Pinot Blanc HUGEL 2016

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
After three years of extremely low yields, we can at last say 2016 has been a generous vintage! Unlike most of France, which has been severely hit by hail and frost, Alsace was probably the luckiest of the major wine regions this year. The vintage can really be divided in two halves as weather, which caused us great concern initially, then took a turn for the better around the end of June.
Spring did not unfold without incident, with a few frost alerts in April and even in the beginning of May, followed by the wettest month of June (157mm) in decades! Careful monitoring of the vineyards was key with an outbreak of mildew, extremely rare in the region.
The only window of bright sun during Spring came at the end of June, just in time for a perfect and, for the least, complete blossoming between June 17 and 21.
Summer came out very dry and hot and harvest saw dry and cool conditions (only three real days of rain in seven weeks) resulting in perfect sanitary status across all grape varieties. Due to the late vintage, harvesting started extremely slowly on September 27, one of the latest and longest campaigns of the recent years.
2016 is the first vintage in over a decade that hasn’t seen the production of any botrytis wines at Hugel; due to the late vintage and the optimum health of the grapes, noble rot did not develop, resulting in a classic vintage for dry wines only.
In the vineyard
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 barrels or 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): 5.1 g/l
Acidity (g/l): 5.65 g/l
pH: 3.26
Age of vines: 26 ans
Yields : 60 hL/ha
Alcohol content: 12.5 % vol.

Tasting advices

Tasting notes by Serge Dubs, World's Best Sommelier 1989
Pleasant young, fresh and crystalline colour, dominated by its pure and transparent light green shimmer with scattered silver highlights. It gives off a hint springtime with 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, fresh moss and spring flowers, such as primrose and daffodil. A wonderfully pure and harmonious assault on the senses.
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. It has a lively, thirst-quenching thrust as it reaches the mouth yet maintains a subtlety of flavour.
The after-taste is strong with a pleasant and clear fruitiness.
This 2016 vintage is a finely suited successor to the previous vintage, highlighting the Artfulness of the wine-maker in how they allow the variety to express itself fully without losing any sense of soul and identity.
It should be enjoyed during its sparkling youth and will also be magnificent if laid down for 3 to 5 years.
This is a genuine, well-made and precise wine. Best served at 8°C; ideal for aperitifs. A nice wine to start the meal, an ideal complement to the wines to follow... Excellent value for money.
Ideal served with 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. I have no reservations on this one.