Al­sace

Decanter - - RIESLING -

Al­sace’s unique cli­mate comes from the fact that its ter­raced vine­yards at 200m-400m al­ti­tude lie in the rain shadow of the Vos­ges moun­tains. For Olivier Hum­brecht MW of Do­maine Zind-Hum­brecht: ‘Dry is a bet­ter ex­pres­sion of Al­sace Ries­ling most of the time.’ Bio­dy­namic farm­ing has led to health­ier grapes and ear­lier har­vest­ing. Di­verse, well-drained soils are ideal for im­part­ing a wide va­ri­ety of al­lur­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics to Al­sace’s per­fumed and de­li­ciously full-bod­ied, tex­tured, dry Ries­lings: smoky wines from vol­canic Ran­gen (see p98), cit­russy wines from Schoe­nen­bourg, for in­stance. There is also sweet ven­dange tar­dive, and lus­ciously rich sélec­tion de grains no­bles. Al­sace’s best pro­duc­ers in­clude Boxler, Deiss, Do­maine Wein­bach, Hugel, Jos­meyer, Léon Beyer Ostertag, Schlum­berger, Trim­bach and Zind­Hum­brecht. vine­yards lie over a patch­work of an­cient and more re­cent soils. Pfalz’s pre­dis­po­si­tion to­wards dry Ries­ling com­bin­ing full body, sub­stance and rich­ness of fruit (some­times de­scribed as yel­low fruit) with fi­nesse and min­er­al­ity, is aided and abet­ted by a ben­e­fi­cial ripen­ing cli­mate. To­day’s roll-call of top pro­duc­ers ex­tends from tra­di­tional names such as Basser­mann-Jor­dan, Bürklin Wolf (pic­tured left) and von Buhl to Christ­mann, Dr Wehrheim, Knipser, Koehler-Ruprecht, Okonomierat Reb­holz, Philipp Kuhn and von Win­ning.

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