My entry in this category is an Alsatian wine from one of the most famous producers in the region, Domaine Zind Humbrecht. The father and son operation has been in existence since 1959 when the marriage of the Zind and Humbrecht families brought together a passion for winemaking and some of the best land in Alsace under one roof. Leonard Humbrecht and his son Olivier (notable for being France's first Master of Wine) churn out a staggering number and variety of wines of exceptional quality from their various Grand Cru and name designated vineyards. The family has about 70 acres under cultivation, split among dozens of small vineyards which they have acquired over the years.
Zind Humbrecht keeps yields in these vineyards extremely low, sometimes half as much as the legally permissible tonnage for the appellation. This is helped by the fact that many of their vineyards are very difficult to work except by hand, having steep rocky slopes that permit only humans and horses to pass.
This wine is a single vineyard designate from the Heimbourg vineyard near Turckheim, a medieval village on the banks of the Fecht river. This parcel of grapes actually used to be considered part of the Grand Cru vineyard named Brand (also owned by the family) but was later delimited as separate by officials, and is now simply sold as "lieux-dits" or single vineyard designate. A rocky limestone strewn patch of grapes, the Heimbourg vineyard grows Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer grapes.
Given a designation of Vendange Tardive, or "VT" to fans of Alsatian and German wines, the grapes for this wine were harvested late, and contribute a moderate sweetness to the wine that theoretically puts it more in the dessert wine category than it does in the off-dry category that I am supposed to be writing about.
This wine is a medium yellow-gold color in the glass and wafts scents of honeysuckle and warm hay (and do I smell sunshine ?) into the nose. In the mouth it is silky and smooth with primary flavors of clover honey, vanilla, candied orange peel, and paraffin. Medium sweet (due to the late harvest), I found the wine lacking some acid balance and complexity to make it truly fantastic as opposed to just tasty. The wine finishes smoothly, though without profundity.
This wine is good as an aperitif wine or as a dessert wine. I had it paired with a lovely Fatted Calf's spiced torchon of foie gras on a caramelized ramp and white bourbon peach tartlette.
Overall Score: 9
How Much?: can be purchased these days for $100
This wine is available online.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Nicoletta Bocca of San Fereolo Book Review: Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/8/16 I'll Drink to That: Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 1, 2016 I'll Drink to That: Daniel Brunier of Vieux Télégraphe Vinography Images: Green Gold I'll Drink to That: Angelo Gaja of Gaja Winery Hungarian Wine: Hope, Dreams, Heritage and Progress Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/1/16
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune