|The full tasting range|
Last wednesday a colleague (Burdhound) and I were lucky enough to have Olivier Humbrecht come to the office to show us a wonderful selection of his 2010's. Now, we have no direct relationship here and therefore no biase so as ever the comments below are totally mine. Asked about the vintage as a whole Olivier had a few comments:
- It is a small crop.
- The acidity is the highest in 20 years.
- Relatively little noble rot and even that was only towards the very end.
- The wines are likely to be more for the connoisseur, they are potentially quite strict (my word).
- The wines will repay time more than ever and will be an aromatic vintage overall.
- The terroir of the sites is translated very well, this character dominates any "vintage" character.
So on with the tasting. We followed Olivier's selected groupings and tasted by variety and with each variety by residual sugar level. My scores are at the end of each note/comment. I am not really bothered by what the sugar level is as it really doesn't necessarily translate to sweetness at all in my view but I thought it best to put it in.
Heimborg - Pure with a smokey element. Only 4g of residual sugar, rich savoury texture a masculine Riesling from this steep south facing slope, a good start. 16-17
Clos Hauserer - A few more flowers here, white flowers at that, a slightly spritz, which is not a bad thing these are recently bottles, grapey green fruit, gooseberry? There is fresh, green apple acidity, impressive and focussed. 7g residual. 17-18
Clos Windsbuhl - Aromatic, more spice, almost white pepper, elegant style, highest acidity so far, 6g residual, a dry apple strudel element, intriguing. 16-17
Rangen de Thann - The most complete yet, most floral too, has a smokey element to counter the floral elements, this site was a bit warmer than most in 2010. You can almost taste the more volcanic soil. Will be fascinating to follow this wine. 8g residual. 17-18++
Brand Vielles Vignes - Granitic soil here. An oily yet clean style, lovely, appley, fresh but with weight, 29g residual but you wouldn't know it, deeply impressive. 18(+)
Brand Vendage Tardive Vieilles Vignes - Only 100 cases made. 65g residual. High acidity is very welcome here, opulent, lovely hit on the palate, a brilliant, if rare, combination of richness and minerality, wonderful stuff. 18(+)
Clos Windsbuhl - Clean and fresh on the nose, stones, minerality, white fruit then peaches and apricots well balanced by a dash of spice on the palate, harmonious. 16g residual. 17(+)
Rangen de Thann - Here comes one of those notes people love or hate! Cheesecloth, smokey, a little "farty", old skool, savoury intensity, cold cheese, like the fridge door being opened when you've got Christmas in there, oily, wonderful. 46g residual. 18-19
Had an interesting chat with Olivier about what happens with Gewürztraminer when the wine ages. Olivier said that the flowery, aromatic side which is a reason to either love it or hate it in youth, subsides and the spice comes out more and more.
Hengst - Perfumed with a little spice, a bit OTT for me but good at what it is, pot-pourri and old ladies handbag, very little rot, lavender on the palate. 36g residual. 16-17
Rangen de Thann - More savoury and smokey than the Hengst, a lovely balance of savoury and fruited. Very long, weighty but very complete with it, is very much Gewürztraminer but not too much, impressive. 37g residual. 18-19
Clos Windsbuhl - A closed nose but nearer the Rangen in style than the Hengst, very well-knit but not overly showy, stays restrained but all seems to be in there. 62g residual. 17-18
And so a seriously good tasting as over, I don't have much Alsace in my cellar but I will have to address that with a couple of these wines.