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These wines made from overripe grapes are picked well after the classic vintage and in the greatest years only. The action of noble rot (botrytis cinerea) gives them an almost unlimited ability to age. They are part of the elite of the greatest wines in France.
The wine :
Photos of bottles and labels, 3 definitions, max 300dpi
The vintage :
In Alsace, the year 2002 began with an extremely cold January, and the ground was frozen solid for one whole month. Spring was alternately sunny and rainy with no spring frost. Flowering took place in mid-June, very quickly and very evenly, with neither coulure problems, nor even any millerandage. As a large harvest looked likely, in early July we began an unprecedentedly severe green harvest programme that continued until mid-September. Alsace escaped the bad summer weather that affected other parts of Europe, and by mid-September we were expecting an abundant crop of good quality. Harvest began on 30 September with good weather conditions but a few days of gloomy weather caused deterioration in the sanitary state of some grapes and kept levels of acidity high. Overall, ripeness levels were excellent and beaumés range from 11.4% for Pinot Noir to 13.4% for Gewurztraminer. A good surprise came at the very end of our harvest. In the last days of October strong dry southerly winds allowed us to harvest our best Gewurztraminer vineyards at Vendange Tardive levels (over 16% potential) and even a fair quantity of Sélection de Grains nobles at a record 24% potential.
In the vineyard :
Produced from over-ripened grapes in a selection of the oldest plots of the Hugel estate in the heart of the grand cru Sporen made up of Lias clay-marl, decalcified on the surface, exceptionally rich in phosphoric acid
Harvest date: 28 Oct. 2002 Potential alcohol: 16°8
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 extensively in our cellars until released for sale.
Alcohol content : 12.8°
Gewurztraminer : 100%