Zind Humbrecht Roche Rieslings
Zind-Humbrecht Rireslings 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 orginality 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
You aren’t imagining things, we did send out an offer for these wines late last year. I think it may have been a little overlooked. It was just as, thankfully, Melbourne was kicking back in to gear and everyone was out having a good time again. With that initial offer we included the full range of Roche wines, I will recap what they actually are in a moment, that encompassed the Gris and Gewurtz as well. What I would like to draw everyone’s attention to is the two Rieslings today. There is some of the others left but I think these deserve to be highlighted.
To refresh anyone who did read the offer, and a brief explanation for anyone who missed it, the Roche range is a, relatively, new project for the team at Zind Humbrecht. The concept is remarkable from a wine geeks perspective. Instead of sourcing fruit from a single Cru, which in Alsace may have more than one soil type, Olivier instead selects parcels from his Crus based on their dominant soil profile and blends them accordingly to highlight the influence of the dirt on the final expression of the wines. The results are remarkable and so distinctive.
There are four main soils in the range, Granitique, Calcaire, Volcanic and Roulee (small pebbles and more silt). I have left Olivier’s notes below as they are rather extensive and give you good detail in to the which sites are used. I guess being the first French Master of Wine means he can write a good review.
I don’t want to bury the lead here, so to speak. The real magic of these wines is in the bottle, they are sensationally good. Both are highly distinctive and thrilling to drink. I have gone back to them a few times since they arrived and they have not disappointed. They appeal to the serious wine nerd in me, but they are also just so pleasurable to consume.
As good as they are now, and they are really, really good, they are also stuffed with power and intensity and should reward cellaring for a decade or more if you are interested. The long elevage/aging that is part of the Humbrecht model allows the wines to reach dryness naturally and also the extended time on lees and the time in very old, very large casks allows them the time to grow in stature and gain texture and tactile impact to balance out the power and racy acidity. The get the same treatment as his the wines labelled as Crus and, generally, sourced from his best plots.
This really is a project of passion for Olivier, who is one of the world’s most highly regarded wine intellects. It is another facet to his tremendous offerings that gives the consumer a new and exciting lens through which to view his wines and the wines of Alsace.
As to the two wines, the Granitique is, for me, a touch more… serious, in its delivery. It’s bundled up a little tighter. You certainly get a sense of all the ripe fruit, and there is ample volume, but it’s pulled back and a little more inwardly focused. Certainly plenty of pleasure early on, especially after a little air, but it is more reserved than the Calcaire and there is a distinct stony, rocky minerality which adds gravitas. The faint phenolic grip also assists in the feeling that the best of this wine is still in its future.
The Calcaire is a little more open and inviting right out of the gate. It’s bright and clear, beautifully delineated and wonderfully refreshing. Attractive Riesling that positively hums and is seriously invigorating with its crisp and lively fruit profile and citrus like acidity. It’s so joyous to drink right now, so good, but I reckon five years from now this will be absolutely gorgeous.
Two sensational expressions of Riesling from one of the world’s most highly regarded and sought after producers of aromatic whites and for a fraction of what his top wines, from the same sites, would cost. These really are an extraordinary glimpse in to both the style, and quality, of the legendary domaine and also the region of Alsace’s most noble variety.
As I mentioned initially, I think these may have been overlooked because of the timing of the offer and I just wanted to draw people’s attention to them again. Also, there was no reviews at the time but now Stuart Pigott, the Riesling guru, has weighed in with tremendous third party endorsements. I keep coming back to these wines to drink myself and I am confident anyone who loves great whites will do the same.
We are offering them at the same ex shipping price they were first offered at, which is more than 20% off in six packs.