Zind Humbrecht Roche 2018 Release

Zind-Humbrecht Rieslings are gigantically fresh wines and this freshness is married to an astonishing intensity of expression. Each wine is entirely itself, absolutely original in the way a great work of art is (which is the kind of originality that defines a great work of art), as dazzlingly bright as a newly born star. STUART PIGOTT

If you were to ask any serious wine expert for his or her list of the top white wine estates in the world today, Alsace’s Domaine Zind-Humbrecht would nearly always be among those included. Domaine Zind-Humbrecht is one of the world’s most famous white wine estates, producing a bevy of world-class bottlings that have very few peers in their respective categories. IAN D’AGATA, Vinous

I admire Olivier Humbrecht’s unceasing quest for quality immensely and he has succeeded in making many luscious, intense and attention-grabbing wines. JANCIS ROBINSON MW
There is little I can write that can add to the volumes of critical acclaim that Olivier Humbrecht and his Domaine Zind Humbrecht have garnered over the last 40 years. A fierce intellect combined with generational winemaking talent saw the estate post firsts in so many ways. The purchase of vineyards when noone valued them, the conversion to biodynamics to return balance and vitality to ground “wrung out” by commercial viticultural practices and then his obsessive attention to detail in the cellar. Oh, and the wines…the wines! His extraordinary bottlings from a stable of Alsace’s greatest sites – Hengst, Windsbuhl, Brand, Rangen de Than et al – are staggeringly intense, moving and so refreshingly unique in their expression. They are where the lines blur between wine and art, visceral and intellectual.

So, when a relatively new range was launched a few years back focusing on the geological patchwork of soil types found in Alsace through the lens of its noble grape varieties then, as a wine lover, you sit up and take notice.

The ‘Roche’ wines (as they are prefaced), are based around the main soil types: calcaire – limestone/calcareous; volcanique – sedimentary volcanic rock; granitique – granite; and roulee – gravel/silt. Each wine is a single variety with the majority of grapes sourced from Zind’s Grand Cru vineyards, usually younger vines, along with the addition of more low-lying vineyards on the valley floor.

The wines go through a long vinification process that draws out wonderful texture and weight. The acidity is always present but the gentle and extended pressing process provides a soft phenolic grip that broadens out and harmonises the palate. While generally the wines are ‘dry’, Olivier allows them to complete fermentations naturally for balance. In some cases, such as the Roche Volcanique Pinot Gris, it means small amounts of residual sugar are present. Regardless, each wine is allowed to express its individual sites as well as any vintage variations.

This is such an exciting and thoughtful project and an incredible study of terroir. It offers a remarkable look into the array of different terroirs of Alsace and embodies so much of what Olivier is trying to achieve.

At a fraction of the cost of the top wines from the domain, these offer some of the best value and terroir driven wines from Alsace. They are a remarkable collection of wines crafted by one of the world’s greatest wine minds.