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2009 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Vieilles Vignes (750ml) [Printable View]
Producer: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht   details
Appellation: Alsace - France (AOC)
Type: white
Varietal: Pinot Gris
Maturity: Drink
Rating: Excellent
Est. Price: US$30.00
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Morrell Wine
Tasting Notes:
tasted: October 25, 2013 , ted kirkpatrick
93 points "Color: bright; Nose: complex; Body: firm; Overall: rich; Incredibly complex nose and palate...has a sense of a gewurztraminer....pineapple..peach...really quite nice...and, indeed, a great food wine." Best 2013-2025
rated: October 18, 2013 , David Schildknecht, WA
91 points "The full, dry Zind-Humbrecht 2009 Pinot Gris Vieilles Vignes evinces intriguing scents and flavors of musk oil and sea urchin, accompanied by ripe peach and alkaline minerality. Seamlessly rich and creamy, this finishes with excellent length and promises to be – if not everyone’s cup of Pinot Gris – a wine with unusual food-matching as well as aging potential. Lay-in enough to follow it for at least a dozen years. Tasting the Zind-Humbrecht collections armed with what one knows of these vintages from most other establishments, both the 2008s and 2009s will harbor surprises. A number of 2008s are ornery in finished acidity, and some are more marked by botrytis than most other exemplars of their vintage from top addresses, this occasionally taking the form of fungal notes and piquancy that some tasters may find off-putting. The 2008 harvest began here already on September 23, lasting exactly one month. Selectivity in October – especially with Pinot Gris – consisted, explained Humbrecht, more in the careful removal of healthy bunches to insure some dry wines, with the remaining crop being left until later, the opposite of what more usually happens and at many other top-quality Alsace (or German) estates – notwithstanding the literal meaning of the expression “vendange tardive.” “Gewurztraminer was the last to ripen,” notes Humbrecht, and presumably for that reason grape sugars were very high by the time he picked, making for a collection nearly all of which exhibits V.T.-like sweetness. “It was almost easier and more sensible to make S.G.N. this vintage than V.T.,” remarks Humbrecht by way of explaining why he rendered six of the former and only one 2008 wine in the latter category. “If there had been pressure to harvest,” he notes, “then we would have had V.T.s instead.” The majority of 2008 Rieslings – as well as the Pinot Blanc and two Muscats – were not bottled until February, 2010 on account of their high acidity and/or sluggish fermentations. But most of those wines underwent malo and finished dry or virtually so. (The yeasts and beneficial bacteria may have found it tough working in such a low pH medium, but – eventually – they succeeded.) Yet even in early-harvested instances, Humbrecht says that the proportion of malic acidity – which thereafter diminished – was never higher than one-third. Most of the 2008 vintage Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, even including the S.G.N.s, were bottled already in September, 2009. The surprise on tasting the Zind-Humbrecht 2009s is an entirely pleasant one. The exceptional expressiveness of so many of these wines – even if Olivier Humbrecht admits that “they aren’t always perfectly precise or pure” – is surely in large part a tribute to vineyard management that permitted such a substantial portion of so large a crop to be picked unusually early, yet expressively ripe, although, a few sites succumbed to fortunately noble rot. Among practices to which Humbrecht points as relevant to his 2009 quality is his elimination in recent years of vine hedging to achieve earlier and more uniform flavor ripeness without excess grape sugar. Instead, his crew now lets the tips grow and then laboriously ties or tucks them back into the canopy, an approach for which fellow-proponent of biodynamics Lalou Bize-Leroy has become well-known. Against a background in vintage 2009 of wines that fermented rapidly for most growers, Humbrecht explains that this was the case for many of his, too; but some that had stopped with significant residual sugar over the winter began fermenting again in early summer of last year, a few not finishing until autumn and thus missing the main bottling session that takes place here each September. When I visited the domaine last November, Riesling Windsbuhl; multiple Rieslings from Turckheim including two Brands; and the Jebsal Pinot Gris S.G.N. were not ready to be assessed. Those who (like me) have harbored reservations about noticeably high alcohol in certain recent Zind-Humbrecht wines will be delighted to find 2009s that have in that respect also beaten the vintage odds, though to be sure, sometimes at the price of high residual sugar. With minor exceptions, retail prices have dropped for Zind-Humbrecht wines, in some instances significantly. Add to this an expanded range of generic cuvees and the Humbrechts’ willingness to declassify fruit from many outstanding sites (which helps account for the 2009 collection’s – relatively! – reduced number of bottlings), and most consumers can afford to enjoy – indeed, really have no excuse for remaining strangers to – at least some of these much-talked about and often iconic wines. Importer: The Sorting Table, Napa, CA; tel. (415) 491-4724" Best 2013-2025
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