The 2017 vintage will go down in the history of this wine estate. For Olivier Humbrecht, it is one of the three best vintages since the foundation of the wine estate in 1959. However, this time frost and hail limited the yield to less than 20 hl/ha on average. After an early budbreak, two cold spells with sub-zero temperatures on April 21 and 22 exposed even those areas that were more sheltered to frost. An unusually freezing easterly wind froze vines in vineyards like the Herrenweg de Turckheim, which never froze to death in the 60 years Olivier's father has been involved. A hailstorm in the Brand vineyard fortunately remained without major consequences. Midsummer was hot, August milder, and the harvest started on August 29 with Pinot Gris Roche Roulée, followed by terroirs like Rotenberg, Heimbourg, Goldert ... A little rain on September 2 accelerated the ripening. The Rieslings were harvested from 11 September and the harvest finished with Rangen, Hengst and Clos Jebsal on 26 September. Only in Clos Jebsal were there minor signs of botrytis.
Gewurztraminer has a special place in the Rangen. The volcanic terroir has the ability to significantly alter this grape variety, giving it a unique aromatic profile and structure. The greywacke of Rangen comes from the dust and ash of the extinct Molkenrain volcano, a few kilometres away in the Vosges, whose sediments were deposited on the seabed and then transformed into hard, dense rock. The soil is rich in mineral elements, resulting in a very high dry extract and a saltiness in the wines. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in the Rangen. In the lower part of Clos Saint Urbain, the two small parcels of Gewurztraminer are located just above the river Thur. It is both the most protected area - ideal for this delicate grape variety - and the one where the soil contains the most clay at depth.
The wine has 26 g/l of residual sugar with 2.8 g of acidity and 3.65 pH. The yield was 19 hl/ha.
medium straw yellow
If one puts Gewurztraminer, Pinot gris and Riesling from the Clos Saint Urbain in a row, then the flinty scent, reminiscent of gunpowder, is noticed as a common feature in the young wines at first. This reduction note is concise, but dissipates quite quickly. What then follows is the marriage of the volcanic rock with this grape variety. The tuff and the greywacke make the Gewurztraminer seem floatingly light, they make it sing, as it were. Stony, smoky, fresh and clear with notes of grapefruit and apricots, the wine shows itself in the glass. Typical nuances of nutmeg and rose petals can be found only very discreetly.
On the palate the Gewurztraminer Rangen powerful and present with pale yellow notes of citrus and stone fruit. On the one hand, it appears creamy with a hint of vanilla, almost creamy and lining the entire mouth, on the other hand, it actually shows itself acidic with a certain pressure on the palate despite a restrained 2.8 grams of acidity. There is also the silky tannin structure with a distinctive saltiness that provides drinkability. The Rangen represents an ideal terroir for Gewurztraminer, where this grape variety can develop and take on a new and unusual character. As with the other 2017s, transparency, clarity and aromatics, texture and structure, and a deep minerality bring greatness to the wine.
Food recommendations by Christoph Raffelt
- Bouillabaisse with rouille
- Shoulder of venison with caramelized apple slices and black nuts
- Pear Risotto with Epoisses
Domaine Zind Humbrecht, 4 Route de Colmar, 68230 Turckheim / France, Organic certificate: FR-BIO-01