2012 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Collection
 
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Olivier Humbrecht "Z-H"

In the mid-1990s, The Wine Advocate published a report that would alert collectors worldwide to what we'd known since the early 1980s. Robert Parker wrote:

"I don't know what is more mind-boggling, the quality of Domaine Zind Humbrecht's wines or Olivier Humbrecht's complete dedication to quality. This tall, powerful, and intellectual man may well be the finest winemaker in the world."

Amen.

Our first visit to "Z-H" was in the winter of 1982. We were in the early stages of our careers, scouting out estates that might be foolish enough to entrust us with marketing their wines in the U.S. What we lacked in financial resources and business know-how was offset by our enthusiasm and chutzpah.

We spent our days in Paris studying 3-star Michelin Guide menus and wine lists. The menus were of little interest, but the wine lists were like an importer's bible. We took our cheat sheets, filled with winery names and addresses, and made a beeline for the post office. Once there, we sifted through regional yellow pages for phone numbers, then made the requisite cold calls. It would be late in the day on a cold, wet November afternoon that we managed to get Léonard Humbrecht on the line. An appointment was made for the next afternoon.

Léonard was a reserved man. Still, he greeted us graciously. As he led us towards his simple cellar, he told us that he'd just reached agreement with a Berkeley-based importer named Kermit Lynch. As a result, he could offer us nothing to sell stateside.

Once our commercial relationship was put on ice, Humbrecht seemed to be more in his element, talking incessantly of his vines, the vineyard sites and the recent harvests. Over the course of the next three hours, Léonard would uncork 50 bottles, most drawn from the steep calcareous slopes around Turckheim. The tasting was one of the most dizzying olfactory experiences of our careers, covering eight varieties, a half dozen vineyards and vintages dating back to 1964.

Not long after our visit, Robert Parker dropped in on Léonard. Zind Humbrecht would never be the same. Since the 1990 vintage, the Wine Advocate has dropped an astounding 109 (!!!) 95-100pt scores on these gorgeous estate grown whites -- among the highest totals for any winery in the world. With Olivier Humbrecht -- Léonard's son -- now at the helm, leading the biodynamic transition of the vineyards, nearly every 3-star Michelin restaurant in Europe would soon feature these exhilarating, intense, yet marvelously food-friendly whites.

This morning, 31 years after we first knocked on Léonard Humbrecht's door, we've finally pried open the Z-H cellar doors. In a 2012 growing season that challenged many on the hills outside Colmar, Olivier Humbrecht deftly managed the late budbreak and the spring rain, before taking full advantage of an extraordinary Indian summer -- turning out brilliant, Burgundian styled Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris.



Tasting Notes

2012 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Lot 170
"Dry and focused, this mineral-driven version offers lots of ground white pepper and ginger notes, with an open-knit mesh of crunchy apricot, lychee, grapefruit zest and melon rind. Drink now through 2020."
91 points -- Wine Spectator

"(Drawn almost entirely from early harvested 35 year old vines of Herrenweg). Pale gold in color. Beautiful floral nose, infused with gentle fragrance of roses, white pepper. Faintly lychee. Broad and juicy on the attack with remarkable delicacy, at once plump and vibrant. Drinking beautifully right out of the gate even if ZH aficionados know this one is structured for the long haul, and will continue to add weight and complexity over the next decade."
-- The WineAccess Travel Log

2012 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris
"(Drawn from 35 year old vines in Herrenweg and Wintzenheim). The fattest of the three wines. Golden in color. Rich and nutty on the nose, infused with exotic fruits. Big, broad and powerful on the attack with excellent concentration and minerality. So rich that one finds it hard to believe that this Pinot Gris is bone dry. Superb backbone and persistence. Drink now for the primary fruit opulence or lay this one down for a decade of cellar slumber."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

2012 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling
"(Drawn from 35 year old vines in Herrenweg). Brilliant gold to the rim. Chiseled aromas of white peach and orchard pit, with mouthwatering stony character so often associated with older vine wines. Broad and fleshy on the attack with marvelous juicy minerality. Intense on the palate, yet bone dry, classic tension without any sign of tightness. Finishes bright and zesty. Drink now for its primary fruit crispness or lay down for 7-10 years."
-- The WineAccess Travel Log


 

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