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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Zind-Humbrecht 2014 Release Tasting

A tasting of 2014 release wines from Zind-Humbrecht with UK distributor, Gonzalez-Byass.

Not fully France, yet not completely Teutonic, Alsace is a colourful Franco-Germanic borderland that seems to take the best of both cultures and make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Alsace wines are labelled varietally, like German wines, but with no indication of sweetness levels and, for the better wines, do give some more-detailed indication of geographic provenance.

Olivier Humbrecht characterises 2014 as a year of superb acidity, good physiological ripeness giving wines of great precision and structure.

Richard Bampfield MW put it another way - these wines don't show the sort of typicity that would lead you to put them in front of MW students, but they reflect their origins very well.

Like mature Bordeaux or Jura, I don't often get a chance to taste a full range from Alsace, so this event was a rare treat.

The Rieslings were especially fresh and drinkable, the Pinots Gris bigger and fuller while the Gewurztraminers, if technically correct and impressive, tended towards a monolithic fullness that did not always make the heart beat faster.
The star of the event was an under-the-table Clos St Urbain Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2001 that has hints of aged character and is showing beautifully now, scoring a Very Good Indeed along with a 2008 SGN Pinot Gris from Clos Windsbuhl.
There was barely a wine here that did not get at least a Good and many of the more ambitious wines scored a Very Good.

The most interestingly atypical wine was the Riesling Roche Volcanique 2014 which for me had a Wachau-esque minerality and tense precision and which Richard Bampfield likened to a Condrieu.

Everything from Clos Windsbuhl scored at least Very Good; the Rangen de Thann wines were the most impressive technically if also the most expensive.

Prices ranged from mid-teens to around £65

The wines
Pinot Blanc 2014
Muscat Goldert Grand Cru 2014
‘Zind’ Chardonnay Auxerrois 2014

Riesling Table
Riesling Calcaire 2014
Riesling Roche Volcanique 2014
Riesling Clos Windsbuhl 2014
Riesling Rangen de Thann Clos Saint Urbain Grand Cru 2014

Pinot Gris Table
Pinot Gris Turckheim 2014
Pinot Gris Rotenberg 2014
Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl 2014
Pinot Gris Heimbourg 2014

Gewurz Table

Gewurztraminer Turckheim 2014
Gewurztraminer Calcaire 2014
Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl 2013
Gewurztraminer Rangen de Thann Clos Saint Urbain Grand Cru 2013

Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim Vielles Vignes Vendange Tardive 2011
Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal Vendange Tardive 2010
Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl Selections de Grains Nobles 2008

Other related articles
Wine-buying in France: Alsace

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