This dry riesling masterpiece is full of seeming contradictions that give it a sense of mystery you very rarely find. So rich and concentrated, yet also astonishingly vivid and precise, the aromas range from smoke to roses, although the most obvious note is the peachy one up front. Breathtakingly long and complete finish with so much mineral complexity. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Aug 2021)
About this WINE
Domaine Zind Humbrecht
The wines of Olivier Humbrecht M.W. need little introduction, possessing great depth, exactitude as well as generosity…like the man himself.
The Humbrecht family viticultural roots can be traced back to The Thirty Years War of 1620. Today they own forty hectares across five villages in the Haut-Rhin, the southern half of the picturesque vineyards overlapping the Vosges foothills, treasured for its idyllic climate, tapestry of terroirs as much for its half-timbered houses.
The domaine has vines in 4 Grands Crus - Rangen (Thann) 5.5 ha, Brand (Turckheim) 2.4 ha, Hengst (Wintzenheim) 1.4 ha, Goldert (Gueberschwihr) 0.9 ha as well as Single Vineyards; Rotenberg (Wintzenheim) 1.8 ha, Clos Häuserer (Wintzenheim) 1.2 ha, Herrenweg (Turkheim) 11.5 ha, Clos Jebsal (Turkheim) 1.3 ha, Heimbourg (Turkheim) 4 ha and Clos Windsbuhl (Hunawihr) 5.2 ha.
Olivier has arguably overseen the most notable improvements in the estate’s illustrious history: a new cellar in 1992 while retaining the traditional ‘foudre’ oval barrels; initiating biodynamic practices in 1997 (certified in 2002); and the buying of a horse in 2006 to plough the vineyards!
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.
Riesling's twin peaks are its intense perfume and its piercing crisp acidity which it manages to retain even at high ripeness levels.
In Germany, Riesling constitutes around 20% of total plantings, yet it is responsible for all its greatest wines. It is planted widely on well-drained, south-facing slate-rich slopes, with the greatest wines coming from the best slopes in the best villages. It produces delicate, racy, nervy and stylish wines that cover a wide spectrum of flavours from steely and bone dry with beautifully scented fruits of apples,apricots, and sometimes peaches, through to the exotically sweet flavours of the great sweet wines.
It is also an important variety in Alsace where it produces slightly earthier, weightier and fuller wines than in Germany. The dry Rieslings can be austere and steely with hints of honey while the Vendages Tardives and Sélection de Grains Nobles are some of the greatest sweet wines in the world.
It is thanks to the New World that Riesling is enjoying a marked renaissance. In Australia the grape has developed a formidable reputation, delivering lime-sherbet fireworks amid the continental climate of Clare Valley an hour's drive north of Adelaide, while Barossa's Eden Valley is cooler still, producing restrained stony lime examples from the elevated granitic landscape; Tasmania is fast becoming their third Riesling mine, combining cool temperatures with high UV levels to deliver stunning prototypes.
New Zealand shares a similar climate, with Riesling and Pinot Gris neck to neck in their bid to be the next big thing after Sauvignon Blanc; perfectly suited is the South Island's Central Otago, with its granitic soils and continental climate, and the pebbly Brightwater area near Nelson. While Australia's Rieslings tend to be full-bodied & dry, the Kiwis are more inclined to be lighter bodied, more ethereal and sometimes off-dry; Alsace plays Mosel if you like.