Category Archives: Tasting

Domaine Zind Humbrecht Tasting Recap

Pinot-Gris-Rangen-ThannLast week, the HDH team gathered together to taste the exceptional wines of Domaine Zind Humbrecht. These wines are the benchmark for the Alsace region, and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to taste several of them side by side. It was a great reminder of the heights wines from this oft-overlooked region can reach in the hands of a great producer.

The Humbrecht family has viticultural roots in Alsace that can be traced back to 1620. Since 1989, Zind-Humbrecht has been managed by Olivier Humbrecht, one of the world’s only winemakers to attain MW status. Olivier has overseen the expansion of the winery’s cellar and the conversion of the winery to biodynamics in 2002. The domaine produces wines from many traditional Alsatian grape varieties including Gewurtraminer, Muscat, Pinot Noir, and Riesling, but for this tasting, we focused on their Pinot Gris. Though grape originated in Burgundy, it’s been widely planted in Alsace since the 16th century due to the fact that it is a vigorous varietal that is well-adapted to the deep, chalky soils of the region. The personality of this varietal is strong, so much so that Alsatian Pinot Gris can successfully be paired with dishes that would typically be paired with a red wine.

With all this in mind, we delved into the tasting: five bottles of Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris (four of which were from the famed Clos St. Urbain, Rangen de Thann Grand Cru vineyard) including a bottle of Vendange Tardive and a bottle of Selection de Grains Nobles. The first wine we tasted was the 2009 Pinot Gris “Calcaire.” The grapes for this wine are sourced from young vines in the Clos Windsbuhl vineyard, Zind-Humbrecht’s northern most vineyard. The thin topsoil, limestone rock (Calcaire translates to limestone), and high altitude of this vineyard help create a wine with vibrant acidity matched by honey and dried fruit characteristics. The balance of the wine was astonishing, especially given that my co-workers had their eyes locked on to the Grand Cru wines. It just goes to show that even in difficult years a world-class producer can produce a fantastic wine.

That said, the late harvest wines from Clos St. Urbain lived up to their lofty expectations. Both came from the 1998 vintage which has been described as, “the year of the century for botrytis wines in the grand cru of Rangen”. It was a rare experience to see the same grape, from the same vineyard, from the same year made into two very different wines. The 1998 Pinot Gris, Clos St. Urbain, Vendange Tardive (Late Harvest) had a luscious mouthfeel and a honeyed sweetness. The volcanic rocks and tufa of the vineyard gave the wine a smoky elegance to match the earthiness of the Pinot Gris grape. It’s complexity and long finish made it a true pleasure to drink. The 1998 Pinot Gris, Clos St. Urbain, Selection de Grains Nobles (Selection of Noble Berries) is predominantly made from grapes affected by noble rot and with an even higher sugar content than Vendange Tardive. Not much else can be said about this wine as it needs to be experienced. My coworkers remarked about its perfect texture and precision while others said they were going to race back to their computers to buy bottles for their cellar. This is a wine that can last at least fifty years and shows what an artist Olivier is.

The wines of Domaine Zind Humbrecht are some of the best white wines in the world and, at their current prices, represent a true value. Check out Hart Davis Hart Retail’s excellent selection of these wines and add them to your collection today!

Let Me Be Direct: Château-Direct Consignments

Let Me Be Direct: Château-Direct Consignments

The words provenance and storage are probably the two most important words we use at Hart Davis Hart. They are so closely tied together around our offices that they are almost one word. Provenanceandstorage.  When Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. is deciding whether to offer wine for sale, the provenance and storage are the firstContinue Reading

Juicy Details with David Larson: The Wines of Bruno Clair

I like to drink wine. I especially like to drink Burgundy. And when given the choice of a domaine to enjoy, the wines of Bruno Clair are at the very top of my list. I previously worked for many years with the local importer/wholesaler for these wines, and had the opportunity to visit and tasteContinue Reading

Juicy Details with David Larson: Musings on White Bordeaux

Juicy Details with David Larson: Musings on White Bordeaux

So I tend to preface many of my posts with something being “one of my favorite __________”. This post  is going to be a bit different in that it is about a wine that is NOT among my favorites - namely white Bordeaux. It is pretty far down my list of white wines, below the likesContinue Reading

Juicy Details with David Larson: Single Vineyard Barolo

As I continue to drink more and more Barolo (not sure what took me so long), I have been diving deeper into the study of the region’s vineyards. It seems, from where I sit, that the single vineyards of Barolo don’t have as much attention paid to them as they deserve. Burgundy and Germany haveContinue Reading

Juicy Details with David Larson: Great Wine

What makes a wine great? This question came up last Saturday night following our Celebration of Burgundy sale. I posed it to myself, but that still counts. I asked (myself) this question during the course of our auction, as I had the opportunity to taste a number of very good wines that were opened inContinue Reading

Northern Rhône Dinner Recap

One of the wonderful things about working for Hart Davis Hart is the opportunity to attend the special events that surround our auctions. During my five years at HDH I have been lucky to be part of a number of once-in-a-lifetime dinners. It’s hard to pick favorites but a few come to mind: 1960s Bordeaux at the nowContinue Reading

Union Grand Crus Bordeaux Recap

I had the good fortune to travel to Bordeaux two years ago to taste 100′s of 2012′s from barrel during En Primeur week.  Most of the wine pundits’ reviews of the 2012 vintage were pretty poor so, as I made my way from Château to Château tasting through their efforts from barrel, I was pleasantlyContinue Reading

Lynch Bages Dinner Recap

Lynch Bages Dinner Recap

The Blizzard of 2015 wreaked havoc with many a Bordeaux winemakers plans this week. Each year, the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux brings a number of the leading lights from the major Chateaux to the US for a series of tastings highlighting the newly released vintage of their wines. Among them is Kinou Cazes-Hachemian, theContinue Reading

LA Comparative Bordeaux Tasting Recap

LA Comparative Bordeaux Tasting Recap

Last Thursday, a group of us escaped chilly Chicago to host a Comparative Bordeaux Tasting at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. The tasting compared the 1995 and 1996 vintages, both of which are drinking beautifully right now. The evening was a truly special opportunity to taste these two highly rated vintages side-by-side. The 1995sContinue Reading

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