Critics all over the world have praised the quality of the wines from this domaine – Robert Parker has rated the Humbrecht wines as “Outstanding” and in the opinion of Clive Coates MW, one of the most influential British wine writers, is that Zind-Humbrecht is “One of the greatest domaines in Alsace”.
Each year Olivier Humbrecht produces a detailed vintage report with tasting notes of each of the wines. These are very informative, with individual notes on the character of the wine, useful descriptions of the vineyard, how the wines developed in the cellar, suggested drinking window, technical analysis and more.
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht was only created 1959, following the marriage of Leonard Humbrecht and Genevieve Zind. However The Humbrecht family can trace its involvement in wine at least as far back as 1620 during which time Europe was embroiled in what became the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648).
There are numerous reasons why the wines of Zind-Humbrecht are so successful. Their many varied vineyard sites, close to 40 hectares, are all great sites for quality vine growing and yields are kept deliberately low, in the belief that the characteristics of a vineyard show better through the application of low yields.
Leonard and his son Olivier Humbrecht MW produce extraordinary wines, working with the finest terroirs in Alsace, and through careful purchase or exchange have added some exceptional parcels of vines, often on steep, difficult sites such as Rangen and Clos Windsbuhl, sites that other growers were only too keen to sell, as they are not workable using mechanised techniques.
The day to day management is now in Olivier’s hands, one of the most gifted winemakers in the world, he has guided the domaine’s wines to new heights. A pioneer of biodynamic viticulture in the region – as a scientist Olivier was naturally sceptical of the possible benefits when he commenced limited organic and biodynamic trials with some vines in 1997, but for him the results were so obvious after one year that he decided to convert all their vineyards. The domain has been biodynamic since 1998.
The domaine owns vines in the following Grand Cru vineyards:
• Hengst A steep, south-east facing vineyard, with scree soils over marl, near Wintzenheim
• Brand A legendary Grand Cru with steep south and south-east facing slopes, and a variety of soil types, just on the edge of Turckheim
• Rangen A vineyard steep south facing slopes, and a mixture of volcanic rocks and ash with fine sandstone, adjacent to Thann
• Goldert Mostly gentle east facing slopes, with calcareous soils, clay and sandstone over limestone
Zind-Humbrecht also hold a number of superb lieux-dits (single vineyards), which are not Grand Cru status but have superb potential, producing wines are no less impressive than those from the Grands Cru sites above.
• Rotenberg A rocky, iron and mineral-rich vineyard abutting Grand Cru Hengst
• Herrenweg An alluvial, silt and granite: site south of Turckheim
• Heimbourg A limestone vineyard abutting Brand, and once sold as Brand until the official delimitation of that vineyard
Clos Monopole vineyards
The Humbrecht family also own three of Alsace’s few walled Clos, these special sites are labelled ‘Monopoles’, because the family owns the entire vineyard.
• Clos Windsbuhl A terraced limestone and clay site, which many feel produces their greatest wines
• Clos Hauserer A marly limestone site at the foot of Grand Cru Hengst, planted solely with Riesling
• Clos Jebsal Another terraced site, of marl and limestone, abutting Grand Cru Brand, which produces excellent Pinot Gris.
The Vintage Reports
Each Year Olivier produces a detailed vintage report with tasting notes of each of the wines. These are very informative, with individual notes on the character of the wine, useful descriptions of the vineyard, how the wines developed in the cellar, suggested drinking window, technical analysis and an indication of the level of sweetness (see indice guide below)
We are very grateful to Olivier Humbrecht MW who has kindly allowed us to make these available online for the first time. All tasting notes copyright © Olivier Humbrecht MW
To read a vintage reports click on a vintage year above. (pdf format)
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Olivier Humbrecht’s Indice Guide
Indice: indicates the level of sweetness on the palate on a scale from 1 to 5. This guide number combines factors such as the sweetness, acidity, alcohol and overall structure of the wine.
1: Technically dry or tasting dry.
2: Not technically dry, but sweetness not apparent on the palate. Some tasters might find some roundness on the finish.
3: Medium sweetness, especially when the wine is young, this may disappear with ageing.
4: Sweet wine
5: High sweetness, VT in richness without the usual botrytis.