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Domaine Zind Humbrecht 2009 Releases

I spent much time deliberating about Olivier Humbrecht's wines. I find them compelling, incredibly complex, wines verging upon ineffable. I know that wine writers are supposed to spout adjectives, descriptive prose and metaphors with consummate ease but that is not always the case. Humbrecht's wines are not those that instantly flip the cerebral Rolodex of descriptors to the appropriate page, his wines challenge the olfactory senses, they demand time for contemplating their nuances and virtues and yes, shortcomings. Words struggle to encapsulate these wines, they live on the palate and not the page.

At the same time, I am not going to claim that these are my favourite wines ever. As Olivier said, he does not set out to please the masses, but rather sets out to make a wine true to itself and hopes that others find pleasure from it. The key word, fundamental to Olivier's wine is "truth" in the sense that his wines must reflect Nature: the vineyard, the soil, the elements, the vine, its fruit with minimal interference from man (and that includes eschewing the use of sulphur dioxide.) Its a Zen-like approach to winemaking that creates philosophical, almost transcendental wines with bewitching complexity and a dance-troupe of flavours that seem to have so much "energy".

But the flip side is that they are not necessarily wines you necessarily always enjoy. Let me clarify: Olivier's wines should not be categorized with "The Da Vinci Code", "She Loves You" or "Star Wars" (though I admire and unashamedly enjoy all three.) They are your "Catcher In The Rye", "I Am The Walrus" or "Solaris" (the Andrei Tarkovsky original.) They operate on an intellectual level, engage the grey matter, and make us think. As Olivier said, he is not out there to charm us with tea-spoons of residual sugar: that dry finish can come as quite a shock and takes some getting used to.
NEAL MARTIN, www.erobertparker.com 2006


Vintage Notes 2009
Winter was warm and dry, resulting in an early budburst, further accelerated by a warm spring and hot May. Significantly cooler temperatures in June slowed flowering on some later vineyards such as Rangen de Thann and Clos Windsbuhl. July conditions were average, but August was again hot and dry, which ultimately lowered overall acid levels. Fortunately fine weather in September and October meant both an early and a drawn out harvest were possible, and each vineyard was able to be harvested at the optimum time. Harvest began on September 9th and finished on October 16th. The grapes were extremely healthy and 2009 produced some  wonderful dry wines, with enticing aromatics and good structure. The botrytis developed nicely in early October, only on the Pinot Gris, with just Clos Jebsal VT and Rangen, Clos Windsbuhl and Clos Jebsal SGN wines being produced. Yields were slightly higher than average, no wines were chaptalised and all vineyards were farmed with strict biodynamic principles, with ECOCERT Certification since 2000.
OLIVIER HUMBRECHT MW

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