2015 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Riesling, Rangen De Thann “Clos Saint Urbain” Grand Cru d’Alsace, France.
Some age has really benefited Zind-Humbrecht’s 2015 “Clos Saint Urbain” Riesling adding complexity, secondary tertiary elements and losing the sweeter baby fat that these domaine’s wines show on release, with beautiful viscosity, depth of flavors and underlying mineral intensity. This vintage highlights the house style here with plush yellow fruits, including succulent apricot, lemon curd, baked apple and racy citrusy kumquat, as well as clove and ginger spices, earthy elements, chamomile and lingering roses, wet stones and golden fig notes revealing on the vinous medium bodied palate. The “Clos Saint Urbain” is sourced from small yielding biodynamic vines that are hand tended and carefully sorted grapes, the best of which are used here to make a dense and remarkably well balanced wine, as seen here. Interestingly most of the top cuvées here at Zind-Humbrecht could have been labeled as Vendange Tardive, but Olivier Humbrecht has elected not to do so, because of the house style, which promotes boldly fruit driven, impactful/rewarding and textural wines throughout his lineup. The cellar regiment here at Zind-Humbrecht leans heavily toward native yeasts and long fermentations, with the wines being rested on the lees in oak barrels, which is what this powerful Riesling saw. The winery says, the Rangen De Thann “Clos Saint Urbain” Grand Cru Riesling is aged 18 months in well used and seasoned 40-year-old French barrels to allow purity and transparent terroir character.
The famed Domaine Zind-Humbrecht is located in Turckheim, Alsace and was founded originally in 1959, following the marriage of Léonard Humbrecht to Geneviève Zind, with the flowing generation helping to make it one of the most desirable labels in Europe. The Humbrecht family though, has a much longer history of winegrowing, that goes back to about 1620 and while following traditions for centuries this winery is known for innovation and the wines have become luxurious stars in the region, with a focus on Riesling. The domaine is currently run by Léonard’s son Olivier Humbrecht MW, who was the first Frenchman to qualify as Master of Wine and who led Zind-Humbrecht to its modern elite status with a well documented push toward dry but ripe concentrated wines that can very rich, have some residual sugar, age worthy and flamboyant in style, as this wine shows clearly. It’s widely noted that, as a domaine, Zind-Humbrecht only produces wines from its own vineyards, with total vineyard holdings of accounting for around 100 acres, these include some incredible Grand Cru parcels, with Rangen, where this wine is from, Hengst and the legendary Brand, which normally is my favorite of all. This wine comes from incredibly steep slopes and volcanic based soils, with the Rangen De Thann vineyard having warm exposures that builds fruit intensity. A long pressing cycle and must settling helps remove bitter phenolics, with this Riesling going through natural malo-lactic conversion, which shows up as smoothness and vinous hedonism!
($108-200 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive