Pinot Blanc HUGEL 2015

It is now the most planted varietal in Alsace. Delicate, subtle and well built, it makes an excellent aperitif because, although nicely rounded, it is also refreshing.
The perfect all-purpose dry white wine, it goes well with country buffets, seafood and white meats.

Presentation

Quick View
It is the most approachable wine of Alsace and also the most consistent year in year out. Not far in style from an unoaked Chardonnay such as a Macon or Chablis.
The vintage
2015 will go down as an exceptional vintage year for the whole of France. After one of the hottest and driest summers since 2003 and a harvest quality to rivals those of the great "solar" vintages of 1945, 1976, 1989 and 2009, the Alsace region will be no exception.
The year started with quite normal weather conditions, a total of 6 days below freezing (up to -6°C) during the winter. The spring was, however, pleasant and sunny. The vines budded slightly later than usual, around the 13 April, and blossomed during the first weeks of June, indicating an early vintage. This was normal considering the low rain fall, a record of only 30mm between 4 May and 24 July! These dry conditions were compounded by a heatwave that lasted for almost the whole of July.
By the time the grapes started to ripen, the vines were suffering, especially in the more well-drained soils with limited reserves of water. Riquewihr and its loamy soil seemed to have escaped the worst of this and the heavy rain that came in mid-August saved the harvest just in time.
We started grape-picking on the 10 September, three days later than the rest of the Alsace, and the first grapes to arrive in the winery gave every indication of an exceptional vintage year. The grapes were perfectly healthy and ripe; their supple acidity was a taste of great wine to come. The Pinots, especially the magnificent Pinot Noir, of this great "solar" year were highly appreciated.
Only one day of rain disrupted the harvest, which was already well underway at the time.
The rapid acceleration of the ripening during the third week and a nice outbreak of botrytis meant the most part of our Riesling de Schoenenbourg were harvested late, and once again the Engelkritt (Angels' Vine) won us not one but two of the "Sélection de Grains Nobles" awards for this grape variety, the most concentrated being at a potential of 23°!
In the vineyard
VINEYARDS & VINIFICATION
Harvested in the first days of harvest, exclusively by hand, from clay and limestone vineyards in a dozen of the most favoured localities in and around Riquewihr.
Winemaking
The grapes are taken in small tubs to the presses, which are filled by gravity, without any pumping or other mechanical intervention. After pressing, the must is decanted for a few hours, then fermented in temperature-controlled vats (at 18 to 24°C). The wine is racked just once, before natural clarification during the course of the winter. The following spring, the wine is lightly filtered just before bottling, and the bottles are then aged in our cellars until released for sale. The whole production of this wine is closed with DIAM the cork without the risk of cork taint.
Technical specifications
Residual Sugar (g/l): 3.5 g/l
Acidity (g/l): 5.8 g/l
pH: 3.19
Age of vines: 25 ans
Yields : 60 hL/ha
Alcohol level (% vol.): 13.2 % vol.

Tasting advices

Tasting notes by Serge Dubs, World's Best Sommelier 1989
This wine has a very youthful colour, fresh and crystalline with a shimmering pale pastel green colour and silvery highlights. With hints of springtime, pistachio and verbena leaves. Very pleasant, smooth and tender legs
It has a very precise, refreshing, open and expressive nose, enriched with a sound and lively aroma; there is an agreeable and harmonious approach with the fruity spontaneity of green apples, white peaches, lemon balm and spring flowers.
On the palate it is a well-balanced and pleasant dry wine which is also fresh, refreshing, and pleasingly well-rounded with a pleasantly smooth and full structure which begs to be enjoyed, and leaves a nice, fruity and well stated after-taste. An excellent wine which successfully presents the qualities of a largely underestimated grape variety.
It should be enjoyed during its sparkling youth and will also be magnificent if laid down for 3 to 5 years.
This is really a full-flavoured, well-made and precise wine. Best served at 8°C; ideal for aperitifs. A perfect opening wine when served at the start of a meal. Excellent value for money.
Best served with sea and fresh-water fish, preferably grilled, in sauce, smoked, marinated or at the start of a meal, with asparagus, Mackerel in aspic, seafood platters, goat or sheep cheese or simply enjoyed as a pleasant, easy to drink white wine. It has certainly won me over!!!