Consider the Grand Cru du Rangen - perched at the southernmost point of the Alsace Wine Route, nestled in a cool, narrow valley and quite a bit higher than most of its Grand Cru brethren in Alsace, at an altitude of 350 to 480 metres. The low temperatures of the nearby Vosges peak force a late spring bud here, while the steep slope facing south provides the grapes with sufficient warmth through the season. The real backbone of the Rangen wines, however, is the unique volcanic soil, enriched with compacted ash and minerals, which gives the wines a smoky ara of minerality.
If we look at the 2021 vintage, the fruit showed a rather quiet ripeness. Nevertheless, it ripened optimally, remained crisp and developed intense volcanic aromas. The fermentation was a calm process and the result showed a dry style.
The colour of the wine is an intense, brilliant golden yellow. Its nose starts with a first impression of smoky notes, aromas reminiscent of ignited bangers and crushed stones. Only when the wine is allowed to breathe a little does a potpourri of aromas of white peach, mango, rosemary and bitter grapefruit peel break through.
On the palate, the powerful Riesling Clos Saint Urbain Rangen de Thann 2021 overflows with an inspiring freshness. Hypnotising salty intensity, vibrant acidity and fine tannins tightly embraced by an exuberant minerality. The wine seems to float and yet, with its moderate alcohol content of 12.5 vol%, it shows depth at the same time. It is a complex Riesling that is already impressive, but definitely still demands some patience.
Food accompaniment? Try smoked tofu, peach and avocado salad garnished with pomegranates and honey sauce. An alternative idea is langoustines cooked in lemon butter, accompanied by a salad of wild herbs and sea kale. Or try a foie gras stuffing for a poularde, served with celeriac puree and chicken stock, garnished with white truffles. For immediate enjoyment, I recommend decanting the wine over several hours and serving it in a generous glass. It gains expression with every breath it takes.
Domaine Zind Humbrecht, 4 Route de Colmar, 68230 Turckheim / France, Organic certificate: FR-BIO-01