Domaine Zind-Humbrecht is one of France's greatest white wine producers. The estate owns numerous parcels of vines across the varied terroirs of Alsace, the majority of which are vinified and presented as individual wines, reflecting the geological complexity of the region. Olivier Humbrecht MW was the first French Master of Wine, and a great exponent of biodynamics; this was one of the first high profile estates in France to fully commit to this approach, dramatically lifting the quality of their wines as a result. In the winery the grapes are pressed very gently for several hours before a fermentation that can last up to a year in giant old oak casks. The wines are left to progress in their own style and at their own pace, often with spectacular results.
The Rotenberg vineyard is facing the Vosges mountains and is easily recognisable with its iron rich soil giving that intense red brick colour to the earth. It is one of the reason that explain the affinity of this lieu-dit to the pinot grape family, especially Pinot-gris and Auxerrois. The slope shows some steepness (30 to 40%). The soil is thin because it was eroded during the glacier period and is mixed with lots of rocks. The mother oligocen marl-limestone is very close to the surface. Yields are naturally very low and the grapes grow in a relatively late ripening situation. This vineyard has shown its capacity to produce anything from very dry to very rich and sweet wines, depending on the harvest date and presence of noble rot. However, as the ripening process is slower, it makes it slightly easier to choose the correct date of harvest. The 2017, despite a certain concentration, fermented very dry after a whole year of fermentation.
Yellow gold colour. The nose is smoky and shows the rocky origin with a certain tightness and lean early aspect. Aeration will reveal complex aromatics (aromatic herbs, oregano…). The mouth is tight and may express a certain severity in the early days, but again, time will reveal a beautiful fumet, grilled almonds, nutty character. Tannins are well present adding a finesse and a silky touch on the palate. It is a dry and precise wine, very close to a red wine structure with a nice salivating acidity on the finish.