Zind-Humbrecht 2002 - Vintage notes

The 2002 Vintage at Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
(text from Olivier Humbrecht)

2002 started like a very normal vintage after what we call a ‘real winter’ with its share of snow and cold weather. Then the rain started, and basically, didn’t stop until the end of August. At the opposite of much more rain-affected areas in France, Alsace didn’t suffer too much from this. The consequences were more practical for the winegrowers who had to cultivate their soils and fight organically against mildew. Surprisingly, the flowering was absolutely normal, even early, completing during the first 10 days of June. July temperatures were favourable and the vines grew rapidly, a well as grass and weeds! From August to early September, the weather was in general cold and wet, even if there were some good days to allow the grapes to ripen properly, the average cooler temperature certainly explain the level of acidity in the grapes in 2002. From middle of September to the harvest, the weather changed completely with the help of dry north winds, the good weather really gave hope to all the producers in Alsace.

The style of the 2002’s is very interesting. Never before have I seen grapes with such high ripeness and acidity combined together. The lengthy ripening season allowed the grapes to be perfectly physiologically ripe. Starting the harvest too early would have been a mistake, but clearly, given reasonable viticulture, the grapes were perfectly ripe in October. Letting the natural vegetation grow on the soils also helped avoid dilution in the grapes. All vineyards stayed very healthy until the end of September, but with warmer weather in October, the botrytis developed quite quickly and intensely, allowing the production of very concentrated late harvest wines.

On the Domaine, we started the harvest October 1st for 10 days. Then again 2 days in the middle of October and we finished with the Rangen vineyard and Clos Jebsal at the end of October under exceptional warm and dry weather. The style of 2002 is real powerful wines, so elegantly balanced with a crisp acidity. This vintage, more than any other one, will benefit from lying down a few years. The crop on the Domaine was very small: 33.7 hl/ha for the Alsace appellation and 21.3 hl/ha for the grands crus wines. As a consequence to the high ripeness and acidity, a lot of wines fermented extremely slowly, and will be bottled only 18 months or 2 years after harvest. As usual, no wines were chaptalized, and all our vineyards were cultivated in bio-dynamie.

A quick look at all the vintages since 1997 would reveal that there is a constant progression in the acidity levels of the wines. 1997 being at the bottom end, and 2002 at the top. Often very high acidity is synonymous to un-ripeness, but this isn’t the case in 2002.  There isn’t one grape variety that wasn’t successful in this vintage, but in style, the wines are generally sweeter than the previous vintage.

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: totally dry (<2 to 6g/l RS),
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.

Zind 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: Feb 2004; Alcohol: 13.5 ° alc; Residual sweetness:11.6 g/l; Yields: 50 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2005-2010 ; Average age of the vines : 21 years; Surface : 4 ha; Indice 2
Made from the usual three grapes varieties: pinot auxerrois (50%, from Clos Windsbuhl, Herrenweg & Rotenberg), 15% pinot blanc (Herrenweg) and 35% chardonnay (Clos Windsbuhl). In 2002, even the Herrenweg vineyard had great acidity and all three grapes showed consistent equal ripeness. The maturation was slow but constant and long, finishing at ripeness slightly higher than usual for this wine. Very long fermentation until October 2003.
The 2002 shows powerful exotic/fruity aromas on the nose, rich, unctuous but well delineated mouth, thanks to its good acidity. It appears even more aromatic than the 2001 and also shows more weight on the palate. (1/2004)

Muscat Herrenweg de Turckheim 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003,Alcohol: 13.2° alc, Residual sweetness: 4 g/l; Yields: 60 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2004-2008; Average age of the vines :  47 years; Surface :  0.36 ha; Terroir : Gravely/silt;30% Muscat d’Alsace, 70% Ottonel. Indice 1.
The Herrenweg vineyard is located on a gravely soil in a very precocious and dry climate. 2002 was more rainy than usual, but the well-drained soils of this vineyard actually do prefer slight excess in water than a stress due to insufficient water. The climate in 2002 was perfect for the Muscat, allowing it to ripen fully, keeping a very good acidity, which is rare. The grapes were harvested very healthy.
The fermentation was over in a month, producing a dry wine. The nose shows intense grapey/floral aromas, which is almost in contradiction to the rich/dry mouth. Like most 2002s, the acidity is combined to the natural high dry extracts of this vintage. This wine should really open up in the next 12 months and be really delicious in a couple of years. (1/2004).
 
Muscat Grand Cru Goldert 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol: 12.4 ° alc; Residual sweetness: 3 g/l; Yields: 56 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2004-2017; Average age of the vines : 24 years; Surface : 0.23 ha; Terroir : Oolithic calcareous, facing East, gentle slope.;80%Muscat d’Alsace, 20% Ottonel. Indice 1
The Goldert vineyard is located in a slightly cooler area. The rich calcareous soil increases the maturation difference with the Herrenweg vineyard. In 2002, the Goldert took much longer to ripen and eventually didn’t reach the potential achieved in the Herrenweg. The longer ripening period associated with a fantastic acidity helped to produce an ultra tight and compact wine. Here also the grapes were harvested very healthy. We are used to see this vineyard ferment very slowly, so we were quite astonished when we realized that it took only a few weeks to finish fully dry.
While still in cask, it was an unusual Goldert: very aromatic and fruity, with a very tight dry palate. Since the bottling, the wine is slowly closing and revealing more and more minerality. The mouth shows all the character of this vintage: high dry extract, tight acidity and strong minerality. This is certainly a Goldert that will age beautifully. (1/2004)

Riesling 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol: 13.4° alc; Residual sweetness: 11 g/l; Yields: 55 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period :  2004-2012; Average age of the vines : 6 years; Surface : 0.2 ha; Terroir : gravely/silt on valley floor; Indice 2
 The age of the vines and the crop size (first pruning with 2 canes) made us declassify this wine into a varietal wine without any indication of origin beside Alsace. The grapes were healthy and harvested a good maturity, despite the fact that it was the first vineyard to be harvested. We didn’t want to take the risk to see botrytis developing on this vineyard.
Pale yellow green colour. The nose develops grapefruit zests aromas, without the usual bitterness associated with these kind of flavours. The palate is clean, medium lightweight and finishes dry, without bitterness or acidity, showing classic Riesling varietal characteristic. This wine is ready now and will not improve after 2-3 years in bottle. (1/2004)

Riesling Gueberschwihr 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling: feb 2004;Alcohol:13.3° alc; Residual sweetness:7.5 g/l; Yields: 44 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period 2004-2015; Average age of  vines : 28 years; Surface : 1.17 ha; Terroir : Limestone/calcareous/silicium, facing East and South. Gentle slope.; Indice 2
The 1.17ha of Riesling are in fact divided in 8 different small locations, all located around the village of Gueberschwihr and on a similar calcareous/clay soil. Only the exposition changes: half is facing East, the other half is facing South. It is a relatively rich soil, which often needs the competition of natural cover crops to reduce the vigour of the vines, especially in a vintage like 2002. The grapes stayed very healthy, keeping lots of purity in the wine. The fermentation lasted a long time.
The wine, at first very closed, developed rich and intense flower/fresh fruits flavours through 2003. The nose is very aromatic, in the same way as the 2001 vintage, which is surprising for a vineyard that usually produces more austere wines. Perhaps it is an evolution related to the age of the vines. The palate is firm, with a strong ripe acidity, but no in excess. Again, the aromatic quality dominates on the palate, giving a rich sensation to the wine. (1/2004)

Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date: 2/2004:Alcohol:13.6° alc; Residual sweetness: 14 g/l; Yields: 44 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2004-2014;Average age of the vines :  27 years; Surface : 3.2 ha ; Terroir : gravely soil/silt ; Indice 2
The Herrenweg vineyard had the perfect soil for the wines of  the 2002 vintage. The permeable and warm gravely soils allowed the grapes to ripen evenly without loosing any acidity and structure in the wine. There was only traces of botrytis, but the final ripeness was high. If the vines grew well, so did also weeds and parasites. 2002 was also a very difficult year with much more work in the vineyards. Surprisingly, it is the second longest fermentation, being racked only end of December 2003. (The longest being the Clos Jebsal SGN).
There is still, at the time of writing, strong lees character in this wine (it spent 14 months fermenting!), but the classic fruitiness of the Herrenweg is starting to show. Rich  palate, almost smoky, that feels almost fully dry on the finish. (1/2004)

Riesling Clos Häuserer 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling :2/2004; Alcohol: 13.3° alc; Residual sweetness: 10 g/l; Yields: 31 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2007-2022+; Average age of  vines : 29 years; Surface : 1.2 ha; Terroir : Calcareous Marl from the Oligocen period. Very gentle slope.; Indice 2
This little vineyard is located on the bottom of the Hengst vineyard. The soil is made of marl deposits, relatively thick (3 to 4 feet deep) on top of calcareous rocks. Often the Clos Häuserer shares the highest acidity level in our cellar with the Clos Windsbuhl, but in 2002, the Clos Häuserer is the winner by far. Marl warms up very slowly, especially in years when rainfalls are more numerous, keeping more acidity in the grapes. Thanks to the small crop, there was no rot at all in this vineyard and it helped achieve a good ripeness. The fermentation was slow but consistent.
This wine was for a long time one of the toughest style to taste in the cellar. Usually such long fermentation always include a secondary malo-lactic fermentation. With no explanation I could possibly give, beside its strong acidity and low pH, this wine didn’t  go through second fermentation. The result is a wine that shows vibrant minerality on the nose, almost earthy –wet stones character. The palate is dry and crisp, with a long finish. The acidity is well balanced with a rich structure that should give this wine an incredible ageing potential.

Riesling Clos Windsbuhl 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 2/2004; Alcohol: 13.2° alc; Residual sweetness: 22.2 g/l; Yields: 45 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2006-2017+; Average age of the vines : 29 years; Surface : 0.9 ha; Terroir : Muschelkalk calcareous (Jurassic), facing southeast, medium/steep slope. Indice3
The riesling is located on the top part of the calcareous Clos Windsbuhl in Hunawihr, where the soil is the thinnest with more apparent rocks. The slightly cooler climate in this vineyard obliges us to wait slightly longer to harvest those grapes. In 2002, the ripeness came as a surprise to us, because the grapes were perfectly healthy and one couldn’t say that September was warm ! Like all the riesling, the fermentation was also very slow (almost 12 months).
The riesling Clos Windsbuhl is showing incredible aromatics at this early stage. Usually very mineral, the strong fruity/floral character dominates this wine. Considering the ripeness level and high acidity, it would have been almost impossible to see the fermentation finish to the end. The balance is slightly round today, but backed-up with a nice firm acidity. I expect this wine to be drier and drier in the ageing. (1/2004)

Riesling Heimbourg 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling : 2/2004 ; Alcohol: 13.7 ° alc; Residual sweetness:18.2g/l; Yields: 33 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period :2005-2017; Average age of the vines : 8 years; Surface : 1.06 ha; Terroir : Oligocen calcareous, facing south, southwest,  steep slope. Indice 4
This vineyard is mystery to us. Located just across a road from the Clos Jebsal and being on a rich marl limestone soil, we should see big noble rot development in this vineyard, especially in a year when there was plenty of humidity and warmth, and it wasn’t the case at all ! Certainly, the strong slope (over 50%) and the good drainage of the calcareous mother rock must help to evacuate the water in the soil, creating difficult condition for the botrytis development. This vineyard is also partly facing the valley of Munster, enjoying constant and regular winds, also helping to keep good healthy grapes.
Also harvested at very high level of ripeness, it kept noticeable sweetness after a long fermentation. Again, like all 2002 riesling, it is nicely balanced with a crisp firm acidity. The flavours are very fruity today, still perhaps dominated by strong lees extraction. The palate is unctuous, very enjoyable as a young wine and expressive, giving already lots of pleasure to the tasters. This is also a wine with a great ageing potential. (1/2004)

Riesling Grand Cru Brand 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 2/2004; Alcohol:13.82 ° alc; Residual sweetness:28g/l; Yields: 26 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period :2005-2020+; Average age of the vines : 52 years; Surface :  1.6 ha; Terroir : Biotite granite, facing south. Strong slope. Indice 4
The Brand Grand Cru is a large Grand Cru in Alsace, covering a characteristic granitic soil, called granite biotite, meaning very rich in black and white mica. The black mica is the interesting one, not necessarily present in all the granitic soils. It produces small quantities of high surface clay (very interesting to fixate the minerals in the soil) under the action of organic life in the soil. Not all the sections in the Brand have this black mica, but through the years, we manages to own parcels in the Brand, Steinglitz and Schneckelsbourg part of the Brand, rich in this black mica. In 2002, the ripeness was very high. The grapes developed botrytis in October, resulting in late harvest maturity. The fermentation almost went to a stop in winter, and surprisingly (rare at this maturity level) started again in spring to ferment a lot of the residual sweetness. This wine should have been a classic VT, but after the long fermentation, we decided not to call it VT. The yields were very small, and for the first time since 1994, we didn’t produce a Turckheim riesling.
The nose is very expressive, with fruity aromas, very typical of a young Brand riesling. Tremendous weight and length on the palate. The sweetness is clearly noticeable, but just like the Heimbourg, and also with the help of a higher alcohol level, the finish is harmonious and this wine should taste drier and drier. (1/2004)

Riesling Grand Cru Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 2/2004; Alcohol:14.76 ° alc; Residual sweetness:25 g/l; Yields: 14.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period :2006-2020+ ;Average age of the vines : 40 years; Surface : 2.1 ha; Terroir : Sedimentary volcanic rocks, facing south, very steep slope.Indice 3
The Rangen Grand Cru is located at the south end of the wine road in Alsace, enjoying a slightly cooler climate despite its steep south facing topography (altitude is higher at 400m) but also a very unique volcanic soil. In 2002, the yields were exceptionally low (similar to 1993). This is something that we see often in the pinot gris grape, but not on the riesling. At the opposite of the Brand, there was very little botrytis, but the high ripeness made us also think that this wine will become a VT. The fermentation was constant and basically didn’t stop until the wine reached a very high alcohol level for riesling. (the only similar in style we made in the past is the Brand 1998).
The Rangen 2002 has a intense smoky-earthy nose, very typical of Rangen, but also shows lots of very ripe fruits. The palate is unctuous, rich, and powerful. The aromas are dominated with earthy, dry herbs character. The powerful mouth hides the residual sweetness very well. It clearly still shows some roundness, but in great harmony. (1/2004)
 
Pinot Gris Herrenweg de Turckheim 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  16.4° alc; Residual sweetness: 6 g/l; Yields: 49 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2005-2014; Average age of the vines : 11 years; Surface : 1 ha; Terroir : gravely soil on valley floor. Indice 1
The Herrenweg vineyard developed a lot of noble rot in 2002. The good drainage of the gravely soil and the constant winds blowing from the valley during the night stop the botrytis development in a normal year (like 2001), but in 2002, the humidity and warmth were stronger. The ripeness was very high, and I really expected this wine to finish very sweet, especially with its record-breaking acidity level ! I was amazed to see how far the yeasts were able to ferment this wine, in a relatively short time by our standards (2 months).
The nose is quite mineral, with typical toasted bread aromas. The mouth is ultra powerful, but the alcohol level is in fact very well balanced by this unusual acidity. The finish is very dry. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Vieilles Vignes 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  14.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 26 g/l; Yields: 28 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2005-2017; Average age of the vines : 57 years; Surface : 0.5 ha; Terroir : gravely soil on valley floor. Indice 3
Those old vines are in fact located in similar gravely soil than the Herrenweg, partly in Turckheim and partly in Wintzenheim. These older vines often yield only half the Herrenweg crop size, and also develop much less botrytis, giving more delicacy to this wine. It is quite rare to find old pinot gris vines in Alsace. We do use the cuttings from this vineyard to plant our young vineyards.
The nose is very elegant, less brutal than the Herrenweg, showing exotic/honey aromas. The palate is unctuous, round, with noticeable sweetness, almost needed to balance the acidity and the rich dry extract of this wine. Unusual in this vineyard, the finish shows some good minerality. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Heimbourg 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 2/2004; Alcohol:14° alc; Residual sweetness:26g/l; Yields: 33 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2004-2012; Average age of the vines : 17 years; Surface : 1.61 ha; Terroir : Oligocen calcareous, facing west, northwest, strong slope. Indice 2
The pinot gris is planted at the top of the Heimbourg vineyard, enjoying a much poorer and slightly cooler climate than the other parts of this single vineyard. The soil is thinner, with more rocks, forcing the vines to produce smaller yields. In 2002, the pinot gris was exceptionally ripe quite early. We decided to a selection of healthy grapes, in order to achieve a ‘normal’ ripeness. The noble rot affected clusters produced a vendange tardive wine.
This wine shows ripe pear/fruity and vanilla aromas (there is no new oak vinification). The fermentation was very slow but this wine eventually reached a harmonious balance, revealing little residual sweetness on the palate. It is a very elegant Heimbourg with a crisp acidity. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Rotenberg 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 2/2004; Alcohol:13.2° alc; Residual sweetness:37g/l; Yields: 29 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period :2004-2012; Average age of vines : 21 years; Surface : 1.21 ha; Terroir : Oligocen calcareous. West to Northwest facing. Strong slope. Indice 2
The Rotenberg is located on the west to north side of the Hengst hillside. The climate is much cooler and as a result, the maturation is always longer. We often harvest the Rotenberg 10 to 15 days after the Herrenweg vineyard. The great soil, a thin calcareous rock, very rich in iron (therefore the dark red colour), contributes to produce wines with great acidity and structure but also with specific aromas. In 2002, we decided to harvest separately the healthy grapes (which produced this wine), and the noble rot affected ones.
The absence of botrytis in this wine explains the ultra aromatic exotic fruit flavours, showing white fruits, apricots…aromas. The fermentation was very slow, but the yeasts were not capable to finish the wine fully dry. Residual sweetness is perhaps a little more noticeable than in the Heimbourg, but the acidity and extract balances this elegant wine. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  15.1° alc; Residual sweetness: 14 g/l; Yields: 45 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2005-2017+; Average age of the vines : 25 years; Surface : 3 ha; Terroir : Muschelkalk calcareous, south to southeast facing. Medium slope. Indice 2
The Clos Windsbuhl is located in a cooler part of Alsace, on a rocky muschelkalk soil (calcareous soil), capable of producing wines with tremendous finesse and intense aromas. Just like 2001, the Clos Windsbuhl pinot gris developed lots of noble rot. Unlike 2001, we decided to select in priority the healthy clusters (which produced this wine), and harvested the botrytis-affected clusters later in order to produce a Vendange Tardive. This wine was able to ferment in 2 months, which is a short time in this vintage.
At the opposite of the two previous wines, the Clos Windsbuhl shows strong mineral character on the nose and needs crucially to be decanted before serving at this young age. The absence of noble rot and good acidity give a powerful structure to this wine, the little residual sweetness and high alcohol makes the finish taste quite dry and mineral. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Grand Cru Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  15° alc; Residual sweetness: 38 g/l; Yields: 23.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2005-2022+; Average age of the vines : 33 years; Surface : 2.91 ha; Terroir : Sedimentary volcanic rocks. South facing, very steep slope. Indice 4
Just like the Riesling, the yields were very small in the Rangen pinot gris. It is also much easier for the botrytis to develop on the thinner skins of pinot gris, compared to the Riesling, but it wasn’t really enough intense to be worth selecting and separating. We much preferred to keep all the parts of the Rangen together. In 2002, the fermentation was powerful, despite the high acidity, and relatively short by our standards (2.5 months).
The nose is very characteristic of the Rangen in Thann. The volcanic soil gives strong flinty, smoky (almost peaty!) aromas to the wine. The powerful structure, identical to the 2000 vintage, but with more acidity, hides a lot the residual sweetness. The finish is very long and shows some noble bitterness. This is a wine with a great ageing potential. (1/2004)

Gewurztraminer Turckheim 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  15.2° alc; Residual sweetness: 22 g/l; Yields: 37 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2005-2017; Average age of the vines : 21 years; Surface : 1.8 ha; Terroir : Gravely/silt soil on valley floor; Indice 3
All the grapes that make the gewürztraminer Turckheim come from the Herrenweg vineyard. We do actually only keep the older vines for the Herrenweg bottling (above 30 years old). The soil is made of light gravels, which enhance the varietal aromas of the gewürztraminer. In 2002, this vineyard was capable of producing exceptional ripeness and incredible high acidity levels. Fermentations were also very steady, often finishing with high, but harmonious, alcohol levels.
The nose is very open, showing intense rose/geranium aromas as well as some spicy notes. The palate is powerful, very well balanced with great acidity. This is classic gewürztraminer ! (1/2004)

Gewurztraminer Wintzenheim 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  15.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 19 g/l; Yields: 39 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2007-2017; Average age of the vines : 45 years; Surface : 1.7 ha; Terroir : gravely soil and calcareous marls; Indice 2
The gewürztraminer Wintzenheim is a blend made from younger vines from the Hengst vineyards (planted 1978 and 1985) and a very old vineyard located in Wintzenheim, on a gravely soil similar to the Herrenweg. The presence of some calcareous soil in the blend gives a much firmer, more spicy and often drier character to the wine. In 2002, this gewürztraminer also fermented steadily to a powerful balance, despite the presence of some noble rot.
The nose is very spicy, the rose aromas are less intense but perhaps more subtle than the Turckheim. The analysis shows almost the same figures than the previous wine, but the palate tastes actually slightly drier, with the help also of noticeable tannins. Again, very high acidity and intense finish. (1/2004)

Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  15.3° alc; Residual sweetness: 34 g/l; Yields: 29 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2005-2022; Average age of the vines : 49 years; Surface : 4 ha; Terroir : gravely soil on valley floor; Indice 4
This wine is made from the older vines located in the Herrenweg vineyard. There was some significant noble rot development in 2002, which explains the greater richness of this wine, especially when compared to the Turckheim. The climate in this vintage was just perfect for this grape variety in this location, allowing the vines to grow and ripen the grapes very evenly. It is perhaps the reason why this wine has the highest acidity in gewürztraminer in this vintage (harvested quite early).
The nose is intense rose perfume, mixed with spicy, toasted flavours. Very long palate. The acidity balances the wine perfectly, removing any feeling of heaviness. Rich gewürztraminer, in the league of the 1997 and 2000. (1/2004)

Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  16.1° alc; Residual sweetness: 19 g/l; Yields: 29 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2007-2022+; Average age of the vines : 39 years; Surface : 0.3 ha; Terroir : Sedimentary volcanic rocks. South facing, very steep slope; Indice 2
The gewürztraminer is located right above the river Thur, that runs on the bottom of the vineyard, just a few feet away. The influence of the stream is considerable on the development of the noble rot. Amazingly, in  2002, the botrytis wasn’t able to develop on the gewürztraminer, which stayed very healthy at an amazing high ripeness and despite a very late harvest end of October. The fermentation was very quick to achieve a high alcohol level.
The nose is smoky, spicy, peppery, and very intense. The vineyard character dominates the wine, giving no chance to the varietal flavours. The palate is powerful, almost dry with strong under-wood, peaty scents and serious tannins for a white wine. (1/2004)
 
Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  14.4° alc; Residual sweetness: 34 g/l; Yields: 35 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2007-2017+; Average age : 32 years; Surface : 0.9 ha; Terroir : : Muschelkalk calcareous, south to southeast facing. Medium slope. Indice 4
The Clos Windsbuhl is located on the top left part of the village Hunawihr, bordering the small road that goes towards Riquewihr. The soil and climate being less warm than most calcareous vineyards around Turckheim or Wintzenheim, the wines are often more delicate, with more acidity and exotic aromas. In 2002, the botrytis was enough important to change slightly the style of the wine, but not sufficient to allow us to produce a vendange tardive.
The nose is delicately divided between minerals, spices and rose/litchi aromas. The palate is generous but also well balanced with the typical 2002 freshness. The slightly slower fermentation in this wine kept more residual sweetness apparent on the palate. Like the pinot gris, this wines needs to be opened some time before serving. Round and elegant finish. (1/2004)

Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Hengst 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  15° alc; Residual sweetness: 41 g/l; Yields: 17 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2007-2022+; Average age of the vines : 51 years; Surface : 1.42 ha; Terroir : Marl-oligocen calcareous. South-south-east facing, medium to strong slope. Indice 4
The Hengst Grand Cru is located on a dry marl limestone, facing southeast. The age of the vines combined to the exceptional microclimate of this vineyard always guarantees high ripeness, even with low botrytis. In 2002, the yields were exceptionally low, even for this vineyard. The fermentation was powerful and lasted only a couple months.
The nose is discreet, which is very typical of the Hengst, but profound and complex, dominated with mineral/under-wood flavours (not flowery at all). The palate is powerful, but the ripe acidity and great roundness give a certain delicacy to the structure. There is no doubt that this is a great Gewurztraminer vineyard, showing strong personality. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal 2002 Vendange Tardive – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date :feb 2004; Alcohol:12.6° alc; Residual sweetness:82 g/l; Yields: 24 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period :2005-2025+; Average age of the vines :19  years; Surface : 1.3 ha; Terroir : Grey marls and gypsum. South facing, very steep slope.
Jebsal means ‘where there is gypsum’. This vineyard is located in between the Brand and Heimbourg hills, precisely delimitated by two geological cracks that make this vineyard very small. It is exposed full south, on a steep slope and perhaps in one of the warmest location in Alsace. This vineyard has a natural capability to develop noble rot, which surprises us every year. The combination of rich marl and warm microclimate must be the catalyst. The Clos Jebsal is certainly our pinot gris vineyard, which is the most mineral and introverted when young, but always ages beautifully thanks to its great acidity and important noble rot.
The nose still shows strong exotic ferment character, with minerals, wet stones underneath. The fermentation was very slow, certainly because of the acidity, which gives this wine a strong crisp palate. The high residual sweetness is almost hidden behind a very firm acidity and powerful minerality, making the finish taste delicate! (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl 2002 Vendange Tardive – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  13.1° alc; Residual sweetness: 103 g/l; Yields: 28 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2005-2032+; Average age of the vines : 25 years; Surface : 3 ha; Terroir : Muschelkalk calcareous, south to southeast facing. Medium slope.
After the 2001 SGN produced in this vineyard, it was tempting to try to produce another SGN in 2002. The evolution of the weather made us take the decision to produce a VT trough cluster selection (as opposed to a berry selection for SGN), which is much quicker, and more importantly, also allowed us to produce a dry pinot gris Clos Windsbuhl. The quality of the botrytis was exceptional, certainly very similar to 1994. The fermentation was slow, but this wine managed to reach a normal alcohol level.
The strength of the Clos Windsbuhl is its ability to hide an enormous richness behind a delicate structure. This is certainly true in this wine. The nose is mineral, with delicate exotic fruits aromas. The palate is elegant, hiding a lot sweetness behind a great acidity. Definitely a wine for very long ageing. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Rotenberg 2002 Vendange Tardive – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  14° alc; Residual sweetness: 110 g/l; Yields: 14 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2008-2027+; Average age of vines : 21 years; Surface : 1.21 ha; Terroir : Oligocen calcareous. West to Northwest facing. Strong slope.
In 2002, the noble was important in this vineyard, and there certainly was potential to select an SGN. In order not to risk rain on the grapes, we decided to do a cluster selection (which also allowed us to produce a less rich drier style Rotenberg) that was done just hours before the rain started again. The result is a wine with very high potential and very close to the SGN style. The fermentation went easily, which confirms the style of a VT more than SGN.
The nose shows clearly the calcareous and botrytis influence: strong minerals, under-wood with honey/bee wax aromas. The palate is very rich and intense, showing an unctuous sweet palate. The residual sweetness is important, and this wine will certainly keep its sweetness through a very long ageing capacity. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Heimbourg Vendange Tardive 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  12.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 125 g/l; Yields: 10 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2008-2027+; Average age of the vines : 17 years; Surface : 1.61 ha; Terroir : Oligocen calcareous, facing west, north-west, strong slope
The Heimbourg and Rotenberg vineyards are distant of roughly 2 miles, but both enjoy the same west facing and steep slope on poor calcareous rocks. The Heimbourg also developed important botrytis, but was harvest 2 weeks after the Rotenberg, but the potential maturity was identical, as it was also harvested in two parts with a cluster selection (dry and VT). Very low yields.
The slightly slower fermentation produced perhaps more fruity, exotic aromas than in the Rotenberg. The nose shows intense pure fruit flavours, again very close to an SGN style. The palate is very round, the residual sweetness is important for a vendange tardive, but well balanced with a good fresh acidity. Tremendous ageing potential. (1/2004)

Gewurztraminer Heimbourg Vendange Tardive 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  13.4° alc; Residual sweetness: 71 g/l; Yields: 19 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2005-2022+; Average age of vines : planted in 1983; Surface : 1 ha; Terroir : Oligocen calcareous, facing west, medium to strong slope.
The gewürztraminer is located in the bottom section of the Heimbourg, facing west, which has the richer layers of marls. This doesn’t mean that we produce the highest yields in this grape variety ! The flowering was actually problematic in 2002 in this vineyard, resulting in much more millerandage (smaller berries with less peps) and a higher maturity level at harvest time. The wine fermented very slowly, keeping an unctuous palate and apparent sweetness.
The nose is intense and developed, showing strong rose, litchi, spicy aromas, characteristic of this vineyard. The sweetness is well present on the palate, making the finish long and unctuous. It is a medium bodied wine, with an elegant structure, quite different from the other gewürztraminers in this vintage. (1/2004)

Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Goldert Vendange Tardive 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date : 9/2003; Alcohol:  14.4° alc; Residual sweetness: 90 g/l; Yields: 22 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2007-2027+; Average age of the vines : 19 years; Surface : 0.6 ha; Terroir : Oolithic calcareous facing East. Gentle slope
The Goldert is located on the north part of the village. Visitors can see a huge unattractive panel indicating the Grand Cru name. Our parcels are located below and closer to the village. The cooler climate and rich calcareous soil created excellent conditions for a fantastic botrytis development in 2002 on perfectly ripe grapes. There was no selection made, but the potential ripeness was astonishing.
The nose is a complex blend of minerals, spicy aromas, profound rose and exotic flavours, not at all overpowering, but long lasting in the glass. The palate is rich, long, balanced between a firm alcohol and luscious sweetness. Of course, there is also the classic 2002 acidity and tannins to old everything together, and making it certainly capable of ageing decades. (1/2004)

Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal Sélection de Grains Nobles Trie Spéciale 2002 – Zind-Humbrecht
Bottling date :2/2006; Alcohol: very low 6%; Residual sweetness: very high 395g/l; Yields: 15 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : after me; Average age of the vines : 19 years; Surface : 1.3 ha; Terroir : Grey marls and gypsum. South facing, very steep slope
The last similar selection we did was in 1994 in this vineyard. In 2002, the botrytis was very intense and able to dry properly early enough, giving us the time to do a serious selection. Knowing that the acidity level would be high, the selection can be more severe than in a vintage with much less acidity. In fact, we hoped for a rich SGN, similar to 1995, 1998 or even 2001, but we never guessed during the picking that the potential ripeness would reach 226° Oechslés. This vineyard is quite amazing when it comes to produce botrytis. Is it a richness that I would hope for every year, certainly not, not even every five years, because this wine will need fifty years or more to be ready ! Today, it is still fermenting, showing ultra intense ripe fruits aromas (apples, quince,…) but has only little finished alcohol and a huge sweetness. The acidity is also quite amazingly high. The bottling will be done in a few years only. (1/2004) 3/2006:  at last the wine is bottled. And what a bottling! The wine was so viscous, it wouldn’t almost run through the filling pipes. The wine became amazingly clear. The stunning acidity completely balances the huge sweetness. What a balance! It has become very aromatic, showing lots of be wax, honey, ripe apples, spices… and a slight touch of vanilla from the barrel fermentation.

(Olivier Humbrecht)