Zind-Humbrecht 1996 - Vintage notes

The 1996 Vintage at Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
(text from Olivier Humbrecht)

The 1996 wines can be described as particularly fine and elegant. The flowering was perfect except for the Gewurztraminers, that suffered a lot from coulure. The summer was not very hot but quite dry. The harvest went trough without any major trouble, due to the extraordinary healthy condition of the grapes.. Most wines have a good ripeness level, high acidity level and lots of fruity aromas. No wine was chaptalized in 1996, the average yield on our estate was 38 hl/ha, some wines were bottled in September 97 and the rest in March 1998. Most of the 96s fermented very slowly.

Oe= Oechslés at harvest time, pot=potential alcohol level at harvest time, alc=acquired alcohol level, SR=residual sweetness in g/l, Sec=dry,hl/ha=yields per hectare. Mise= year of bottling.

Pinot d’Alsace 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
The only blend of different vineyard sites (40% chardonnay from Windsbuhl, 45% auxerrois from Rotenberg, Windsbuhl and Herrenweg, 15% pinot-blanc from Rotenberg and Herrenweg). The 1996 is a dry wine, showing strong flavours and good maturity.
Mise 98, 90° Oe (12.4° pot), 12.4% Alc, sec, 43hl/ha, 1998-2001

Muscat Herrenweg de Turckheim 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Blend of muscat d’Alsace (20%) and Ottonel (80%), this is one of the driest wine produced in 1996, but thanks to the perfect health condition of the grapes, the aromas of this wine are very grapey. To drink while young on its fruit. This wine comes from vines planted in 1946 and 1967.
Mise 97, 84° Oe (11.6° pot), 11.6° alc, sec, 70hl/ha, 1998-2000

Muscat Grand Cru Goldert 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Made from a blend of 25% Ottonel and 75% muscat d’Alsace. The pure calcareous soil and late ripening climate of the Goldert has always had a strong potential for these grape varieties. Although harvested at a good maturity with healthy grapes, the Goldert posses a good acidity and some roundness. It deserve some ageing.
Mise 97, 91° Oe (12.6° pot), 11.8° alc, 15g/l SR, 54hl/ha, 1999-2005

Riesling Wintzenheim 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Blend of gravels and alluvial deposits, this soil is very light and always produces very aromatic wines, underlined by a good acidity and crisp body.
Mise 97, 85° Oe (11.7° pot), 11.5° alc, 5 g/l SR, 65hl/ha, 1998-2000.

Riesling Gueberschwihr 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
The limestone soils of this village, located on a gentle South facing exposure, produced some very mineral riesling, having a strong mineral and crisp dry structure. Relatively closed in its youth, this wine will develop slowly.
Mise 97, 88° Oe (12.2° pot), 12.2° alc, sec, 42 hl/ha, 1999-2003

Riesling Turckheim 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Originating from the young vines in the Brand, this riesling benefits from the granite soil influence: a well drained and warm soil, able to produce aromatic and elegant wines. The 1996 has a good ripeness and strong acidity, explaining some roundness balancing the wine.
Mise 97, 91° Oe (12.5° pot), 11.5° alc, 18 g/l SR, 45hl/ha, 2000-2005.

Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
The riesling vines are located in the richest part of the Herrenweg, at the exception of the ones next to our cellars. The gravels are mixed with more silt deposits. The 1996 riesling Herrenweg is very aromatic and long on the palate, with a classic rich structure. It is certainly the most open of all our rieslings.
Mise 97, 91° Oe (12.5° pot), 11.6° alc, 14g/l SR, 50 hl/ha, 1998-2005

Riesling Clos Hauserer 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This marl limestone soil is located just under the Hengst vineyard. It enjoys a dry and warm micro-climate, well protected from the winds. The richness of the marl produced a crisp and powerful 1996 riesling, with a strong minerality. This wine deserves much further ageing.
Mise 97, 88° Oe (12.4° pot), 12.1°alc, 6g/l SR, 65hl/ha, 2001-2008

Riesling Grand Cru Rangen Clos Saint Urbain 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
The sedimentary volcanic rock of the Rangen Clos Saint Urbain produced a wine totally dominated by its soil. The riesling was harvested very late but perfectly healthy, thanks to its steep south facing exposure.(80% in average). The wine is still lean and austere, totally dry with strong flinty and spicy aromas. Still very young.
Mise 98, 88° Oe (12.4° pot), 12.4° alc, sec, 23hl/ha, 2000-2010

Riesling Clos Windsbuhl 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Planted in the most rocky part of the Clos, the riesling shows a powerful body and very long palate. Still young, the minerality is enhanced by the totally dry structure on the palate. In 1996, the ripeness was very high even though the grapes remained healthy. The result is a wine of tremendous complexity and power.
Mise 98, 100° Oe (13.9° pot), 13.9 ° alc, sec, 36hl/ha, 2001-2015

Riesling Grand Cru Brand 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
The biotite granite of the Grand Cru Brand is one of our vineyard that warms up the quickest. The maturation is always fast, and the result is a wine with strong and elegant flavours and a racy mouth. Also a very high maturity, but thank to exceptional wild yeasts (I guess!), the wine fermented to dryness. It is a powerful wine, but with delicate floral aromas.
Mise 98, 100° Oe (13.9° pot), 13.9° alc, sec, 37hl/ha, 2001-2015

Pinot Gris 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Yes ! I do have a few young vines. They are all in this wine. Because they come from great vineyards, this wine shows a good ripeness and slight noble rot character, which explains its round and souple palate.
Mise 97, 106° Oe (14.6° pot), 13.2° alc, 28g/l SR, 38hl/ha, 1998-2001.

Pinot-Gris Herrenweg de Turckheim 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Despite the young age of the vines, this wine shows a great depth and delicacy. Very healthy crop, ripe and well balanced in acidity. Dry structure. The vines are planted right next to our cellars.
Mise 97, 106° Oe (14.9° pot), 14.2° alc, 8g/l SR, 50hl/ha, 1998-2003

Pinot-Gris Vieilles Vignes 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This wine entirely comes from the Herrenweg vineyard. They were planted in 1946, just like the Herrenweg gewurztraminer. In this location, the alluvial soil is the driest and warmest, always producing aromatic wines, packed with exotic flavors. The 1996 combines a high ripeness with strong structure. Off dry style.
Mise 97, 110° Oe (15° pot), 13.4° alc, 28g/l SR, 33 hl/ha, 2000-2005

Pinot-Gris Heimbourg 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Healthy harvest, with no botrytis, but beautiful concentrated grapes. This vineyard shows how a calcareous soil can combine richness and strong spicy mineral flavors, thanks to an high acidity. Very long wine.
Mise 97, 108° Oe (14.9° pot), 13.9° alc, 19g/l SR, 40hl/ha, 2000-2008

Pinot-Gris Clos Jebsal 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This steep south facing vineyard all terraced is located in our warmest meso-climate, between the Brand and Heimbourg. This protected site always reach the highest ripeness level of the estate. As usual 1996 produced an SGN, this wine comes from the remaining grapes harvested with no noble rot, still very rich, that made a complex and ample pinot gris.
Mise 97, 115° Oe (15.9° pot), 12.5° alc, 49g/l SR, 39hl/ha, 2003-2015.

Pinot-Gris Clos Windsbuhl 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
The calcareous soil of the Clos Windsbuhl produces aromatic wines, its later ripening climate garantees balanced acidity and long ageing potential, as well as strong fruitiness.In 1996, despite a very healthy crop, this wine reached a high maturity and is long on the palate. The fermentation was very slow, similar to the 1995.
Mise 98, 113° Oe, 15.5° pot), 13.5° alc, 30g/l SR, 38hl/ha, 1999-2015

Pinot-Gris Grand Cru Rangen Clos Saint Urbain 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Harvested much later in 1996 (first week of November), the grapes were little botrytised. This wine is very powerful, dominated by strong mineral-under wood aromas, still austere but very long. It is a wine for long keeping, with a powerful structure.
Mise 98, 114° Oe (15.8° pot), 13.5° alc, 35g/l SR, 25hl/ha, 2001-2015

Gewurztraminer Turckheim 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This wine comes entirely from the alluvial soils of Turckheim. The deep gravelly soil and the dry climate of Turckheim produced a beautiful aromatic wine, rose scented, litchis, geraniums...
Mise 97, 101° Oe (13.9° pot), 13.4° alc, 9 g/l SR, 45 hl/ha, 1998-2001

Gewurztraminer Wintzenheim 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Very similar soil to the Herrenweg, but located west of Wintzenheim. Those are old vines, planted in 1946 by Emile Zind, which produce every year a tiny crop. The wine isalways more spicy than the Herrenweg and often dryer. It needs also some ageing.
Mise 97, 102° Oe (14.5° pot), 14.4° alc, 4g/l SR, 20hl/ha, 1998-2003

Gewurztraminer Gueberschwihr 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This tiny vineyard is located just under the village, on a silicium/limestone soil, producing powerful gewurztraminer, with strong spicy character. The richness of this wine comes also from the age of the vines (over 60years).
Mise 97, 110° Oe (15.2° pot), 14.5° alc, 18 g/l SR, 35hl/ha, 1999-2003.

Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This wine is always a selection of the oldest vineyard in the Herrenweg (the rest is sold under Turckheim). It is an elegant and refined gewurztraminer, very aromatic and well balanced with its good acidity, ensuring a god ageing potential.
Mise 97, 101° Oe (14.2° pot), 13.8° alc, 9g/l SR, 30hl/ha, 1998-2003

Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Hengst 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
The south-east exposure of the Hengst is responsible for a very dry meso-climate. The botrytis is rare, but the marl limestone soil (highest pH of the estate) produced a powerful, spicy wine. Usually very hard to drink in its youth, the Hengst 1996 shows great elegance and refinement. For long keeping.
Mise 97, 115° Oe (15.9° pot), 14.6° alc, 18g/l SR, 29hl/ha, 2001-2015

Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Rangen Clos Saint Urbain 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This is the smallest yield of the estate (12hl/ha), high maturity and an almost dry feel on the palate, due to the power of the wine. This gewurztraminer is totally dominated by the mineral, tannic, stony, coffee flavors of the volcanic Rangen, to the point the the grape variety is non existent! One of the closest parcel of the river in the Clos Saint Urbain.
Mise 97, 122° Oe (16.9° pot), 15.4° alc, 17 g/l SR, 12hl/ha, 2001-2015

Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Goldert 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This is for the moment the most aromatic gewurztraminer ever produced on the Domaine. Ripe and elegant, thank to a very good acidity, this wine litterally explodes in the glass with floral aromas. Despite a very long fermentation (12months) this wine still shows some roundness on the palate.
Mise 98, 114° Oe, (15.6° pot), 13° alc, 40 hl/ha, 1999-2010.

Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
Little botrytis in 1996, but incredible maturity and small production explain the intense flavors of this wine. Not as open as the Goldert, but more mineral and powerful on the palate. This very young wine should benefit from further bottle ageing. Just like the other grape varieties of the Windsbuhl, this wine enjoys a good acidity.
Mise 98, 119° Oe (16.6° pot), 13.5° alc, 35 g/l SR, 21hl/ha, 2003-2015.

Pinot-Gris Rotenberg Vendange Tardive 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
The Rotenberg vineyard benefits from a special late ripening climate, but has a marl limestone soil and West exposure ideal for the development of the noble rot. This vineyard is in fact located on the western side of the Hengst, it enjoys the same under soil, but is very rich in iron, which gives this special red colour to the ground. This VT is all in delicacy, high acidity and great ageing potential. Strong quince and peach flavors.
Mise 97, 124° Oe (17° pot), 12.5° alc, 70g/l SR, 23hl/ha, 2003-2015

Gewurztraminer Heimbourg Vendange Tardive 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
With the Rangen, this is the smallest crop on the estate (also 12hl/ha). It was harvested very ripe bt only slightly botrytised (like the 1990 in style). The gewurztraminers are planted in the richest part of the marl limestone soil in the Heimbourg, which explains the strong spicy and powerful body of this wine.
Mise 97, 121° Oe (16.6° pot), 13° alc, 34g/l SR, 12hl/ha, 2003-2015

Pinot-Gris Clos Jebsal  Sélection de Grains Nobles 1996 – Zind-Humbrecht
This wine comes from a selection of the most botrytised berries of the Clos Jebsal in Turckheim. This wine is a concentration in style of the 1996 vintage: strong acidity and high ripeness. Fermenting very slowly made it keep a lot of residual sugar; well balanced by the acidity. It will be a slow developing wine, where the mineral character of the Jebsal will take a long time to reach its apogee.
Mise 97, 165° Oe (23° pot), 10° alc, 190g/l SR, 7hl/ha, 2005-2020

(Olivier Humbrecht)