Talking about Alsatian viticulture without mentioning Zind-Humbrecht is a rather complicated speculative exercise, since it is the winery that, perhaps most of all, has contributed to the development of this region. The Domaine was born in 1959 from the union of the lands of the Humbrecht and the Zind families, two dynasties that for centuries cultivated the vine in Gueberschwihr (Humbrecht) and Wintzenheim (Zind), in Alsace, united by the marriage between Léonard Humbrecht and Geneviève Zind.
The important work of Léonard began with the purchase of the best land in the region, between the 1960s and 1970s, which lived in a state of neglect because of their excessive slopes that made the working in complex. Once purchased, these lands were immediately cultivated with a yield of about 10,000 vines per hectare, an absolutely pioneering practice for the time, with a yield so low to fall below 25 quintals per hectare. Even in the cellar Léonard’s work brought changes, such as the adoption of a type of presses able to guarantee a more delicate extraction, and the creation of a system to control the temperature of fermentation for the large oak barrels, where the parameters often got out of hand. Nor should be forget how Léonard, as president of the Union for the defense of the Grands Crus d’Alsace, fought for a long time for the creation of the Grand Cru denomiation in Alsace.
In 1989 there was the changing of the guard and the Domaine passed into the hands of Léonard’s son, Olivier Humbrecht who, with his wife Margaret, gave birth to a second revolution inspired mainly by the natural approach, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Among the various novelties it is worth mentioning the choice of biodynamic agriculture, the abandon of fatm tractors, replaced by a lot of manual work in the vineyard, the refusal of any chemical addition (always in the vineyard) and the consequent refusal of the traditional but heavy cellar practices (addition of sugar, collagen, gum Arabic, etc.).
Although this winery is mainly known for Riesling, wines produced with other grape varieties are certainly not less important, as in the case of this Pinot Gris Rotenberg. The wine comes from vines over 30 years old, lying on lean and stony red soils with steep slopes (30-40%), mainly composed of limestone and iron, already present on the surface due to the erosion caused by the melting of glaciers in the Quaternary. It is precisely this particular composition of the land that causes naturally very low yields (we are around 20hl per hectare) and a late ripening with rich and concentrated grapes that, after being selected in the plant, during the harvest, and after a delicate crushing, perform the two fermentations (alcoholic and malolactic) in stainless steel vats. It then takes about 12 months in old used barriques (the first 6 in contact with the fine lees) before bottling and marketing.
The 2017 vintage shows a golden color of great intensity, with an olfactory range that opens on notes of peach in syrup, surripe white melon, dried apricot and kumquat, followed by candied cedar, chamomile, white rose petal and wildflower honey, with final ferrous echoes. The palate is soft with an important citrine component, slowly diluted by a good sapidity and a hint of spiciness; all enriched by the return of the surripe yellow fruit that accompanies the sip to a good length finish.
Want to find out what I can do for you? Click here!