POINTS OF DISTINCTION

  • 100 acres of prime estate vineyards include 4 prestigious Grands Crus
  • Domaine Zind-Humbrecht is the archetype of its region and one of the world’s greatest wine producing estates
  • Unbroken winemaking lineage in Alsace since 1620
  • Olivier Humbrecht was the first Frenchman and is one of the world’s only winemakers to attain MW status
  • Wines are recognized for their overriding sense of terroir because every aspect of viticulture and winemaking is tailored to achieve that goal
  • Certified organic and biodynamic since 2002

With an unbroken winemaking lineage in Alsace since 1620, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht came by its current name in 1959 when Leonard Humbrecht married Genevieve Zind. In the 1960s and 1970s, Leonard was able to expand the winery’s collection of Grands Crus and other high quality vineyards. Since then, one of the hallmarks of every Zind-Humbrecht wine has been its overriding sense of terroir: the taste of the vineyard is always clear and unmistakable.

Zind-Humbrecht is managed by Olivier Humbrecht, one of the world’s only winemakers to attain MW status.  His passion for Alsatian wines and Biodynamic farming translates into a portfolio of legendary wines recognizable for their purity, intensity and, above all, their faithful expression of each individual vineyard site.

It is a pleasure to visit, an honor to be received by Olivier Humbrecht, and an extraordinary experience to taste the entire range of wines on site. Because, regardless of which scale of reference that is applied, Olivier Humbrecht is one of the highest achievers and most influential individuals in the world of wines.

The wines of Zind-Humbrecht are always true to the variety, and they express the terroir in a profound and consistent manner. At the same time, Zind-Humbrecht has an obnoxious house style where power, richness, complexity and splendid acidity is combined to form for a balanced whole. However, the house style is never allowed to subdue or dominate the variety or the terroir, but rather to enforce them. Some characteristics of the production are:

  • Biodynamic viticulture with a minimum of pruning during the vegetative period, deep roots and herbaceous ground cover leads to self-regulation of cropping and growth and tolerance to drought as well as rot-inducing rainfalls.
  • Extremely long cycles of pressing, 12-24 hours as compared to the normal cycles of 4-6 hours.
  • Short cycles of (4 hours as compared to 24-48 hours) of clarification after pressing in order to ensure that natural yiests and proteins are retained in the must.
  • Natural malolactic transformation of the small amounts of malic acids that are present in the mature grapes.
  • Extended period “sur lie” in large casks (foudres) with carefully controlled balance between oxygen supply and reductive capacity in order to create a complex, autolytic character.

But as interesting is the PHENOMENON Zind-Humbrecht. What does it take to reach this celestial level, in terms of quality across the range of the wines as much as with respect to reputation and finances? I have two lines of thoughts:

1. The culture of Alsace. In Alsace, the passion of France is combined with the sense of order associated with the German heritage. Previously, this preference for control and tidiness could be seen as perfectly trimmed vines, a ruthless combat against weeds and pests, and the use of all tricks, dirty and others, to create predictable varietal wines that were chemically and microbially stable. But Zind-Humbrecht, and an increasing numer of other producers, have projected this regional character in the opposite direction. Hence, based on the same care and dedication, they strive to release the intrinsic potential that nature brings, in the vineyard as well as in the cellar. The result? A huge leap forward in terms of quality, as well as towards ecologically sustainable agricultural practices.

2. Company culture. Just as Toyota, Zind-Humbrecht appears to base its efforts on; ‘Genchi Genbutsu – Go to the source to find the facts’. Olivier Humbrecht has – and applies – profound and scientifically based knowledge and understanding of viticulture and winemaking. Is there anyone that could match Olivier Humbrecht in this exhaustible field of science (and engineering)?

The prices of Zind-Humbrecht may seem high. But considering the quality and global position of Zind-Humbrecht, the prices are very sensible.

My impression is that Olivier Humbrecht makes wines to be enjoyed at the table by “ordinary peaople”, rather than show-off pieces to be analyzed by the press. There is no doubt that Olivier Humbrecht wants to show the world what Alsace in general and his beloved terroirs in particular, are capable of. And he makes his utmost, down to every single details, to reach perfection.

source: www.alsace-wine.net

Olivier Humbrecht (right) is one of the stars in the wine world’s firmament. As well as being one of relatively few winemakers to have achieved the MW qualification, he is also one of the champions of biodynamics, and is currently president of Biodyvin (www.biodyvin.com). More than this, he’s also a really nice, approachable guy.

But it’s the wines were focusing on here. We journos love to talk in superlatives – the best this, the best that – and even given this annoying tendency, I’m going to suggest that Zind-Humbrecht is probably the best producer in Alsace, with a stunning line-up of powerful, rich wines that possess a real sense of place.

While the Humbrecht family have been winegrowers since 1620, the Domaine Zind Humbrecht was founded in 1959. It has 40 hectares of vines, spread throughout a range of Grand Cru and single-vineyard sites.

Annual production is 13 000–16 000 cases, and 22 staff are employed – much of the vineyard work, driven by the biodynamic principles, is labour intensive. Yields are between 30–40 hl/ha, which is low by Alsace standards: this is a region known for its often heroic yields. Olivier says that he’s ‘not too bothered by vintages high or low in acid: if you are doing things right in the vineyard it is an interesting wine.’

In the winery, unsurprisingly the wines are made in a hands-off way: the fermentations are slow and the wines spend at least six months on the gross lees. Bottling occurs after filtration some 12–24 months following the harvest. ‘One of my goals before I die is to avoid filtering the wines’, says Olivier: this isn’t possible at the moment because of the risk of refermentation in these wines, many of which are bottled with high residual sugar levels. He waits until after winter to rack because of the risk of the yeast spores waking up as temperatures increase. Olivier only filters once the wine has become clear in the cask. ‘If you push a cloudy wine through a filter you damage it’, he says.

Would he like to make wine anywhere else? ‘It’s always tempting’, he says, ‘but there is so much work to be done in Alsace.’ If pushed, he’d stick to France. ‘There are so many wine growing areas in France to be rediscovered’.

Zind Humbrecht Riesling Turckheim 2003 Alsace
Very young, fresh perfumed Riesling with a nice lemony freshness. The palate is quite rich with pretty, honeyed lemony fruit. Rich stuff. Very good+ 89/100

Zind Humbrecht Riesling Heimbourg 2003 Alsace
From calcareous soils. A deep, rich herby nose displays sweet, lime-edged fruit. There’s some smoky depth, and hints of honey. The palate is concentrated and full, with the medium sweet fruit framed by good acidity and a minerality. Deep. Very good/excellent 91/100

Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rotenberg 2003 Alsace
A rich, slightly smokey, honeyed nose leads to a palate that is rich and full, with good depth. This thick textured wine shows lovely balance and is really appealing. Weighs in at 15.5% alcohol. Very good/excellent 93/100

Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal 2003 Alsace
Marl/gypsum soil. Rich, deep, sweet nose with meaty, spicy undertones to the honeyed fruit. The palate is explosively rich: sweet but brilliantly balanced. There’s also a thick herby texture and spicy edge. Brilliant. Excellent 95/100

Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim 2003 Alsace
From gravelly soils. Deep coloured. Remarkable, explosive pretty nose of rose petals – very perfumed. The palate is dry but still quite rich textured with great concentration and balance. Very good/excellent 92/100

Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Hengst 2003 Alsace
Alluring, rich perfumed nose of grapes and lychees. The palate is really rich and bold with great density. Quite sweet, but with nice balance. Very good/excellent 93/100

source: www.wineanorak.com

What affects Wine Prices?
About Wine Investment

Wine investment
Robert Parker, the acclaimed US ‘Wine Critic’, has astounding power. His power is such that the Bordelais will rarely release their latest vintage until Mr Parker has ‘scored’ the wines. A re-evaluation of any wine’s score upwards can affect the price of a wine almost immediately, with an upgrade provoking a spike in the price as buyers chase the wine.

Stock Availability: These are niche wines with tiny productions. With high demand and often cult followings, these wines can often reach astronomical prices. Each Château can only produce around 12,000 cases annually due to the French Law ‘Appelation Controlee’. This means that they cannot mass produce the wines. If a vineyard has a low production, they must still use 95% of that year’s grapes in each bottle. This ensures that the quality is not compromised and could result in less than 10,000 cases being produced in a year.

The Seasons: There are many worldwide public holidays that affect a wine’s price. These holidays produce significant increases in consumption levels. The law of supply and demand states that as a supply decreases, the only way the demand can go is up. So when high consumption levels come into play we see high price rises. These such times are Chinese New Year, The Moon Festival and Christmas/New Year. Please also note that the release of a new vintage can also push back-vintage prices up as we have seen with the release of the extraordinary 2009 vintage.

Our immediate thoughts when we hear the word “investment” would generally be of stocks, shares and property. Investing in wine is an alternative traditional method of investment that has been around for over three hundred years. Although not as well known as certain other investments, wine has proven to be a highly lucrative alternative investment commodity.

The most successful and secure investment wines come from the Bordeaux region of France. The production of these top-quality wines is strictly controlled by the French Agricultural law “Appellation Controlee”. This results in strictly controlled limits on their annual production, which helps ensure quality and also maintains their scarcity. Ever-increasing global demand for these wines ensures that their values continue to increase.

Fine wine investments can have a stabilising effect on any investment portfolio. Fine wine investments have proven to be generally unexpected by the fluctuations of stock markets and are highly resilient during harsh economic times. Over the past thirty years wine investments have shown exceptional stability and growth and have also outperformed many fixed-income equities and various other major investments sectors.

What affects Wine Prices?
About Wine Investment

Wine investment
Robert Parker, the acclaimed US ‘Wine Critic’, has astounding power. His power is such that the Bordelais will rarely release their latest vintage until Mr Parker has ‘scored’ the wines. A re-evaluation of any wine’s score upwards can affect the price of a wine almost immediately, with an upgrade provoking a spike in the price as buyers chase the wine.

Stock Availability: These are niche wines with tiny productions. With high demand and often cult followings, these wines can often reach astronomical prices. Each Château can only produce around 12,000 cases annually due to the French Law ‘Appelation Controlee’. This means that they cannot mass produce the wines. If a vineyard has a low production, they must still use 95% of that year’s grapes in each bottle. This ensures that the quality is not compromised and could result in less than 10,000 cases being produced in a year.

The Seasons: There are many worldwide public holidays that affect a wine’s price. These holidays produce significant increases in consumption levels. The law of supply and demand states that as a supply decreases, the only way the demand can go is up. So when high consumption levels come into play we see high price rises. These such times are Chinese New Year, The Moon Festival and Christmas/New Year. Please also note that the release of a new vintage can also push back-vintage prices up as we have seen with the release of the extraordinary 2009 vintage.