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May 07, 2017
Wine Legend: Zind-Humbrecht, Clos St-Urbain Pinot Gris SGN 1989
A legend because…
The Clos St-Urbain has always been one of Zind-Humbrecht’s most prized sites, excelling with Pinot Gris. Even the more basic Pinot Gris bottlings are rich and spicy, while the Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN) wines from here are off the charts in terms of richness and opulence.
Léonard Humbrecht was a campaigner for low yields, and this conviction, as well as the quality of the estate vineyards, accounts for the superb quality of his top wines. His son Olivier always seeks maximum ripeness in the vineyards, and prefers not to intervene in the fermentation process. If the yeasts stumble to a halt and leave residual sugar in a wine, he is untroubled so long as the wine is balanced. With an SGN, residual sugar (in this case 172 grams per litre) is of course sought after, but the wine must be harmonious if it is to avoid being clumsy. He has no interest in producing ultra-ripe SGNs for the sake of richness alone, and in 1994 created a further category called Trie Spéciale to denote wines made from grapes with a potential alcohol of about 30%.
By Stephen Brook