2008 Domaine Marcel Deiss, Huebuhl Cru, Cru d’Alsace, France.
The pretty semi sweet Huebuhl by Deiss is essentially a V.T. (Vendange Tardive) being a late harvest style wine with higher sugars and with some botrytis, which shows with its honeyed fruit and textural quality, and uniquely it was crafted with a cepage make up of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir crushed without skin contact. The Marcel Deiss winery, one of Alsace’s great estates and most innovative in creating non mono varietal Cru wines and are leaders in the region in biodynamic and organic farming. They make some of the most intriguing wines in Europe, especially their fantastic Altenberg Grand Cru, Schoenenbourg Grand Cru and my favorite the Mambourg Grand Cru, which are bottlings that are some of the best white wines in the world. I really enjoyed this Huebuhl with its mature notes and rich palate that shows baked apple, dried apricots, gingerbread, pineapple and golden fig along with a hint of creme brûlée and grilled orange, it’s a generous and serious wine that begs for seared Foie Gras or a light tangy fruit or savory tart, plus surprising it goes with briny dishes too, like oysters.
This honeyed and lush white was made with grapes coming from a small mountain pass that separates Bergheim from Ribeauvillé, as importer Becky Wasserman notes, Huebuhl (which literally means ‘early growing and wet place’) is a small hollow that slopes away gently, joining Grunspiel to the West and Rotenberg to the East set on clay soils of an ancient lake bed, and is located in a slight hollow that encourages the development of the mentioned “noble rot” botrytis. Not as overtly sweet as Sauternes, the Huebuhl was handcrafted with a very slow whole-cluster pressing, lasting up to 12-hours, with a 100% natural yeast fermentation and then was aged for 12 months in large, ancient well seasoned neutral oak foudres. This is a complex and fascinating wine that will thrill with its spice, opulent mouth feel and the exotic joyous flavors that unfold, the Pinot Gris here seems to give this wine its unique character and personality, but that is just my own opinion, as these wines are more about place/terroir than the individual varietal. This wine is a special treat and would be great to celebrate Thanksgiving with, it is a classy version of an Alsace classic.
($39 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive