2015 Zind Humbrecht Muscat



Just try.

Try to think of a Grand Cru white wine that offers the intensity and complexity of today’s offer, yet comes in at a rock bottom price.  While drinking this bottle of wine, I tried very hard — all the way down to the bottom of the bottom — and couldn’t.  So I just popped another.

Thanks to 400 years of winemaking experience, a legendary Grand Cru vineyard site, the benefits of biodynamic viticulture and the fortune of the spectacular 2015 vintage, this wine delivers a perfect expression of terroir.  In other words, here is your summer sipper made profound.

So what’s going on here and who is Zind Humbrecht?  From the name on the label to the juice in the bottle, here goes.

After many years of separate farming and winemaking practices in Alsace, France, the Zind and Humbrecht families came together in 1959.  If the names don’t exactly sound French to you, not to worry.  Alsace has been in and out of French and German hands many times, resulting in its own unique genus of family names and ethnic history.  The Humbrecht family now runs the combined 41.1 acres of vines, which is spread across five Grand Cru vineyards in five Alsatian villages, with an additional six lieux-dits in those villages.  All of these acres of Zind Humbrecht vines cover Alsace’s 28 distinctive soil types and include the region’s five noble grape varieties.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because all of these qualities are present in this extraordinary wine.

If you do the math — Grand Cru Vineyards x Villages x Lieux-Dits x Soil Types x Grape Varieties — you realize the Humbrecht family has the potential to make way too many different wines.  So what do they do?  They make it easy on us.

The very special grapes from the Grand Cru vineyards receive the Grand Cru designation and list the name of the grape on their bottles.  Every other grape from the Grand Cru vineyards lists the name of the grape, but doesn’t receive the Grand Cru designation on its bottles.  Why does the Humbrecht family do this?  So they can consolidate their Grand Cru wines into something saleable for  the worldwide audience.  (Bear in mind, they still make 45 different wines every year!)  What does that mean for us?  Darn great wine.

The 2015 Zind Humbrecht Muscat is made of 85% Muscat d’Alsace and 15% Muscat Ottonel from Turkheim.  To say it’s perfumed, explosive and hedonistic is an understatement.  White peach, white flowers, mint and lime zest leap out of the glass like a perfectly executed grand jeté.  The palate is fresh, super elegant and completely dry, with a zingy acidity that leaves you  ready for the next glass.  For Sauvignon Blanc drinkers, this is something similar, yet different.  It’s crisp and lively, but because its quality is Grand Cru, the wine offers immense depth and vivid sensuality.

So why the price break?  That’s in the story I just told. Five noble grape varieties, five Grand Cru vineyards, and two wines for every grape from each vineyard.  One of these wines — despite how great they all are — is bound to get missed.  This Muscat was that orphan, and now it needs a happy home.  Don’t hesitate to make it yours because summer won’t last forever.  Make yours a Grand Cru Summer.

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