This is the information provided by Zind-Humbrecht about wines from the 2005 vintage.
(Read the vintage notes in French here)
THE 2005 VINTAGE
2005 enjoyed a relatively dry winter, ideal for planting vineyards, until the end of March. Heavy rainfalls, much hoped for, brought all the water the vines would need in spring. Rains and colder temperatures delayed the bud-break to middle/end of April. May and June were warm and dry, with some uneven occasional rainfalls, which caused some vineyards to flower later. The majority of the vineyards between Gueberschwihr and Hunawihr were flowering early June but Thann only finished around June 20th. The amount of clusters and grapes was normal (our non hedging training system helped to reduce the size of the clusters and the numbers of berries). We then expected an average size crop.
July and August brought a series of 4 significant rainfalls (10 to 20mm) which were again ideal for the vines. By the end of August, the grass was still green in the vineyards and there was no sign of stress. It was possible to enjoy a disease free year if all the proper care was given.
Early August was cool, with the temperatures often being well under 15 degree C. This kind of climate (similar to 2004 and 2002) delayed the change of colour of the grapes to the end of August, and, more importantly, is most certainly responsible of the high acidity level of the 2005 wines.
From the 4th week of August to the end of the harvest, the weather was warm to very hot (some record breaking days in September). October 2005 was the second warmest after 2001 in the past 10 years. Needless to point out that such conditions favoured good maturation, great acidity (high tartaric, low malic, low pH), excellent health and small berries with thick skins. Only some over-cropped Riesling grapes suffered from hydric stress and struggled to ripe properly. The weather was exceptional during the harvest, at the exception of 4 days of heavy rains (end September/early October).
The pinot noir and Muscat were harvested end of September. We waited October 6th to start again with all the other varieties. The weather was dry and consistently warm until late October. All Rieslings have a high acidity level (6 to 7g/l H2SO4) and good ripeness (from 12 to 15 potential alc). Valley floor vineyards (Herrenweg) produced d dry style Gewurztraminer; hillsides were much richer, culminating with VT's in the Goldert and Windsbuhl, and an SGN in the Heimbourg vineyard (1st since 1994!). Noble rot really spread massively on most Pinot-Gris vineyards. VT's were made in the Windsbuhl and Clos Jebsal, SGN's in the Rotenberg, Heimbourg, Jebsal and Clos Windsbuhl (the last one is a Trie Spéciale). Most wines are fermenting very slowly. As usual, no wine was chaptalized or inoculated with yeasts. The entire Domaine was cultivated in biodynamy. Average yields were 35,4 hl/ha.
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
WIP - Wine In Progress
Pinot d’Alsace 2005
Bottling date: 9/2007; Alcohol: ° alc; Residual sweetness: g/l; Yields: 56 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007/2010; Average age of the vines: 30 years; Surface: 2 ha; Terroir: Oligocene Calcareous and gravely soil. Indice 1.
With the vintage 2004 we started to produce again our classic Pinot d’Alsace blend (70% Auxerrois, 30% Pinot Blanc) from the Herrenweg vineyard (75%) and Rotenberg (25%). In 2004, the crop was slightly bigger and had an excellent acidity level, so those grapes didn’t need the additional structure from the Chardonnay grape from the Windsbuhl. In 2005, the crop is smaller, but the acidity levels were still very good, so we were able again to produce this wine from the same vineyards. The grapes were very healthy and very ripe, and, for reasons that I cannot explain, the fermentation was extremely slow, lingering over 15 months. The result is a relatively powerful and dry wine, showing an unusual power for this blend, but that’s 2005!
1/2007: WIP. This wine will only be racked in a few days! The ripeness and the perfect ‘2005’ structure of the Auxerrois/Pinot Blanc grapes have produced a rich, intense and aromatic wine. At the moment it is still dominated with young fermenting flavours, but it is easy to see through the wine lots of toasty and exotic aromas. The palate is not technically dry, but tastes like it. It clearly feels more like a dry Pinot-Gris, with a long finish. We will have to wait know for the wine to clarify before bottling in September 2007.
Bottling date: 9/2007; Alcohol: ° alc; Residual sweetness: g/l; Yields: 50 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007/2015; Average age of the vines: 23 years; Surface: 1 ha; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous (Jurassic) facing south and east. Indice 2.
In 2004 we decided to bottle separately the Chardonnay (65%) and the Auxerrois (35%) grapes from the Clos Windsbuhl. In fact, the other grapes on the estate didn’t need the extra help in structure from these grapes. The Zind 2004 really shows the calcareous influence: great acidity and minerality. This persuaded us to continue in 2005. The Zind 2005 only comes from the Clos Windsbuhl with the same % of grapes. 2005 is of course riper, but still very healthy and just like the Pinot d’Alsace, it finishes fermenting only now, in January 2007! Both Auxerrois and Chardonnay are located on a rocky calcareous soil, closer to the forest surrounding the Windsbuhl, which means they are in the coolest part of the Clos, allowing the grapes to keep good acidity.
1/2007: WIP. This wine just finished to ferment in the past week. The ripeness of the grapes is very similar to the Pinot d’Alsace, but it is a completely different wine. The nose is more complex, shows more minerality and develops this textbook chardonnay/calcareous combination of buttery/toasty aromas. The palate is still difficult to judge at this stage and I might be wrong in giving an indice 2 to this wine, as the palate is firm and hides the RS very well. Bottling in September 2007.
Muscat Herrenweg de Turckheim 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006, Alcohol: 12.2° alc, Residual sweetness: 16 g/l; Yields: 50 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2013; Average age of the vines: 50 years; Surface: 0.36 ha; Terroir: Gravely/silt; 30% Muscat d’Alsace, 70% Ottonel. Indice 2.
The Muscat grapes are located on the slightly richer gravely part of the Herrenweg vineyard, allowing the grapes to keep a slightly higher acidity. Herrenweg is also a very precocious area, most grapes can be picked quite early, which means that there is always more varietal character in those wines, and this is exactly what Muscat needs! The cool month of August allowed the grapes to retain this formidable aromatic intensity. September and October were very warm and ideal for maturation, without altering the acidity and freshness potential of the wine. This wine is made from very old vines, but in 2005 we planted 0.4ha of Muscat from our own missal selection. We must be amongst those very few wine producers in Alsace who believe in this difficult to make grape variety.
1/2007: The fermentation was quite fast (one month) and the wine clarified very quickly. Tasting this wine, we would never have believed that it kept 16g/l sweetness, as this wine shows such a fresh, fragrant and refreshing structure. The palate feels long and very well balanced, showing lots of grapey flavours. This wine is now fully open and ready to be enjoyed;
Muscat Goldert 2005
Bottling date: 2/2007; Alcohol: 12.6 ° alc; Residual sweetness: 16.4 g/l; Yields: 55 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2010-2018; Average age of the vines: 27 years; Surface: 0.23 ha; Terroir: Oolithic calcareous, facing East, gentle slope. 90 % Muscat d’Alsace, 10 % Ottonel. Indice 2
At the opposite of the Herrenweg vineyard, the Goldert fermented very slowly (14 months!) and is only starting to show its character now. The rich calcareous marl soil of the Goldert is capable of producing long lasting and firmly structured Muscats, but the influence of the 2005 vintage is clearly there: amazing acidity for this grape variety and Riesling like structure must have been the cause for such a slow development and fermentation. Just like in the Herrenweg, we also planted in 2005 a small parcel of Muscat in the Goldert, as we believe it is one of the greatest Muscat vineyards in Alsace.
1/2007: barely getting clear at this moment, this wine already shows a powerful nose, mixing minerality and stones with fresh exotic fruits. Not at all the classic Muscat nose. The palate is firm, and it is hard to believe this wine has 16g/l sweetness; such is the acidity present on the palate. Definitely a wine to age and let open. Should be delicious with spicy dishes.
Riesling Gueberschwihr 2005
Bottling: Feb/2007; Alcohol: 13.2 °alc; Residual sweetness: 14.6 g/l; Yields: 38 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period 2009-2020; Average age of vines: 31 years; Surface: .1.2 ha; Terroir: Limestone/calcareous/silicium, facing East and South. Gentle slope; Indice 1
This wine is made from the blending of 8 different small parcels dispersed all around the village of Gueberschwihr. Individually, they would all be interesting, but some years ago, we decided that we made enough different wines and also thought that it would be interesting to have a decent quantity of village wine. All those parcels share a common factor: they are all located on rich mixture of limestone and sandstone silicium, allowing fertile vine and great resistance to hydric stress. Like most wines in 2005, August helped the grapes to retain structure and acidity, while September brought the ripeness and flavours. This wine was harvested very ripe and healthy and fermented for 12 months.
1/2007: for many months it was hard to judge this wine, as it was relatively closed. As soon as it was racked, end of November, it became crystal clear and completely opened up, revealing a complex mineral/floral nose, ultra typical for the Riesling of this area. The palate seems completely dry, even the alcohol % is hard to guess, thanks to a great acidity. Delicious now, but will keep well.
Riesling Turckheim 2005
Bottling date: 2/2007; Alcohol: 12.8°alc; Residual sweetness: 24.2 g/l; Yields: 39 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2018; Average age of the vines: 22 years; Surface: 1.3 ha; Terroir: gravely soil/silt; granite and marl; Indice 3
Most of the Riesling Turckheim is made from vineyards planted between 1978 and 2001 in the granite soil of the Brand vineyard. In 2003, we stared to add a small vineyard of Riesling planted just under the Clos Jebsal, a stone throw from the Brand. Both vineyard are facing south and capture lots of sun intensity and heat, often resulting in very ripe grapes but also very open and aromatic Riesling style. The fermentation stopped quite early by our standards (after 2 months) keeping a certain amount of residual sweetness.
1/2007: this was one of the first Rieslings to be clear in 2005 and therefore was the one the easiest to taste young. The nose is exploding of fruits, lime-tree scents, acacia honey… very typical of this vineyard and announcing certain richness on the palate. At first, this wine leaves a lasting intense fruity sensation, quickly followed by a complex minerality and roundness. We hesitated a long time between an indice 2 and 3. Eventually we settled for 2 on the label, thinking that this is what this wine will be in 5-10 years from now.
Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim 2005 LOT148
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 12.93°alc; Residual sweetness: 3.9 g/l; Yields: 30.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2009-2020; Average age of the vines: 30 years; Surface: 2.4 ha; Terroir: gravely soil/silt; Indice 1
Hum, two lots of Herrenweg Riesling! How could we be more complicated? In fact, in the search of the perfect ripeness (sugar and phenolic), we decided to harvest this part of the Herrenweg (LOT 148) slightly later. Unfortunately, the Riesling Herrenweg LOT 144 had already started to ferment when we harvested this one, so we couldn’t blend them together at this stage. Later wasn’t possible either, because this wine fermented in one month only, completely dry, while the other one took over a year… The lot 148 comes from the Riesling vineyards located right against the cellar buildings in the Herrenweg. They are very gravely soils, precocious and warm.
1/2007: Usually, the Herrenweg Riesling is very aromatic and fragrant, showing lots of varietal characteristics. In 2005, this lot actually develops a mineral and stony nose, followed by a firm, DRY, almost austere palate which is more characteristic of a calcareous soil. We rarely make Riesling that dry at this ripeness!
Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim 2005 LOT144
Bottling date: Feb/2007; Alcohol: 12.44°alc; Residual sweetness: 14.7 g/l; Yields: 30.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2020; Average age of the vines: 30 years; Surface: 2.4 ha; Terroir: gravely soil/silt; Indice 2
This Lot 144 of the Riesling Herrenweg was harvested slightly earlier and had already started fermenting when the lot 148 was harvested. To make matters more complicated, this wine fermented over a year and kept some residual sweetness. At the end, we decided not to blend the two wines together in order to keep their totally different character intact. The lot 144 is located on the slightly richer part of the Herrenweg vineyard, where some very fine silt covers the pebbles and makes the soils slightly less warm. The result is a wine with similar ripeness, but with higher acidity, explaining why the yeasts took longer to ferment this wine.
1/2007: this wine shows the typical fruity, open nose of the Herrenweg Rieslings. Much more aromatic than Lot148, it is also more predictable on the palate: elegant, delicate, with a fine balance between the ripeness and the acidity. The residual sweetness can be detected, but will certainly blend in the wine very quickly.
Riesling Clos Häuserer 2005
Bottling: Feb 2007; Alcohol: 12.95 ° alc; Residual sweetness: 21.8 g/l; Yields: 29 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2009-2020+; Average age of vines: 32 years; Surface: 1.2 ha; Terroir: Calcareous Marl from the Oligocene period. Very gentle slope. Indice 2
The Clos Häuserer vineyard is located on the bottom of the Grand Cru Hengst in Wintzenheim, on a rich, deep, marl limestone soil. Planting Riesling in this Clos was a little bit a gamble for my father. Usually, Riesling prefers lighter, stonier, rocky soils that allow better ripeness and burn more the malic acidity. Riesling is also a fertile and vigorous grape variety, planting it in a rich soil can bring higher yields. Well, perhaps my father resented a climate change in 1973, the year this vineyard was planted, because today Riesling is perfectly adapted to this vineyard. (In fact, the Institut de la Recherche Agronomique in Colmar dates precisely a change in the climate in 1973 in Alsace. The climate is getting warmer of 0.06°C every year since that date). Like most other Riesling, this one fermented a full year.
1/2007: the Clos Hauserer 2005 develops a rich intense mineral nose. The grapes were harvested at very high level of ripeness, with a small presence of noble rot, which is not obvious on the nose, but explodes on the palate. Like most other wines in 2005, the sweetness is quite hard to detect on the nose but palatable on the finish. The high acidity gives a sensation of freshness and delicacy. A long lived wine!
Riesling Heimbourg 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 12.23 ° alc; Residual sweetness: 11.1g/l; Yields: 41 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2009-2020; Average age of the vines: 11 years; Surface: 1.06 ha; Terroir: Oligocene calcareous, facing south, southwest, steep slope. Indice 2
The Heimbourg vineyard covers 9ha on a steep calcareous hillside in Turckheim. Most of the vineyard is facing west, at the exception of a small steep (50% slope) south-south west facing part. This is we decided to plant the Riesling. The warm and dry micro climate is compensated by a relatively deep marl calcareous soil that takes lots of heat to warm up. The Riesling always ripens very well, but not any faster as some less sun exposed vineyards. The Heimbourg always manages to keep high acidity and, surprisingly, develops little botrytis. In 2005, the grapes were harvested very healthy, gold coloured with a classic ripeness. The fermentation lasted 3 months.
1/2007: the nose is relatively open for the Heimbourg, showing a mixture of stony flavours and delicate aromas of flowers. It is a relatively delicate style of Heimbourg; even though there is some sweetness, the finish is very clean and feels almost dry. This wine will gain enormously in aromatic presence if kept for a couple years.
Riesling Clos Windsbuhl 2005
Bottling date: 2/2007; Alcohol: 13.75° alc; Residual sweetness: 10.9 g/l; Yields: 33 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2008-2025+; Average age of the vines: 31 years; Surface: 0.9 ha; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous (Jurassic), facing southeast, medium/steep slope. Indice 1.
The Clos Windsbuhl is located on the top of the village of Hunawihr, on a poor old calcareous hill, overlooking the Alsace valley. It enjoys a relatively cool climate, due to the altitude (350m) and the proximity of the forest, which explains often a certain delicacy and richness in the wines. The Riesling 2005 was harvested very ripe, with some botrytis (15%) and a fabulous ripe acidity. The fermentation lasted until December 2006 without stopping at any moment. Because of the high acidity, I never expected this wine to ferment this much. Today, it is still resting on its total fermenting lees, completely clear and stable. This is one of the wine of 2005 that makes me think that biodynamic works. The old vines of Rieslings are planted on the poorest part of the Clos, and biodynamic practices completely rejuvenated the vines.
1/2007: fabulous dense rich complex nose (fruits, flowers, lots of wet stones and minerals). You have understood: I really like this wine a lot. Making dry Riesling (sorry, it does taste dry) from high acidity and high ripeness grapes is certainly the most difficult thing to do for wild yeasts. The palate is even more powerful, firm and continues to develop much after the wine is swallowed. It can only get better, if only some bottles will be kept!
Riesling Brand 2005
Bottling date: 2/2007; Alcohol: 15.49° alc; Residual sweetness: 7g/l; Yields: 26 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2010-2030+; Average age of the vines: 55 years; Surface: 1 ha; Terroir: Biotite granite, facing south. Strong slope. Indice 1.
Only the two oldest vineyards in the Brand are used to make this wine. They are located in the middle of the hill, on a steep South slope, made of poor old granite. Poor? Only in appearance, as this granite is made of black mica, which is broken down into high quality clay, capable of adsorbing lots of minerals, under the action of the micro-organisms in the soil. (A dead soil can’t make terroir wine). Those grapes were harvested at very high level of ripeness and we did mark the cask (unfortunately too small!) as a vendange tardive. I have often seen wines going in a completely opposite direction than what I expected, but here, the Brand left me speechless. Not only the fermentation lasted 15 months, but the yeasts transformed all the sugars, making a dry wine. At the time I ordered the wine labels, I still thought that it will definitely keep some sweetness, but I was wrong. Does it work? Yes, it is a fabulous wine.
1/2007: the nose is still under the strong influence of the fermentation and the long lees contact, but it is possible to see really powerful complex fruits emerging from the wine. Brand is usually open and aromatic in its youth; here it is more mineral and profound than overtly sexy. The palate is simply stunning. The nose can be quite fooling as one could expect a sweet wine. Rich, powerful, intense and long but with this delicacy not other grape than Riesling can bring! Dry finish.
Riesling Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 13.3 ° alc; Residual sweetness: 4.3 g/l; Yields: 27 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2010-2030+; Average age of the vines: 43 years; Surface: 2.1 ha; Terroir: Sedimentary volcanic rocks, facing south, very steep slope. Indice 1
The Rangen vineyard is located at a high altitude (350m-450m) and close to the Vosges Mountains, so despite its steep south facing exposition, the grapes do take longer to ripen. The volcanic soil, covered with big chunks of dark heavy rocks, help to compensate the cooler climate by bringing more heat and sun reverberation to the grapes in October. They are also responsible of the distinctive flinty and smoky character of the wines from this vineyard. In 2005, the grapes were harvested with little botrytis, good acidity and very small yields. Just like the Brand, the fermentation was very powerful, making a very dry wine, but in record time, as it was completed in just one month.
1/2007: since this wine was clear since January 2006 and bottled in September 2006, the nose is now very open but only shows strong minerals, in a certain austerity. It is not an extravagant Rangen, on the opposite, the earthy, smoky character in this wine is enhanced in 2005. The palate feels very dry and rich, almost austere, begging for time and air. Very classic Riesling style with a huge minerality.
Pinot-Gris Thann 2005
Bottling date: 2/2007; Alcohol: 12.5° alc; Residual sweetness: 42.7 g/l; Yields: 52.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2008-2020+; Average age of the vines: 25 years; Surface: 0.6 ha; Terroir: Sedimentary volcanic rocks. South facing, very steep slope. Indice 3
My father Léonard acquired most of the Clos Saint Urbain vineyard from the Yung family in 1977. Other parcels were purchased or exchanged in the 1980s but most had to be planted. Usually, younger vines are declassified in our varietal Pinot Gris, but in 2005 we felt that those vines planted between 1978 and 1989 deserved to be bottled separately. It is still the same steep, volcanic, south facing vineyard, so it is totally normal to see the same vineyard characteristic and family resemblance to the Rangen wines. The grapes were harvested very ripe with a huge acidity and some noble rot. Surprisingly, it was the longest fermenting Pinot Gris in 2005 at the exception of some SGNs.
1/2007: This wine fermented such a long time that I honestly thought that it would actually be much drier. The acidity is so intense and crisp that it balances the RS, creating a harmonious and delicate palate. The flavours, both on the nose and palate, reveal the volcanic origin: there is lots of smoke, minerals and waxy aromas. Delicious today, it can gain more complexity with some age.
Pinot-gris Herrenweg de Turckheim 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 13.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 54.7 g/l; Yields: 28 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2020; Average age of the vines: 14 years; Surface: 1.2 ha; Terroir: gravely soil on valley floor. Indice 4
The Herrenweg vineyard is located on the valley floor between Wintzenheim and Turckheim, right at the end of a relatively large valley: the Munster Valley. It is a very dry and sunny area, as it gets longer sunshine hours during the day (no shadows from the mountains). The precocity of this vineyard is increased by the fact that the light gravely soil warms up very quickly. Harvest starts usually very early. In a vintage like 2005, this means that it is possible to bring in grapes that are fully ripe, but also packed with ripe flavours and fresh acidity (look at the Riesling!). This Pinot Gris was harvested at an exceptional ripeness, typical Vendange Tardive like. We decided not to sell it as a VT, because it is a delicious wine to drink now, more fruit driven than botrytis influenced.
1/2007: this wine is bottled since September 2006 and had the time to really open up. It exhibits wonderful ripe fruity flavours (apricots, citrus, and plums) mixed with classier cocoa/toffee aromas typical of PG. The palate says it all: it is a rich elegant wine, showing with no detour its vendange tardive richness. The sweetness is there, but nicely balanced with a firm acidity.
Pinot-gris Vieilles Vignes 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14° alc; Residual sweetness: 28.9 g/l; Yields: 25 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2020+; Average age of the vines: 60 years; Surface: 0.5 ha; Terroir: gravely soil on valley floor. Indice 3
The Pinot Gris Vieilles vignes is made from 2 vineyards planted in the early 1950’s by my Zind grand parents. They are both located on the edge of the Herrenweg, on a similar gravely valley floor situation. This is where we select all our Pinot Gris cuttings for massal selections, because they are unique cultivars growing only one small cluster per shoot. They are very low yielding vines, capable of producing very rich and intense wines. We do not produce a Pinot Gris Vieilles Vignes every year, but 2005 was an outstanding vintage for this grape variety, and this wine deserved to be kept aside. Even though it was harvested quite early, the grapes were very ripe, thanks to some noble rot, which explains why the yeasts couldn’t ferment this wine dry.
1/2007: this wine is now showing classic nutty, toasty, honeyed Pinot Gris flavours. It shows its origin very well as the wine is already very open and enjoyable. The palate is very complex (old vines!), long with a harmonious finish. Clearly not dry, but hide its power and richness very well.
Pinot-Gris Rotenberg 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 34.4g/l; Yields: 22 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2020+; Average age of vines: 24 years; Surface: 1.2 ha; Terroir: Oligocene calcareous. West to Northwest facing. Strong slope. Indice 3
The Rotenberg vineyard (‘Red Hill’) is located on the other side of the Hengst GC hill, facing North West, but on a similar young calcareous mother rock. The main difference is that there is much less marl on the top of the calcareous base, and therefore it is a much poorer soil, very well suited to the Pinot Gris cultivar. The abundance of iron gives the soil a dark red colour. The exposition allows botrytis to develop intensely (fog in the morning-sun in the evening), and in a vintage like 2005, botrytis just conquered all the grapes like bees on flowers. The exceptional late October weather allowed for noble rot, which we selected to make an SGN. This wine was made from the few healthy grapes left on the vines.
1/2007: the fermentation lasted a couple months and stopped: too much richness for the yeasts! The nose is a mixture of minerals, humus and fresh fruits flavours. Not as open yet as the VV, but certainly more complex. The palate is really rich, with strong evidence of noble rot and roundness. Like most 2005s, it does hide its richness in a beautiful harmonious finish. Too keep!
Pinot-Gris Heimbourg 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14.9° alc; Residual sweetness: 24.9 g/l; Yields: 21 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2020+; Average age of the vines: 20 years; Terroir: calcareous and marl, facing west – North West; Indice 3
This vineyard enjoyed similar conditions as the Rotenberg in 2005. The botrytis took it in way that it was almost impossible not to make an SGN! The very few berries left healthy produced a semi dry wine after two months struggle for the yeast to ferment as much sugar as I could have hoped for. The Pinot Gris is planted in the highest part of the Heimbourg. The vines are exposed to more wind, excellent in drying the botrytis, but also struggling to grow on a shallower soil, reducing the yields dramatically.
1/2007: the fermentation was actually very powerful. The nose feels more mineral, stony, and the long lees contact influence is still very strong. This wine is clearly showing a lot on the nose now, but experiments show that it is at its best almost a week after being open. The palate has the entire rigor expected from a calcareous soil: acidity, power and a certain austerity that stops the sweetness of being to easy.
Pinot-Gris Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 15.3° alc; Residual sweetness: 27.6 g/l; Yields: 26 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2008-2025+; Average age of the vines: 36 years; Surface: 2.3 ha; Terroir: Sedimentary volcanic rocks. South facing, very steep slope. Indice 3
Rangen is by far our most difficult vineyard to work. Even Nikita (our horse) refuses to climb it and wants to go down the slope, obliging us to use a winch and pull up the ploughs when we cultivate the soil. Grass is not always an option, as the Rangen is made of a very poor volcanic sedimentary soil – big, broken chunks of dark heavy angular rocks – that can be very dry in summer, not allowing any competition to the vines. What is exceptional here is that this rock does break down eventually and manages to produce some very small amount of high minerals content clay that gets trapped in the deeper cracks of the soil. Of course, the roots of the vines can only get there after many years of struggles, but once there; they are growing very well and become stress resistant. The 2005 shows some botrytis, but significantly less than the vineyards located around Turckheim. The fermentation was fast and powerful.
1/2007: there is no other vineyard amongst our portfolio that is capable of leaving such an imprint on the wine. The nose shows the classic flinty/smoky aromas of the volcanic soil, mixed with white fruits and humus. It is actually less aggressive than usual and possesses this harmony and delicacy so typical of 2005. The palate is long, powerful, hiding the sweetness very well.
Gewurztraminer Wintzenheim 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14.8° alc; Residual sweetness: 7.3 g/l; Yields: 50 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2015+; Average age of the vines: 48 years; Surface: 2.15 ha; Terroir: gravely soil and calcareous marls; Indice 1
This wine is made every year from the classic blend of our younger vines in the Hengst vineyard (planted 1978-1985) and an old vineyard located just outside the Village of Wintzenheim that was planted in the early 50’s. Blending gravely with calcareous soil produces a gewürztraminer that combines structure/acidity and aromas/richness. In 2005 we were able to harvest the two vineyards the same day and therefore they were pressed together. Gewurztraminer can often have a relatively low acidity, but like all the other wines in 2005, it is perfectly balanced.
1/2007: the nose is slightly less perfume/rose scented than the ‘varietal’ gewürztraminer and starts to show great spicy/peppery aromas. The palate is very seductive, hiding the alcohol very well. It feels really dry, intense in a ‘none’ aggressive’ way. This is the perfect wine for Asian/spicy dishes, or just a simple grilled chilli marinated chicken breast.
Gewurztraminer Gueberschwihr 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14.2° alc; Residual sweetness: 10.9 g/l; Yields: 56 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2015+; Average age of the vines: 22 years; Surface: 0.2 ha; Terroir: calcareous limestone; Indice 1
After swapping some vineyards in Gueberschwihr in 2004 to obtain more Muscat Goldert, we ended up with only one very small vineyard planted in Gewurztraminer. It is located just next to the GC Goldert, on a gently East facing marl/silicium soil. It clearly will never reach the level of complexity of the famous adjacent vineyard, but often manages to produce a rich classic spicy style of Gewurztraminer, in which case we bottle it separately. The 2005 reached good ripeness and managed to ferment very well, keeping a low residual sweetness.
1/2007: classic rose/litchi and spicy nose with a certain minerality and restriction that is typical of slightly heavier soils. The palate is beautifully balanced, shows good acidity and a delicate finish. It is hard to detect sweetness there, but it doesn’t finish too dry either, which helps to hide the expected tannins one can find in this grape variety. Also a great food wine.
Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 15° alc; Residual sweetness: 12.1 g/l; Yields: 26.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2007-2020; Average age of the vines: 52 years; Surface: 3.85 ha; Terroir: gravely soil on valley floor; Indice 2
Traditionally, the gravely soil of the Herrenweg was mostly planted with the Gewurztraminer grape variety. The lighter, warmer and precocious soil would help this grape variety to reach a certain level of ripeness, in order to develop complex aromas (physiologically unripe Gewurztraminer can taste like pharmacy!). Unfortunately, Gewurztraminer is also a grape variety that often lacks acidity and is therefore more at home in calcareous soils. Fortunately, as the vines get older, roots go deeper also and the grapes can reach a good balance. There is always a big difference in quality between young and mature vines in this vineyard, and I can only be grateful to my parents and grand/parents for having planted many vineyards in the 50’s and 60’s and kept them! The 2005 reached an ideal ripeness (VT is not an objective here) and the wine fermented quickly.
1/2007: the 2005 is showing much more minerality and spices than usual. The grapes were quite healthy with less than 15% botrytis, which explain the precise nose. The palate is powerful, with intense smoked meat, flowers, cinnamon… aromas with a relatively gentle and slightly round finish. Ready to be appreciated now, it will continue to open nicely for the next years.
Gewurztraminer Heimbourg 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14° alc; Residual sweetness: 42.5 g/l; Yields: 28.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2009-2020; Average age of vines: planted in 1983; Surface: 1 ha; Terroir: Oligocene calcareous, facing west, medium to strong slope. Indice 3
Just like the Pinot Gris, and for the first time in this Gewurztraminer vineyard since 1989, there was enough botrytis on the grapes to allow us to produce an SGN. The vineyard westerly orientation may help the development of botrytis, but Gewürztraminer has tough and botrytis resistant skins, so we were obliged to search every single berry affected by noble rot for the SGN, leaving almost none for this wine. Nevertheless, the healthy grapes still reached a very high level of ripeness despite the absence of the noble rot and the fermentation stopped after a few months, keeping a significant sweetness in the wine.
1/2007: I expected a delicate aromatic wine in this vineyard in 2005. Well, delicate and harmonious it is, but since there is no botrytis influence, the powerful calcareous character dominates the wine. The nose shows strong meaty, smoky, stony aromas, almost austere. The palate comes as a total surprise. One doesn’t expect as much richness from the nose. The finish is well balanced with good acidity and sweetness will guarantee a long life to this wine. Desperately needs to be carafed before being served.
Gewurztraminer Hengst 2005
Bottling date : 9/2006; Alcohol: 14.4° alc; Residual sweetness: 37.5 g/l; Yields: 29.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period : 2009-2030+; Average age of the vines : 54 years; Surface : 1.42 ha; Terroir : Marl-oligocen calcareous. South-south-east facing, medium to strong slope. Indice 3
Only the two oldest vineyards are used to produce the Hengst. There is nothing wrong with the 2 that go into the Wintzenheim bottling, but they are a world behind the oldest vines. Marl calcareous soil is perhaps the most classical choice for this grape variety, but they can sometimes be very rich, making it more difficult to naturally educe the yields, and Gewurztraminer, more than any other variety in Alsace, becomes dull and diluted when over-cropped. Old vines have many advantages, but the main one is to be able to grow deeper in a less organic rich soil and therefore produce less clusters and smaller and richer berries. Due to its south-east bearing and very dry micro climate, the Hengst vineyard doesn’t develop much botrytis, but can still reach very high levels of ripeness, like in 2005. Hengst is one of the rare vineyards capable of fermenting dry a rich Gewurztraminer, but that was impossible in 2005.
1/2007: amazingly open and aromatic, showing delicate old English roses aromas and lots of oriental spices. Again, the nose doesn’t prepare the taster for the rich/long palate. The class of this great terroir really helps to keep everything in harmony and balance. There is evidently a lot of sweetness there, enough to justify an indice 4, if it wouldn’t be for the structure brought by the calcareous soil. Superb now, but really, please, try to re-taste it in 10 years+.
Gewurztraminer Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain 2005
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14.7° alc; Residual sweetness: 47.2 g/l; Yields: 19.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2009-2030+; Average age of the vines: 42 years; Surface: 0.5 ha; Terroir: Sedimentary volcanic rocks. South facing, very steep slope; Indice 4
Gewurztraminer is the smallest grape variety represented in the Clos Saint Urbain. The higher altitude of this vineyard makes it more difficult for this grape to flower homogenously, unless it is planted right next to the river that runs only meters under the vines. The river ‘Thur’ is about 30 yards wide and is important enough to create a warmer micro climate. In October, it will also generate more humidity to help the development of botrytis/noble rot, which was quite important in 2005. The volcanic terroir of the Rangen is the only non calcareous based soil that is capable of really dominating the extravagant Gewurztraminer grape and also capable to produce wine with great ageing potential. The 2005 was harvested at very high maturity level and we came close to label it as a Vendange Tardive.
1/2007: as always, the Rangen vineyard dominates the grape variety, but this time, the flinty/smoky character is tempered with a lot of ripe white fruits and oriental spices. Definitely influence by the presence of botrytis. It is a very aromatic nose, in a way easier to understand than the 2004 vintage for example. The palate is very rich and dense, unctuous, where the sweetness is perfectly balanced with great vineyard character and power.
Pinot-Gris Clos Jebsal 2005 Vendange Tardive
Bottling date 9/2006; Alcohol: 14° alc; Residual sweetness: 80 g/l; Yields: 37 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2010-2030+; Average age of the vines: 22 years; Surface: 1.3 ha; Terroir: Grey marls and gypsum. South facing, very steep slope.
The Clos Jebsal must enjoy one of the warmest microclimate in Alsace. This small monopole vineyard is located between two geological faults, on a very steep south facing exposition. Protected from most winds, the temperatures can rise quickly, which makes the Jebsal our single most precocious vineyard. It is adjacent to the Brand and Heimbourg vineyards, but has a completely different soil structure: rich grey marl on top of a gypsum mother rock. This kind of soil is actually very rich, deep, stress resistant and takes ages to warm up, creating a very interesting contrast with its microclimate that provokes the development of noble rot every single vintage. 2005 is no exception! The noble rot was intense enough on the grapes that we were able to make an SGN and this VT. Classic fermentation, quite powerful (14%+5% pot) and good acidity.
1/2007: the Jebsal is often quite closed and austere in its youth, but the 2005 seems exceptionally open and aromatic, showing a lot of botrytis influence (cacao, honey, wax) and classic Pinot-Gris aromas (toffee, toasty bread, white fruits). The palate is very elegant, doesn’t feel too powerful and hides the huge botrytis presence. Built for ageing a long time, it is also quite enjoyable now.
Pinot-Gris Clos Windsbuhl 2005 Vendange Tardive
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 13.3° alc; Residual sweetness: 91 g/l; Yields: 32.5 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2010-2030+; Average age of the vines: 28 years; Surface: 1 ha; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous, south to southeast facing. Medium slope.
The Clos Windsbuhl is located on a small 16 acres hill above the village of Hunawihr. It enjoys a less precocious climate which is reinforced by the poor calcareous soil. The Clos Windsbuhl produces delicate wines with great acidity balance, even if they can reach sometimes very high level of ripeness due to noble rot. 2005 is a wonderful vintage for Windsbuhl. The grapes reached perfect ripeness and acidity balance, and just before harvest, the noble rot transformed the grapes into small rich sweet little berries. The Pinot-Gris produced a selection de Grains Noble and a Vendange Tardive in 2005. The textbook and easy fermentation lead to a classic 13%+6%pot balance.
1/2007: the nose already shows all the aromatic potential of the wine: a combination of honey, apricots, wax and the classic Windsbuhl minerality. I expect this wine to develop much more in the future, in the direction of the great 2002 or 1994. The palate is still compact (that’s the character of 2005!) almost refusing to reveal the huge sweetness. The aromatics are just a continuity of the nose with perhaps even more stony mineral effect. A wine to keep!
Gewurztraminer Goldert 2005 Vendange Tardive
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14.8° alc; Residual sweetness: 48.4 g/l; Yields: 35 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2009-2025+; Average age of the vines: 22 years; Surface: 0.6 ha; Terroir: Oolithic calcareous facing East. Gentle slope.
The Goldert Grand Cru vineyard was always famous for its rich and intense gewürztraminers. It is almost hard to imagine this modest gentle sloping vineyard, east facing, capable of producing concentrated noble rot affected grapes. The cooler climate of the village of Gueberschwihr allows the grapes to ripe slowly, develop strong flower scented aromas and guarantees always a good acidity balance. The pure calcareous soil will eventually bring the Grand Cru dimension to the wine by adding the structure necessary to balance the botrytis and sweetness of the grapes. The noble rot developed late in 2005, but intensely.
1/2007: this wine is only a hint richer than the Rangen but eventually qualified as a VT because of the evident botrytis influence on the nose: strong roasted ‘roti’ character and spices typical of a calcareous soil (smoked meat, leather, saffron…). Of course, there is also the classic rose/litchi fruit, but less evident than usual in this vineyard. The palate is firm and powerful, with again strong evidence of botrytis in a relatively not so sweet palate.
Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl 2005 Vendange Tardive
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 14.4° alc; Residual sweetness: 74 g/l; Yields: 32 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2008-2030+; Average age: 35 years; Surface: 0.9 ha; Terroir: : Muschelkalk calcareous, south to southeast facing. Medium slope.
This is only the second Gewurztraminer VT that we made in the Windsbuhl (2001 was the first one). The higher altitude of the Windsbuhl and its late ripening situation, with the fact that Gewurztraminer is naturally botrytis resistant (thick skins) explain why this vineyard rarely develops enough noble rot. October 2005 was really hot and followed a short period of humidity end of September, creating ideal conditions for optimal ripeness and botrytis development in most vineyards, but mostly in the less precocious sites like the Windsbuhl. There was no selection of clusters in 2005, everything was very ripe.
1/2007: The 2005 has a rich intense fruity nose, just a concentrate of Windsbuhl! The delicate calcareous soil allows this wine to be much more open and aromatic than the Goldert. The palate is in total harmony with a round sweet character and delicate minerality. The spicy character of the Gewurztraminer grape is here balanced by the unctuous botrytis influence.
Pinot-Gris Heimbourg 2005 Sélection de Grains Nobles
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 10° alc; Residual sweetness: 219 g/l; Yields: 8 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2010-20? Average age of the vines : 20 years; Terroir :calcareous and marl, facing west – north west.
The west facing Heimbourg vineyard enjoys ideal conditions for noble rot development, especially in 2005. Planted on the top part of the hill, where the soil is the poorest and the calcareous mother rock close to the surface, the Pinot-Gris produces low yields and always has a good to high acidity. When botrytis develops quickly, in just a few days like in 2005, the concentration effect is even stronger. We selected the noble rot affected grapes towards the end of September. This was the first SGN 2005 to stop its fermentation in winter and was then bottled in September 2006.
1/2007: the nose shows ultra intense botrytis, bee wax, honey, resin aromas. The Pinot-Gris remains recognisable with its apricots/white aromas. The nose also gives strong hints of a formidable acidity. The huge sweetness doesn’t come as a surprise on the palate, but the effect of the firm acidity is! The higher the acidity, the earlier the wild yeasts will stop to ferment, creating a harmonious balance. Very long finish. A wine that should keep forever…
Gewurztraminer Heimbourg 2005 Sélection de Grains Nobles
Bottling date: 9/2006; Alcohol: 12° alc; Residual sweetness: 240 g/l; Yields: 8 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2010-20? Average age of vines : planted in 1983; Surface : 1 ha; Terroir : Oligocen calcareous, facing west, medium to strong slope.
The Gewurztraminer is planted on the bottom part of the west facing side of the Heimbourg. It enjoys a more protected situation from the winds, a much deeper/richer marl/calcareous soil allowing the noble rot to develop intensely in some vintages. Gewurztraminer is also a grape variety that has extremely thick skins; it therefore is more resistant to botrytis, which explains why we do produce more often SGN in the Pinot-Gris grape variety. In 2005, the intensity of the noble rot, and more importantly, the excellent weather forecast gave us the opportunity to select an SGN in this vineyard. Last time was in 1989! Since the acidity balance is perfect, we were very selective, knowing that the wine could handle a very high sugar concentration. The only drawback is that the production is microscopic: only 1000 half bottles were produced from 1 ha. The wine fermented very well for a wine of this richness and the final balance (12%+14%pot) is incredible.
1/2007: the nose shows an unbelievable delicacy: old roses, litchi, orange marmalade, candied fruits and great honeyed aromas. It is not overpowering but suggests some rich mouth to follow. The palate hides the sweetness very well behind a soft velvety structure, and, just like the nose, shows a full range of sweet fruits. The high acidity must help to balance this wine. It is delicious today, but has a life long potential.
Pinot-Gris Rotenberg 2005 Sélection de Grains Nobles
Bottling date : ?/?; Alcohol:° alc; Residual sweetness: g/l; Yields: 8 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period :2015-20??; Average age of vines : 24 years; Surface :1.2 ha; Terroir : Oligocen calcareous. West to Northwest facing. Strong slope.
Just like the Heimbourg vineyard, the Rotenberg enjoyed very similar climate conditions due to an almost identical topography. The crop was slightly smaller and therefore the richness of the SGN is even higher. This red calcareous soil is located on a very late ripening area, so the grapes always acquire a fantastic acidity balance. In great vintages, when the weather forecast is good (SGNs take a lot of time to harvest!), the harvesters doing the SGNs are told to be as severe as possible, in order to obtain a must as rich as possible. When the acidity is not high, we would keep 10 to 15% healthy grapes in order to give some freshness to the final wine. The 2005 is so rich, that it almost made it into a Trie Spéciale (above 200 Oechslés).
1/2007: this wine just stopped fermenting in its little ‘demi-muy’ (a 600 litres round cask). I still do not know the final balance, but I suspect that the finished alcohol level is below 8% and the RS must be well above 300g/l. The nose is still quite influenced by the recent fermentation, but already shows strong white fruits flavours (pears, ripe apples, peach…) and apricots. The acidity, quite sharp, manages to control the huge sweetness. Warning, this is a rich wine, but it has a wonderful delicate feel. It will be bottled in September 2007 and only more precise tasting notes can be made.
Pinot-Gris Clos Jebsal 2005 Sélection de Grains Nobles
Bottling date 2/2007; Alcohol: 7° alc; Residual sweetness: 306.5 g/l; Yields: 8 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-20??+; Average age of the vines: 22 years; Surface: 1.3 ha; Terroir: Grey marls and gypsum. South facing, very steep slope.
Little did we know when we planted this little Clos in 1983, that it would become such a classic and consistent SGN/VT vineyard? Certainly the micro climate (warm, wind protected and precocious) and the soil characteristics (rich marl/gypsum with good water reserves) create ideal conditions for the development of noble rot. The fact that the grapes ripen early, give us more opportunities to select the grapes and therefore, be less dependant on the weather. The rich soil also ensures great acidity balance. The selection was easy in this vineyard, as a high percentage of the clusters were botrytis affected. The result is a rich wine, that took 9 months to reach 7% alc, and that is a good result! This wine benefited from extra months of ‘elevage’ in its little ‘foudre’ (traditional oval cask) and will be bottled in February 2007.
1/2007: just a few weeks before bottling, this wine already shows beautiful fruity, honeyed, waxy, apricots flavours, but also a great vineyard minerality which is hard to imagine at this level of richness. All the ingredients (sweetness, acidity, alcohol) are now nicely integrated; the wine is clear, ready for bottling. Like any other SGN in 2005, it has a wonderful balance and delicacy. Endless ageing potential…
Pinot-Gris Clos Windsbuhl 2005 Sélection de Grains Nobles Trie Spéciale
Bottling date: /? Alcohol: ?° alc; Residual sweetness: ??? G/l; Yields: 8 hl/ha; Optimum drinking period: 2015-2???+; Average age of the vines: 28 years; Surface: 1 ha; Terroir: Muschelkalk calcareous, south to southeast facing. Medium slope.
This is our third Trie Spéciale produced at the Domaine (Clos Jebsal 1994 and 2002). It reached an amazing 218 Oechslés (about 33% potential alc). Like all its predecessors, this one is no exception to the rule: the fermentation will take years, as the huge acidity and sweetness is giving serious headaches to the poor yeasts trying to survive in this hostile environment. So far, even if the wine has been consistently active since the harvest, I suspect that there is only a few % alcohol at this stage and that it will barely reach 6-7% at the end. The Clos Windsbuhl is not a vineyard that produces regularly VT/SGNs as it is more dependant on the climatic conditions of the few days before the harvest than vineyards like Rotenberg/Heimbourg or Clos Jebsal. In 2005, all the conditions were united for a perfect and maximum development of noble rot.
1/2007: WIP: it is still hard to describe this wine as it feels like it was harvested yesterday! The nose is just an intense fruit cocktail, dominated by apples and a bracing acidity. I know that it isn’t possible to ‘smell’ acidity, but all the markers are here to make one’s brain think of it. The palate is still too dominated by the slow fermentation characters to distinguish any vineyard or other complex aromas. The richness is amazing, and I can’t wait to be able to see the ‘real’ wine coming out.
Léonard et Olivier HUMBRECHT, Propriétaires-Viticulteurs
4, route de Colmar – F 68230 TURKCHEIM
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