Welcome to the third installment of the Icons series - today, the biodynamic Alsace producer; Domaine Zind Humbrecht. I must admit, until recently I hadn't tried any of their wines but I have seen them lauded many times by the wine press. Current man at the helm in Turckheim is Oliver Humbrecht MW, the first Frenchman to become a Master of Wine. He is the son of Genevieve Zind and Leonard Humbrecht who created the domaine in 1959, although the family have been making wine since the 17th century!
Their wines are revered for expressing a sense of place from the various Grand Cru and single vineyard sites, no doubt some would say, due to their fastidious vineyard practices (fully-certified as biodynamic). The top wines carry a hefty price-tag, for example a Gewurz from the Hengst Grand Cru vineyard will set you back about £40 - £60 a bottle!
However, they do offer entry-level wines, and it is here that we'll look to see if you can get a feel for that "terroir expression" so often quoted, albeit at a sensible price. We had the entry-level Riesling and Gewurztraminer, both from 2009 and both from Majestic Wine at £11.99 each (when you buy 2-bottles, normally £14.99 each).
Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Riesling, 2009, 11.5%
The Look: A pale gold, very bright and clear with a watery white rim.
The Smell: Complex. Grapey, creamy vanilla, lots of stone fruit like peach and apricot, slightly nutty and some mineral undertones.
The Taste: There's acidity, smoothness, opulent and luxurious fruit, peach and apricot again dominating plus a long, dry, crisp citrussy finish.
The Score: Good, but not superb. I was left wondering what all the fuss was about, and didn't really get a sense of "terroir expression" apart from a slightly mineral nose. Worth a try, but for £15 I'd really have to go with something a bit fresher from the New World. 7.5/10. Recommended
VFM: Normal price of £14.99 yields a VFM of 0.50 which is not great value by any stretch, but neither is it appalling!
Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Gewurztraminer, 2009, 14%