dry setting, but not too precocious, provide the best conditions possible for this difficult grape variety. It was very saddening to see these old vines being hailed early July and in consequence, loose about half the crop. Perhaps the very small crop also allowed producing this wine? Who knows, but the result was a beautiful crop of dense, bright orange coloured grapes (modern clones are dark pink/red but less interesting). Interestingly, this wine fermented in two times, only finishing at the end of the 2011 harvest with a medium off dry sweetness.
3/2012: the nose is extremely complex and associate some faint residual floral aromas, more exotic fruits like litchi/mango and lots of spicy, bacon, toasted flavours. It is at the same time discreet and intense, and far from the dull perfumed Gewurztraminers. The palate is concentrated, shows great acidity balance and the residual sweetness is more than welcome to create a harmonious finish. This vineyard is capable to make wines that hide their richness very well and make Gewurztraminer a complex grape.
Gewurztraminer Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 14.8° alc; Residual sweetness: 37 g/l; 4.9 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.6; Yields: 28 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2040+; Average age of the vines: 31 years; Terroir: Sedimentary volcanic rocks. South facing, steep slope; Indice 3.
We now have two little vineyards planted with Gewurztraminer in the Rangen vineyard. Both, quite closed to each other, are located directly above the river Thur that runs only a few yards from the first vines. This river plays an important role in the development of noble rot and is a source of heat. The volcanic soil of the Rangen has a powerful influence on the Gewurztraminer grape, as it is capable to diminish the varietal character of the wine and also the aromatic impact of the noble rot. The 2010 was harvest with a fair amount of noble, but it doesn’t really show on the wine, except perhaps on the increase of acidity due to the rot concentration effect. The fermentation was over in 4 months and the wine has a classic balance.
3/2012: the nose is incredibly marked by the vineyard strong character. There is lots of smoke, flint and strong lees character. This wine has yet to open up. The palate is powerful, intense and very long. The good acid balance brings some elements of freshness and helps to hide the alcohol and tannins. More Rangen than Gewurztraminer, this wine will go through time very slowly.
Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 13.3° alc; Residual sweetness: 60g/l; 4.4 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.6; Yields: 17 hl/ha; Optimum drinking: 2014-2040+; Average age: 40 years; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous, southeast facing. Medium slope. Indice 5.
The Clos Windsbuhl is a historical Clos located at the top of the village of Hunawihr on an old calcareous rocky soil from the Jurassic period. First mention in history dates back to 1324 when the Windsbuhl becomes property of the Habsbourg of Austria. At this time it was also a hunting lodge! This Clos enjoys a late ripening climate that produces elegant and racy wines. Gewurztraminer was probably a real challenge at the time of plantation (60’s and 70’s) but the light rocky soil of the Windsbuhl is capable to do wonder. The flowering started just at the end of the cold period in 2010, but the yields were still extremely low. Like most recent vintages of Clos Windsbuhl, the grapes were harvested at a high level of ripeness, good acidity and the fermentation stopped with a lot of residual sugar.
3/2012: there are already lots of fruity and exotic aromas at first, but then quickly, as the wine is opening up, more complex spicy flavours develop on the nose. There is a sense of richness and sweetness on the nose, probably enhanced by the presence of crystallised fruit aromas. The palate is unctuous and round, really close to a late harvest in style. The important sweetness is well into balance and the finish leaves a nice impression of harmony. Falsely ready today, this wine will need lots of extra ageing time.
Riesling Brand Vieilles Vignes Vendange Tardive 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 3/2012; Alcohol: 14° alc; Residual sweetness: 58 g/l; 7.0 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.1; Yields: 17 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2050+; Average age of vines: 60 years; Terroir: Biotite granite, facing south. Steep slope. Indice 4.
The Brand VT originates mostly from the Schnekelsbourg section, which is located on the East side of Brand. The soil looks exactly the same, with poor granite sand on the surface, but deeper, only reachable by old vines, there is a layer of marl and calcareous deposit. The Brand/Schnekelsbourg is right above the Clos Jebsal… This little detail explains why the Riesling coming from this area is often slightly more powerful and develops more noble rot. This part of Brand also has the capacity to retain strong acidities which is an important element for late harvest wines. The fermentation was very slow, in two times, but eventually went further than we had initially thought. The final balance is quite unusual as the residual sweetness is not that high and the acidity is spectacular.
3/2012: the nose expresses strong minerality, wet stones and delicate white flowers aromas. The noble rot is almost impossible to detect such is the nose pure and elegant. The palate is firm, extremely tightly structured by a racy acidity. The residual sweetness is so well hidden that I am tempted to give an indice 4 rating to this wine. This wine is not meant for those looking for the highest sweetness but for those looking for a wine with outstanding ageing potential.
Pinot-Gris Vieilles Vignes Vendange Tardive 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 12° alc; Residual sweetness: 93 g/l; 5.5 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.3 Yields: 17 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2012-2030+; Average age of the vines: 65 years; Terroir: gravely soil on valley floor.
These old vines were planted by my grand-father Zind in the Herrenweg area. It is a very important vineyard because he chose an exceptional massal selection. Most modern Pinot Gris clones are very fertile and will grow at least three large clusters per shoot, making it difficult to control yields. Just like Pinot noir, its cousin, Pinot Gris’s quality will drop quickly as yields increase and it will also become more prone to rot. Today, we select these vines for our current young Pinot Gris plantations. In 2010, the crop was so small that the richness soared very rapidly in September. When noble started to develop, it was clear that we had to leave these grapes go all the way up to Vendange Tardive ripeness. The fermentation was quite fast and the wine found its ideal balance with a large amount of residual sugar.
3/2012: the nose shows clear evidence of noble rot: unctuous white fruits, some exotic flavours but mostly bee wax and honey dominate. The palate feels extremely rich and round at first, but the acidity quickly takes over and brings a wonderful firm finish. It is always a wonder to see how natural fermentations can stop at the exact ideal sugar/alcohol balance.
Pinot-Gris Clos Jebsal Vendange Tardive 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date 9/2011; Alcohol: 13.3° alc; Residual sweetness: 72 g/l; 4.7 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.5; Yields: 33 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2040+; Vineyard planted in 1983; Terroir: Grey marls and gypsum. South facing, very steep slope.
People walking from Brand to Heimbourg, via the Clos Jebsal, can see very easily the soil change between these three vineyards and how quickly this occurs as one crosses a rural road. Fault lines run North to South but also East to West in Alsace. The Jebsal is delimited by two of them, only distant of 150 yards, which makes the Jebsal a very small single vineyard of about 3 acres. Facing full South, on terraces on a steep hillside, the rich marl/gypsum soil contains enough humidity to allow the development of noble rot each vintage. The Clos Jebsal produced VTs and/or SGN every single vintage since 1989. Only 1987 and 1988, the two first years of production, weren’t late harvest wines! In 2010 we produced, from 2 selections, this VT and a very rich SGN. The VT fermented to a classic balance alcohol/sugar.
3/2012: the Jebsal is never the earliest of the Pinot-Gris to express its potential. It has a classic nose with lots of minerals and light toasty aromas. It is very easy to think that this would be a dry wine on the nose. The palate shows classic structure, at least the kind of structure we are looking for in late harvest wines: great acidity, palatable but refrained sweetness, and long aftertaste. Just like the nose, the palate is still to open, but this is expected in a wine that should perhaps reach apogee only in many years.
Gewurztraminer Vieilles Vignes Vendange Tardive 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2011; Alcohol: 10.7° alc; Residual sweetness: 131 g/l; 4.2 g/l H2SO4, pH: 3.7; Yields: 14 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2014-2035+; Average age of the vines: 65 years; Terroir: gravely soil on valley floor.
This wine is made from grapes originating from the Wintzenheim old vines and some of the Herrenweg old vines. In both areas, the crop was very small. Both vineyards also have very similar soil type (gravelly alluvial soils) and were harvested the same day. Assembling these two wines allowed us to produce a decent volume. The noble rot had spread a lot over most clusters and it was not a surprise to see that this Vendange Tardive is in fact very close to a Sélection de Grains Nobles in style, ripeness and yields. T wasn’t possible to make any selection at harvest as the crop was already very small! The fermentation was slow and stopped early, keeping a large amount of residual sweetness.
3/2012: the nose is very expressive and aromatic, showing strong ripe exotic fruits and noble rot character (chocolate, roasted aromas, honey). Usually these vineyards do not produce very mineral style wines, but here, concentration and old vines helping, this wine shows a very interesting complex saline finish. The sweetness takes over the palate in a gentle way because the alcohol is quite low and the sensation of acidity leaves a fresh touch. Stilton, Roquefort or a light fruit pie please!
Pinot-Gris Clos Windsbuhl Sélection de Grains Nobles 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 9/2012; Alcohol: ?° alc; Residual sweetness: ? g/l; (potential alcohol: 172° Oechslés or 23° potential alc); ? g/l H2SO4, pH: ?; Yields: 9 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2020-2050+; Average age of the vines: 43 years; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous, south/southeast facing. Medium slope.
The old vines of Pinot-Gris Clos Windsbuhl allowed an important noble rot development in 2010. The acidities were very high and the noble rot was of exceptional quality, so we decided to proceed to a selection during the harvest. The richest part produced this wine. The concentration of the grapes is astonishing, not in sugar content, but acidity and minerals. The light rocky calcareous soils of the Windsbuhl often produce rich wines that have an interesting acidity balance, but never like this wine. The fermentation was relatively fast for an SGN (6 months) but it will take much more time for this wine to be ready.
3/2012: this wine will be bottled in September 2012 and today we do not yet have the final analysis. Tasting it today shows that the wine is constructed around its high acidity and residual sweetness. Most probably the fermentation stopped around 6 to 7% alcohol. The nose is still closed, only allowing fermentation aromas (yeast, apples, maple syrup and vanilla honey). The palate is tight, very firm. The acidity totally controls the mouth. There is no doubt that this wine will age decades.
Pinot-Gris Clos Jebsal Sélection de Grains Nobles Trie Spéciale 2010 - Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date? /? Alcohol: under ?° alc; Residual sweetness: ? g/l (potential alcohol: 198° Oechslés or 29.5° potential alc); ? g/l H2SO4, pH: ?; Yields: 8 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: ?/?; Average age of the vines: 27 years; Terroir: Grey marls and gypsum. South facing, very steep slope.
The Jebsal is a very small vineyard (1.3ha) located in the warmest and most protected vineyard area in Turckheim. It enjoys a precocious climate which is in contradiction with the cold, deep rich marl and gypsum soil. This contrast probably provokes important noble rot development every single year. The gypsum marl soil also allows the grapes to keep good acidity balance and provides interesting minerals. When the weather forecast is favourable and, of course, the structure of the grapes is good (high acidity), we can decide to to select the noble rot affected grapes more severely. The result is a wine that reaches very high levels of concentration. When it is above 30% potential (or above 200° Oechslés), we just call them ‘Trie Spéciale’. Osmotic pressure must be severe with the yeasts at that level of ripeness. They struggle to ferment and have a short life, so the fermentation stops early (4 to 6% alcohol), keeping a lot of residual sweetness in the wine. These wines are not meant for early drinking but one must see them as ‘liquid gold’ capable to age centuries.
3/2012: at the moment of writing, this wine is still fermenting! Most probably it will stop soon, at around 5% alcohol. The nose is still like fresh juice: very fruity and honeyed. The palate has the viscosity of olive oil, but surprisingly, the sweetness feels very well integrated, thanks to a very high acidity. This is still a work in progress that we need to leave quiet in the cellar for a few more years.