Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Brand Riesling Grand Cru

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Brand Riesling Grand Cru, 2015

  • icon-type Type


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  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level


  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Riesling 100%
  • Rating

    JS 96, RP 96

Brand is a large Grand Cru, it covers the hillside just behind the village of Turckheim. There are multiple sub-sections but the oldest vines used to produce this wine are located in the Steinglitz and Schneckelsbourg parts. Brand is extremely warm and precocious. Young vines will suffer a lot in hot years, but old vines will eventually be able to penetrate the biotite granite and find minerals, clay and some water, so vital in a hot vintage like 2015.

The precocious character of this vineyard shows in the wines from Brand. They are often generous, ripe and expressive at a young age. From older vines, Brand can acquire a big structure and becomes age worthy.

The 2015 was harvested very ripe and healthy, but very efficient wild yeast made it possible for this wine to go far in the fermentation.

Bright yellow/gold colour. Complex and elegant nose, it feels open today because it is showing some accessible fruit. However, it will take a more time to reach its full potential. The palate is ample, intense yet elegant and mouthwatering. There is no extra weight, and the long dry finish is supported by a ripe acidity. It really feels intense and indestructible. Both the granite and sun have shaped this wine!

About Domaine Zind-Humbrecht

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht is a winery located in Turckheim, Alsace, and has been producing a range of wines from its own vineyards across the region for more than 50 years.

A portion of the land that the domaine currently sits on has been passed through the Humbrecht family since 1620. Zind-Humbrecht was created in 1959 through the marriage of two winemaking families. Vineyards owned by both families, mostly on the hillside sites of the Vosges Mountains, were amalgamated into one domaine. Today the domaine is run by Olivier and Margaret Humbrecht, who have been in charge since 1989.

Zind-Humbrecht currently has 40 hectares (100 acres) under vine, with just under half located near the new winery in the middle of the Herrenweg vineyard in Turckheim. The rest of the vineyards are spread out between the regions of Hunawihr, Thann, Gueberschwihr and Wintzenheim.

As well as owning plots in grand cru sites Goldert, Hengst and Brand, the family also owns several small clos vineyards. These vineyards, Clos Windsbuhl, Hauserer and Jebsal, are monopoles and border the grand cru sites. These vineyards are each planted with a mixture of the six noble Alsace grapes – Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Sylvaner. There are also small parcels of Chardonnay and Auxerrois grown on the Clos Winsbuhl that are used for the domaine's 'Zind' blend, a table wine with intense notes of citrus, butter and spice.

Zind-Humbrecht also has varietal, village, grand cru and late harvest wines in its range. Taste profiles can be anywhere from austere and mineral, fruity and spicy or rich and perfumed, with many in between. Since 2001, the wines carry an index number indicating the level of sweetness in the wines, with 1 being the driest and 5 the sweetest.

Grape variety

Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally pure and are seldom oaked. As of 2004, Riesling was estimated to be the world's 20th most grown variety at 48,700 hectares (120,000 acres) (with an increasing trend), but in terms of importance for quality wines, it is usually included in the "top three" white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling is a variety which is highly "terroir-expressive", meaning that the character of Riesling wines is greatly influenced by the wine's place of origin.

In cool climates (such as many German wine regions), Riesling wines tend to exhibit apple and tree fruit notes with noticeable levels of acidity that are sometimes balanced with residual sugar. A late-ripening variety that can develop more citrus and peach notes is grown in warmer climates (such as Alsace and parts of Austria). In Australia, Riesling is often noted for a characteristic lime note that tends to emerge in examples from the Clare Valley and Eden Valley in South Australia. Riesling's naturally high acidity and pronounced fruit flavours give wines made from the grape exceptional aging potential, with well-made examples from favourable vintages often developing smoky, honey notes, and aged German Rieslings, in particular, taking on a "petrol" character.

In wine making, the delicate nature of the Riesling grape requires special handling during harvesting to avoid crushing or bruising the skin. Without this care, the broken skins could leak tannin into the juice, giving a markedly coarse taste and throwing off balance the Riesling's range of flavours and aromas.

A wine that is best at its "freshest" states, the grapes and juice may be chilled often throughout the vinification process. Once, right after picking to preserve the grapes' more delicate flavours. Second, after it has been processed through a bladder press and right before fermentation. During fermentation, the wine is cooled in temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks kept between 10 and 18 °C (50 and 64 °F). This differs from red wines that normally ferment at 24 to 29 °C (75 to 84 °F)

Unlike Chardonnay, most Riesling do not undergo malolactic fermentation. This helps preserve the tart, acidic characteristic of the wine that gives Riesling its "thirst-quenching" quality. (Producers of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio often avoid malolactic fermentation for the same reason.) Riesling is often put through a process of cold stabilisation, where the wine is stored just above its freezing point. The wine is kept at this temperature until much of the tartaric acid has crystallised and precipitated out of the wine. This helps prevent crystallisation of the acid (often called "wine diamonds") in the bottle. After this, the wine is normally filtered again to remove any remaining yeast or impurities.

In viticulture, the two main components in growing Riesling grapes are to keep it "Long & Low" meaning that the ideal situation for Riesling is a climate that allows for a long, slow ripening and proper pruning to keep the yield low and the flavour concentrated.

Alternative Names: Weisser Riesling, Johannisberg Riesling, Johannisberger, Rhine Riesling, Riesling Renano

About Alsace

Alsace, in the far north-eastern corner of France, stands out from other French wine regions thanks to its strong Franco-Germanic influences. These are the results of the region having switched back and forth between German and French sovereignty in recent centuries – and are evident not only in Alsatian architecture and culture, but also in the wines.

Alsace's wines are produced under three key appellations: Alsace and Alsace Grand Cru for still white wines (both sweet and dry), and Crémant d'Alsace for sparkling. Almost all wine produced in this region fits into one of these three designations. The Alsace Grand Cru wines are produced from one of 51 favoured vineyards distributed along the length of the region.

Alsace is the only French wine region to grow significant quantities of Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Both of these grape varieties are more commonly associated with German wines, and serve as a reminder of Alsace's history. Pinot Gris, a variety typically marginalised in other French regions as a blending component, is another of the region's noble varieties. It was known as "Tokay" until 1993 (the Hungarian wine being the byword for quality) then Tokay-Pinot Gris until 2007 when EU regulations phased out the reference completely.

Alsace Grand Cru wines are only allowed - with one exception - to be made from these three varieties plus Muscat. Three variants are grown of the latter: Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Muscat Rose à Petits Grains, and Muscat Ottonel. Sylvaner is another traditional Alsace grape variety which provides the exception; wine made from this variety only qualifies for Grand Cru status if grown at one particular vineyard: Zotzenberg.

Chasselas, Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois are also grown although these three tend to be used not in single-variety wines but in blends (see Edelzwicker). Confusingly, an Alsace wine labelled as Pinot Blanc may also be a multi-variety blend, also containing Auxerrois, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir fermented without the skins.

White varietal wines make up 90 percent of production here, from the varieties stated above. Key variations in wine styles are marked by their residual sugar levels, which cover the entire sweetness spectrum from bone dry to lusciously sweet. In 1983, the official terms Vendanges Tardives and Selection de Grains Nobles (see French Wine Label Information) were introduced to define and categorise sweet Alsace wines. They remained unique to the region for some time, but are now used in other French appellations such as Jurancon and Côteaux du Layon.

Although significantly outnumbered by white wines, red wines are also made here, mostly from Pinot Noir. Alsace Pinot Noirs are typically lighter-bodied and more rustic than those produced in the variety's homeland Burgundy, 225km (140 miles) to the southwest. That said, climate change and warmer summers are leading the region's winemakers to produce noticeably more powerful styles of Pinot Noir.

The Alsace region lies between the Vosges mountains and the French border with Germany, marked by the Rhine river. A long, thin region, it measures 185 kilometres (115 miles) north to south and just 40km (25 miles) from east to west. The key viticultural areas here are all located on the lower hillsides of the Vosges, on slopes with east and south-easterly aspects.

The Vosges play a vital role in defining the region's terroir; they not only provide protection from the prevailing westerly winds, but also cast a rain shadow over the area, contributing to the low rainfall of its continental climate. They are at their most dense in the southern half of Alsace, where the peaks reach roughly 1400 meters ( 4600ft). The glacial activity which created the mountains has also significantly impacted the region's topography and soils. These vary from sandstone, granite and volcanic rock types in the foothills, to clay-rich limestone and marlstone on the alluvial plains below.

Regular price $639.00

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