Zind-Humbrecht 2000 - Vintage notes

The 2000 Vintage at Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
(text from Olivier Humbrecht)

The 2000 vintage was exceptionally precocious and warm. The flowering was incredibly early, starting at the end of May to finish early June under perfect condition, allowing a large number of flowers per cluster and vine. The grapes grew quickly, thanks to good humidity and warmth in July/August. September was even warmer and dryer, finishing to ripen the grapes to extremely high level of sugar content and helping the grapes to resist against rot (acid rot was a concern in 2000). The harvest started middle of September and finished end of October. Most vineyards were harvested end of September and early October. Only some VTs and SGNs were left for the end of October. After that, the weather in November was not suitable anymore.

On the Domaine, the crop was consistent at 43hl/ha with big differences between grape varieties and origins. Only the hillside vineyards were harvested in October, but in 2000 maturity was not a problem. The preservation of acidity and aromas was more important, therefore waiting to long to harvest was not always the best option to take. The warmth of September started the noble rot in most vineyards, even at the beginning of the harvest. Surprisingly, the acidity levels were very good, especially for gewürztraminers, and of high quality, with very little malic acid in the grapes.

The 2000 wines are in general powerful, often with high alcohol levels, very flavourful and aromatic. There is not doubt that it is a great vintage. Fermentations were long and vigorous, the wild yeasts being able to transform a lot of the sugars. Most of the wines were bottled in September 2001 and did finish their fermentation between December and March following the harvest.

Again, no wines were chaptalized in 2000 and all the vineyards were cultivated in biodynamie.

Note : Mise= bottling date, alc= finished alcohol level, SR= residual sweetness, hl/ha= yield/hectare, 2002-2010.....= optimum drinking period.

Pinot d’Alsace 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 3/2002, 12.5 ° alc, 3.8 g/l SR, 53hl/ha, 2003-2008
This wine comes from the usual blend of Auxerrois (50%), Pinot Blanc (15%) and Chardonnay (35%) and from the three vineyards of Herrenweg (1.5ha), Rotenberg (0.5ha) and Clos Windsbuhl (2ha). This blend is now being made since the 1991 vintage. Some of the calcareous vineyards like Rotenberg and Windsbuhl bring the structure, acidity and ageing potential and the Herrenweg bring the maturity and the strong aromas. We decided to introduce Chardonnay in this wine for the same reasons: it brings the acidity and structure of the Clos Windsbuhl where it is planted. For legal reasons, 2000 will be the last vintage sold as Pinot d’Alsace and the 2001 will be released as Vin de Table.
The 2000 Pinot d’Alsace shows at the same time the precocity and maturity of the vintage but also a very precise acidity and structure. The nose is very mineral, and the palate follows with a strong dry structure, all based on the acidity and minerality of the wine at this early stage. It will age beautifully. (12/2001)

Muscat Herrenweg de Turckheim 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 14.7° alc, sec, 59 hl/ha, 2002-2007
This wine comes from a vineyard planted in 1947 by my grand parents, which includes also a lot of the gewürztraminer and riesling in the Herrenweg vineyard. 80% Muscat Ottonel and 20% Muscat d’Alsace mean that it is always a very aromatic, grapey Muscat. The 2000 shows the  extraordinary potential of this gravely soil: high maturity, fully dry, intense nose and yet has an elegant palate. This is the perfect alternative to sparkling aperitif if not used with spicy food. (12/2001)

Muscat Grand Cru Goldert 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 12.3° alc, 8 g/l SR, 55hl/ha, 2004-2012
At the opposite of the Herrenweg, the Goldert is planted with 80% of Muscat d’Alsace and 20% of Muscat Ottonel. The Goldert vineyard is able to give more structure and acidity to the wines, thanks to its oolithique calcareous soil and its cooler climate. The 2000 is more mineral on the nose and less intense in fruit aromas, but show much more concentration and complexity on the palate. The fermentation, very long, wasn’t able to transform all the sugars, but this wine does not taste sweet on the palate today and even less in a few years. (12/2001).

Riesling Gueberschwihr 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 12.4° alc, 7 g/l SR, 65 hl/ha, 2003-2010
This wine comes from a blend of 8 different small vineyard around Gueberschwihr, mostly facing east or south and all located on classic rich limestone soils. The 2000 was able to be picked relatively early, keeping all the typical acidity and minerality of Gueberschwihr . The nose will still need some time to fully open, but the palate feels totally dry, with a zesty acidity and a normal to rich texture. The grapes were very healthy in 2000, so this wine should have a nice evolution over the next 10-12 years. Today, it is certainly a wine for seafood, river fish, light salad starters… (12/2001)

Riesling Turckheim 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 13.5° alc, 13 g/l SR, 57 hl/ha, 2002-2015.
In 2000, this wine was made from 3 different small parcels located in the Brand vineyard, all three young vines (average of 18 years old). The climate is very warm and the soil is pure granite. In this stressful vineyard (for the vines, not the grower!), the grapes were harvested early, very ripe, with excellent fruit character and acidity. The wine shows all the granitic influence: mineral but not restraint, long and rich palate, finishes dry with a wide and rich texture. This is showing already a lot of the potential of this wine. Can be served with richer dishes as well as delicate fish. (12/2001)

Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 3/2002, 12.6° alc, 32 g/l SR,  39 hl/ha, 2002-2012+
This wine comes from the richer part of the Herrenweg vineyard, were loess deposits are mixed with the gravely soil. The result is often a wine with more power, acidity and richness. The 2000 ripened easily and developed botrytis quite early. The result is a wine that took almost a year to ferment. The nose is really very very aromatic and shows already today huge aromas of acacia, honey and exotic fruits. The mouth is long, rich, unctuous and delicate. The residual sweetness is here significant but is not at all overpowering the wine. The finish is clean and delicate. Today, this wine will be served better with Chinese food, delicate seafood, crayfish, onion pie (12/2001)

Riesling Clos Häuserer 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 13.4° alc, 9 g/l SR, 42 hl/ha, 2005-2015+
We took the decision in 2000 not to wait too long to harvest this vineyard and were surprised by the result: the ripeness was high and so was the acidity! The quality of the soil (marl/calcareous) located just under the Grand Cru Hengst associated to a dry and warm climate helped to obtain this result. The Clos Häuserer 2000 is a rich wine, tasting completely dry, with a huge powerful Riesling personality: full of mineral, wet stones aromas. Certainly it will need time to open, but the structure is giving away the pleasure this wine will give in a few years from now. Classic wine with sea fish. (12/2001)

Riesling Heimbourg 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 13.4° alc, 8 g/l SR, 43 hl/ha, 2005-2012.
This steep south facing vineyard (over 50% slope), was also harvested relatively early, when all the grapes were still very healthy, without noble rot. Being just across the road from the Clos Jebsal, we always thought that the Heimbourg Riesling would also develop a lot of botrytis, but in fact, the calcareous soil (marl Oligocene) similar to the Hengst, does not favour the noble rot. The result in 2000 is a wine with a broad mineral nose mixed with waxy exotic aromas. The palate is slightly rounder and feels less austere than the Clos Häuserer, but still represents a very classic dry Riesling, well worth keeping before drinking. (12/2001).

Riesling Grand Cru Brand 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 3/2002, 13.4 ° alc, 34 g/l SR, 37hl/ha, 2005-2015+
The granitic warm vineyard of the Brand profited from the 2000 climatic conditions: lots of heat and humidity during the growing season. The ripeness was high, but so were the flavours and the final structure of the wines. In our two oldest vineyard in the Brand (the other ones are in the Riesling Turckheim) we did two separate harvest: we picked first all the clusters with a lot of botrytis which produced a VT, and the rest, more healthy, produced this wine. The idea wasn’t at first to produce a VT, but to avoid to harvest the Brand overripe. The 2000 Brand is a very rich wine, showing strong ripe mineral nose, with behind subtle exotic character. The palate is round with significant sweetness but very well balanced by the structure of the wine. No doubt that this will age beautifully, even if it is already very enjoyable today. 12/2001

Riesling Grand Cru Rangen Clos Saint Urbain 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 14.3 ° alc, 19 g/l SR, 31 hl/ha, 2005-2025+
The Rangen vineyard enjoyed perfect conditions to produce beautiful grapes. Unlike the Pinot Gris in this vineyard, the Riesling developed very little noble rot, but was harvested very ripe. The fermentation was highly vigorous and transformed much more sugar than I would have expected at the beginning. The result is a 2000 which is powerful, showing a smoky flinty nose, so typical of its volcanic origin, and a long, rich mouth, not really completely dry, but with no trace of softness thanks to a classic acidity. If I would dream of a Riesling in the Rangen vineyard, it would certainly be the 2000. (12/2001)

Pinot Gris Vieilles Vignes 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 15.3° alc, 28 g/l SR, 47 hl/ha, 2005-2015
Originating from two separate locations, both old vines, this wine shows all the characteristic of the 2000 vintage: both ultra ripe and racy. The finished alcohol is high, but like in most 2000s it doesn’t really show in the wines. The nose is very open, with classic smoky/honey aromas and a long mouth. The residual sweetness is not too palatable, due to the strong structure of the wine, but soften just the high extract of the wine. It will be great with poultry, duck….(12/2001)

Pinot Gris Rotenberg 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 13.7° alc, 17.8 g/l SR, 44 hl/ha, 2002-2010
We decided to harvest the Rotenberg vineyard early, by doing a selection of the healthy clusters, which produced this wine. The other clusters, partly botrytised, were harvested later and produced an SGN. This vineyard, located on a rocky red calcareous soil (north/west slope of the Hengst), is usually a late ripening vineyard, but this wasn’t the case in 2000. the result of this early healthy selection is a rich but delicate wine, showing the strong nutty/mineral character of this vineyard. The palate is delicate, in comparison to the other 2000s, and shows lots of classic spiciness; The residual sweetness is not overpowering the wine, but gives a feeling of subtle roundness, which makes it a wine for poultry, asian dishes, spicy food… (12/2001)

Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 14.7 ° alc, 11 g/l SR, 42hl/ha, 2005-2020+
We took the decision in the Windsbuhl Pinot Gris as the Pinot Gris Rotenberg: harvest the healthy clusters before the noble rot, in order to produce a wine not too ripe. The botrytised grapes were harvested the same day in this vineyard and produced a VT. I think than one of the most difficult dry wine to make in Alsace is certainly a Pinot Gris. It is often either slightly too ripe and keeps residual sweetness, or, if harvested slightly too early, it will lack its expected power and structure. The 2000 Windsbuhl is as close to what I would expect of a dry Pinot Gris as we are able to do. The nose shows delicate exotic aroma and classic Windsbuhl minerality. The palate is a the same time strict and powerful, leaving the mouth dry. It is an opulent dry wine, capable of beautiful ageing. (12/2001).

Pinot Gris Grand Cru Rangen Clos Saint Urbain 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 14.9° alc, 43 g/l SR, 28 hl/ha, 2005-2025+
If the Riesling was harvested very healthy, the Pinot Gris was harvested with some noble rot, especially the vineyards closer to the river. The steep south-facing volcanic hillside of the Rangen must definitely breeds special wild yeasts, capable of extreme fermentations. Despite the noble rot, and I really thought that this wine would become a VT like the Riesling, it was able to ferment vigorously transforming a lot of sugars. It still has an important residual sweetness, but the acidity and the power of the wine compensate it. On the palate, the strong peaty character of the Rangen adds to its structure, comforting our decision not to sell this wine under the Vendange Tardive label. (12/2001)

Gewurztraminer 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 14.5 ° alc, 23 g/l SR, 60hl/ha, 2002-2010.
Originating from various vineyards on the estate, mostly good left over and sadly produced in small quantity, because it is a wonderful aromatic gewürztraminer, showing powerful exotic, rose scented and geranium aromas. The palate is powerful, which the 2000 trade mark in this grape variety, and very well balanced with a good acidity. Like most gewürztraminers in 2000, the residual sweetness is not the main characteristic of the wine. (12/2001)

Gewurztraminer Gueberschwihr 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 15.2° alc, sec, 55 hl/ha, 2002-2008.
Harvested from very old vines in the village of Gueberschwihr, this gewurztraminer fermented completely dry. It is showing strong rose/spicy flavours associated to a relatively austere, mineral palate, showing a powerful finish. It is rare to produce dry gewürztraminer like this, but it will certainly please the amateurs of really spicy food. (12/2001)

Gewurztraminer Turckheim 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 14.7 ° alc, 19.6 g/l SR, 45 hl/ha, 2002-2010
All the grapes producing this wine came from the Herrenweg vineyard in Turckheim, averaging 25 years of age. This vineyard was able to ripen the gewürztraminer grape variety to perfection: good ripeness, excellent acidity and fruit character, thanks to perfect skins. The nose is today very aromatic (rose scent, geranium) but not overpowering and is very delicate. The palate is powerful, showing good spiciness and length. The residual sweetness is subtle in this wine, in this case helping the wine to absorb its high alcohol. (12/2001)

Gewurztraminer Wintzenheim 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 15.4 ° alc, 14.7 g/l SR, 41 hl/ha, 2002-2015
This wine is made from grapes coming from two separate vineyards. The first one is located just outside the village of Wintzenheim, on a poor gravely soil, planted with 55 years old vines. The other is located in the Hengst vineyard: young vines of  20 years old average. The blend of the precocious aromatic gravely origin and the structured powerful calcareous produces a wines with extraordinary flavours in 2000. Rich, powerful, spicy but really enjoyable today, this wine summarize the concept of gewürztraminer in Alsace. The sweetness is completely hidden in the wine, which makes it perfect food companion, given that the meal is tasty enough! (12/2001)

Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 14.9° alc, 42g/l SR, 35 hl/ha, 2003-2020
This wine is made from a  selection of our oldest vineyards in the Herrenweg in Turckheim. Thanks to my father and grand parents, there are enough old vines planted there to unable us to produce a good size Herrenweg cask, because the yields are always significantly smaller. The 2000 was harvested with some noble rot, adding power and roundness to an already rich harvest. The result is a fantastic rich wine, with strong leathery/spicy aromas, long rich palate, finishing with apparent sweetness but not heavy at all. It is a wine very similar to the 1997. (12/2001)

Gewurztraminer Heimbourg 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 15.2 ° alc, 32 g/l SR, 39 hl/ha, 2004-2012
The gewürztraminer vineyard is located on the west part of the Heimbourg hillside. The soil is slightly richer than on the top (pinot gris) and slightly cooler than the south part (riesling). The vines are now mature and are able to ripen the grapes very slowly, letting the noble rot develop only late in October. The grapes in 2000 were amongst the most aromatic to taste in the vineyards. The wine is on the opposite side: very mineral and develops a strong leathery, under wood aroma on the nose, characteristic of powerful botrytis. The sweetness is here more palatable, but is still trapped in a good harmony. (12/2001)

Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 15° alc, 15 g/l SR, 35hl/ha, 2003-2020+
The rocky muschelkalk of the Clos Windsbuhl, associated to the late ripening climate of Hunawihr produced in 2000 a very mineral, dry tasting gewürztraminer. The grapes were picked very healthy, if the botrytis developed easily in the Pinot Gris, the Gewurztraminer, with its resistant skin, stayed healthy. This explains the pure rose character delicately mixed with peppery, saffron flavours on the nose. The mouth tastes dry, almost austere after the 2 last wines, but so elegant and typical of the Windsbuhl vineyard. Excellent with any flavourful food. (12/2001)
 
Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Hengst 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 15.9° alc, 18g/l SR, 31 hl/ha, 2005-2025+
The Hengst is with the Rangen one of the only vineyard capable of fermenting the wines to the highest limit possible for the indigenous yeasts. The wild character of the Hengst (stallion in Alsatian) soil: marl calcareous, high pH, very aggressive to the vines associated to a vigorous fermentation produced a 2000 wine which is very powerful, extremely spicy, long on the palate. Any sweetness is completely blended into the wine’s structure and doesn’t show at all. (12/2001)

Riesling Clos Windsbuhl Vendange Tardive 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 12 ° alc, 64 g/l SR, 35 hl/ha, 2005-2020+
This was the last vineyard harvested October 31st in 2000. We decided to wait for this vineyard because the weather allowed it and mostly because the grapes were very healthy and seemed to enjoy waiting ! We were very surprised by the ripeness of this wine, given the little amount of noble rot. Thanks to a crisp acidity, this wine really fermented slowly to reach a real VT balance, keeping a large amount of sweetness. The nose is very aromatic, showing more Windsbuhl character than over-ripeness: intense waxy, mineral and exotic aromas. The mouth is unctuous and delicately balanced, with no extra weight, making it very easy to taste young, but also capable of good ageing. (12/2001)

Riesling Grand Cru Brand Vendange Tardive 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 11.7° alc, 93 g/l SR, 17hl/ha, 2005-2030+
This is the second part of the Brand vineyard. Here the grapes were all affected by botrytis which results in a high ripeness. The nose is very mineral, honeyed, bee wax and the mouth shows a rich balance. The importance of the noble rot in this wine gives an almost SGN sweet “liqueur” on the palate, but the wine doesn’t loose its identity of Brand at all. Producing riesling of this richness and flavour intensity is rare. This wine ageing potential is limitless, but because it is already so attractive today and the production was tiny (80 cases) I doubt many will be kept too long. (12/2001)

Pinot Gris Herrenweg de Turckheim Vendange Tardive 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 13.2° alc, 84 g/l SR, 47hl/ha, 2002-2015+
The Pinot Gris is a grape variety than can catch very easily botrytis, due to its very thin skin. This can be a drama (grey rot if the grapes are not ripe enough and the weather is bad) but it can also produce a wine like this one. Harvested the first day of the harvest, this wine completely took us by surprise with its ripeness. Initially I wondered if this vineyard would stand this kind of ripeness (there are still only 10 years old vines), but the result is an extroverted wine, intensely aromatic (honey, exotic fruits, quince jelly) and a classic VT palate with significant sweetness. It is certainly capable of good ageing, but I do not think it will develop more complexity by keeping it too long: it is delicious today…(12/2001)

Pinot Gris Heimbourg Vendange Tardive 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 2002,       ° alc,     g/l SR, 35 hl/ha, 2005-2020.
The Pinot-Gris comes from the poor top part of the Heimbourg vineyard. The crop was quite small and harvested with some botrytis and very ripe. It is difficult to make a proper tasting note today because this wine is still finishing its fermentation since the 2000 harvest ! So far it is very aromatic, but dominated by the fermentation. I expect this wine to have a delicate balance, superb acidity and a real VT texture: residual sweetness balanced by a good acidity. (12/2001)

Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl Vendange Tardive 2000 – Zind-Humbrecht
Mise 9/2001, 15.2 ° alc, 39 g/l SR, 34hl/ha, 2005-2020+
We took the decision in the Windsbuhl Pinot Gris to harvest the healthy clusters before the noble rot, in order to produce a wine not too ripe. The botrytised grapes were harvested the same day in this vineyard and produced this VT. The botrytis was significant but not too important. This wine shows really typical flavours of the Windsbuhl on the nose: exotic fruit, pears, apricot mixed with white truffle and humus. It already shows an intense straw colour. The palate is powerful, long, not quite sweet, because it is balanced by a strong acidity. This is almost more of an old style of VT, slightly dryer, but perfectly harmonious. (12/2001)
 
Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal 2000 Vendange Tardive
Mise 3/2002, 14.5 ° alc, 46 g/l SR, 24 hl/ha, 2005-2025+
The small south facing Clos Jebsal was harvested twice, producing first an SGN and then a VT. The overall crop was very small in 2000. Despite the large amount of botrytis, this wine managed to ferment slowly to a high level of finished alcohol for a VT. The nose is extremely elegant and subtle (typical of the gypsum soil of the Jebsal) and shows almondy/mineral flavours. The palate is delicate considering the ripeness, and doesn’t express the alcohol or the sweetness to much. Great ageing potential… (12/2001)

Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Goldert 2000 Vendange Tardive
Mise 9/2001, 15.2 ° alc, 53.6 g/l SR, 32 hl/ha, 2005-2025+
The Goldert is located on a rich limestone east facing hillside. The climate of the village Gueberschwihr is slightly cooler than Turckheim, therefore this vineyard is often harvested amongst the last ones. A careful cultivation also unable the grapes to stay healthy for a long time, allowing them to fully ripen before the development of botrytis. The 2000 was in this classic situation. The wine is powerful (this is definitely 2000 character!) with a lot of botrytis. The nose shows mineral, under-wood, spicy character at the beginning and opens after some aeration to more rose scented aromas. The palate is more flowery than the nose, but finishes with strong oriental spices. For long ageing…(12/2001)

Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Rangen Clos Saint Urbain 2000 Vendange Tardive
Mise 9/2001, 15.8° alc, 79 g/l SR, 26hl/ha, 2005-2030+
The gewürztraminer Rangen is located right near the river and always develop some noble rot. The 2000 was harvested very ripe, from a small yield, and should have been almost an SGN…if the yeast would have stopped earlier. The fermentation was long but steady and only stopped once the maximum was reached, giving this wine a balance closer to a VT. The sweetness is actually well hidden on the palate, where the powerful smoky peaty aromas dominate through a weighty finish. Again, it is more Rangen than gewürztraminer. (12/2001)

Pinot Gris Rotenberg 2000 Sélection de Grains nobles
Mise 9/2001, 11.7 ° alc, 153 g/l SR, 26 hl/ha, 2005-2030+
This wine represents the other part of the harvest of the Rotenberg vineyard. Intensely botrytised, it shows an elegant nose of quince, pear, white fruits with discreet botrytis aromas. The palate is delicate, with a low alcohol balanced with excellent acidity. The red calcareous soil of the Rotenberg always produces elegant wines with fine acidity. In a vintage where most wines show an obvious maturity and weight, this SGN seems almost coming from another vintage. This wine will age slowly and certainly develop more and more flavours through the years. (12/2001)

Pinot Gris Heimbourg 2000 Sélection de Grains Nobles
Mise 9/2001,12.7 ° alc,  141 g/l SR, 19 hl/ha, 2005-2030+.
Surprisingly, the SGN made in the Heimbourg vineyard fermented much quicker (only 6 months) than the Vendange Tardive still fermenting today. The Heimbourg was slightly less botrytised than the Rotenberg or Jebsal, but the grapes were very ripe. The nose is extremely honeyed, showing a lot of sweetness and waxy character. The palate is unctuous, very round, seems sweeter than what it is and has beautiful toasty/nutty flavours. (this wine like any other, was not made in new oak). (12/2001)

Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal 2000 Sélection de Grains Nobles
Mise 9/2001, 13.8° alc, 141 g/l SR, 18 hl/ha, 2005-2030+
The Clos jebsal was harvested with higher potential than the other two SGNs produced in 2000, but the fermentation being more active it actually finishes with the same sweetness. It was relatively easy to select botrytis in 2000 in this vintage, so our aim was not to break ripeness record, but keep elegance and harmony. Therefore the selection wasn’t too hard, keeping some healthy grapes in the crop. The result is a wine which is still powerful but shows a lot of the mineral character of the Jebsal and not so much the botrytis flavours, which are at the moment quite discreet in the wine. (12/2001)

(Olivier Humbrecht)