Hugel Riesling Vendange Tardive is a dessert wine, a late harvested Riesling from Alsace. The Hugel family have along history in Alsace, they can trace their origins back to 1639, and were actually instrumental in drafting the law on what a late harvest (Vendange Tardive) wine should be. The grapes for Hugel Riesling Vendange Tardive are picked well after the harvest for Hugel’s classic wines and it is only made in the very best vintages. The grapes are left on the vine and become affected with noble rot, a mould called Botrytis cinerea. Botrytis basically removes water from the grapes which has a concentrating effect on the the grape’s sugars, fruit acids and minerals resulting in an intensely sweet, concentrated wine. Of course, the trick is to have good balance of sweetness and acidity which means that the wine is not too cloying. It also means that wines such as this can aged for many, many years.
The grapes are harvested from some of the oldest plots of vines on their 70 hectare estate (average 35 yeears old) in the heart of the Schoenenbourg Grand Cru. The grapes for the 1996 Hugel Riesling Vendange Tardive were harvested no the 14th and 17th November 1996. They harvested into small tubs and taken to the presses which are filled only by gravity (no pumping) to ensure the grapes are in the best condition possible. The residual sugar for the 1996 is 24.9 g/L. 12.5% ABV.
Hugel & Fils are members of the Primum Familiae Vini – an exclusive association of some of the world’s most prestigious wine dynasties. Other members include Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Marchese Antinori, Vega Sicilia, Pol Roger and Torres, so they are in pretty good company!