White, Ready, but will keep

2010 Gewürztraminer Furstentum, Domaine Weinbach

2010 Gewürztraminer Furstentum, Domaine Weinbach

White | Ready, but will keep | Domaine Weinbach | Code: 13118 | 2010 | France > Alsace > Grand Cru Alsace | Gewürztraminer | Full Bodied, Medium | 13.5 % alcohol

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The Producer

Domaine Weinbach

Domaine Weinbach

Named after the “Wine Brook”, a little stream that flows through the wine estate, Domaine Weinbach was founded by the Capucin monks in 1612. The house is surrounded by the original 9th Century monastic vineyard, the Clos du Capucin and all of the estate’s wines are now labelled with its name.

Two Faller brothers acquired the estate in 1898 and this was duly inherited by Théo Faller. Sadly Théo died in 1979 leaving his estate in the safe hands of a Faller Triumvirate: his wife Colette and his two daughters, Cathy and Laurence – who all contribute to the continued development of Théo’s great legacy. Staggeringly Domaine Weinbach owns 26 hectares of vineyards in the Kaysersberg valley in the Haut-Rhin of Alsace at between 200 to 400 metres above sea level.

They grow their vineyards organically with a view to quality rather than quantity and hand pick the grapes. Only their grapes are vinified unlike many other producers in Alsace who frequently have to buy them in. Each vineyard has its own specific terroir which, along with the other unique characteristics of grape and vintage, shimmer through these elegant and sophisticated wines thanks to their passive ageing in large old oak fuders.

The Grape

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is a high quality white grape which produces classic varietal wines in the Alsace region of France.

It is the second most widely planted grape in Alsace and the most widely planted in the Haut-Rhin where it is particularly well suited to the clay-rich soils found in the Vosges foothills. It is normally fermented dry and produces golden, medium to full-bodied wine with heady aromas of lychees, rose petals and white peaches.

It attains naturally high sugar levels far in excess of Riesling and this makes it ideal for sweet, late harvest wines. These can be unctuously sweet and luscious and the best can last for decades. Rieffel, Hugel and Zind Humbrecht consistently produce the finest Gewürztraminer wines in Alsace.

It is also planted in Germany (specifically in the Rheinpfalz and Baden regions), Austria, the Alto Adige in Italy and to a lesser extent in Australia, New Zealand and California. Gerwürz means spice in German, although this pink-skinned grape tends to produce exotically perfumed rather than spice laden wines.

The Region

Grand Cru Alsace

The Grand Cru system in Alsace was introduced in 1983, with the first 25 vineyards classified at that time. It denotes a wine from a single named vineyard site, from a single vintage, and from one of the four permitted varieties: Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer or Pinot Gris.

The maximum permitted yields are distinctively lower than for those of the basic appellation Alsace, (70 hectoliters per hectare versus 55 hectoliters per hectare). Wines undergo an official technical analysis and certification before release.

The system currently recognises 50 Grand Cru sites. Certain vineyards have always enjoyed an undeniable reputation for the high quality of their wines, thanks to the unique combination of soil, topography and the aspect of their site. The Grand Cru system encompasses the following:

Bas-Rhin: Altenberg de Bergbieten, Bruderthal, Engelberg Frankstein, Kastelberg, Kirchberg de Barr , Moenchberg, Muenchberg (fantastic Riesling and Pinot Gris from André Ostertag), Praelatenberg, Steinklotz, Winzenberg

Haut-Rhin: Brand (Turckheim, 57.95 hectares) is one of the most acclaimed Grands Crus, with top wines, particularly Gewürztraminer, from Zind-Humbrecht. In Goldert, Zind-Humbrecht is amongst the top growers, showcasing superb Muscats, while Hengst also features classy wines from Zind-Humbrecht. At Rangen, Zind-Humbrecht coaxes superb wines from this well-known Grand Cru site

As well as: Altenberg de Bergheim, Altenberg de Wolxheim, Eichberg, Florimont, Froehn, Furstentum, Geisberg, Gloeckelberg, Hatschbourg, Kanzlerberg, Kessler (excellent Gewürztraminer), Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé, Kitterlé, Mambourg, Mandelberg, Marckrain, Ollwiller, Osterberg, Pfersigberg Pfingstberg, Rosacker (on wine labels appears as lieux-dit Clos Sainte Hune, owned by Trimbach), Saering (famed for its Rieslings), Schlossberg, Schoenenberg, Sommerberg, Sonnenglanz, Spiegel, Sporen, Steinert, Steingrubler, Vorbourg, Wiebelsberg, Wineck-Schlossberg, Zinnkoepflé, Zotzenberg.

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