Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Power of three

If you'd caught up with this blog since Christmas, you will have gathered that I'd finally opened that Zind-Humbrecht grand cru bottle I'd mentioned previously. Well, how was it?

In one word: immense.

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Grand Cru Rangen de Thann, Clos Saint Urbain, Pinot Gris 2005, Alsace, France
Amber gold with a laser-like glow. Initially a slightly oxidative nose - reminding me of how I'd originally mistaken the first bottle I'd owned as having a taint of some sort. In hindsight, I probably would still have come to the same conclusion had the good people at the local wine merchants in Basel not put me to rights. Yet the whiff gradually dissipates this time, and complex aromas unfold. I detect some red berry fruit and plenty of Eastern spice. Chalky layers also emerge.

The palate is rich and opulent. As you may be able to make out in the photo, Olivier Humbrecht denoted this wine as being "Indice 3", i.e. 3 on a sweetness scale from 1 to 5. The resultant lusciousness is obvious. Spices are again prevalent, as are dried prunes and almonds - almost evoking the Christmas pudding that followed our traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings. The level of viscosity is relatively high. So is the alcohol, albeit as inconspicuously as 15% abv will ever taste.

Everything is ramped up to the power of three. Complexity and precision countered by a colossal mouthfeel. The finish is extremely long. This is a thrilling (and filling) wine. Almost a meal in itself. Frankly, I'm underqualified to answer to question of whether it's a great wine. That's for others to decide.

But I can say that it's the dream accompaniment to the traditional British Christmas menu.

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