White

2005 Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl Vendange Tardive

Zind-Humbrecht

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Average Score 94.0

Fascinating notes of green tea, candied lime peel, peach preserves, passion fruit, and litchi rise from the glass of 2005 Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl Vendange Tardive, almost as though it were mingled with botrytized Sauvignon Blanc. Displaying an uncanny combination of sheer, honeyed richness and intensity of spice with vibrant, juicy, clarity of flavor and transparency to mineral nuance, this stages an amazing performance on the palate even at this early point, and can safely be predicted to age to further complexity over the next quarter century.||Olivier Humbrecht compares his 2004s with 1992. These were the two most copious vintages of recent times, delivering truly dry wines with quite high acidity. Although he characterized 2004 as more precocious than 2005, Humbrecht kept harvesting through early November, insisting that this was only possible due to his stringent, biodynamic viticultural practices and consequent generally healthy fruit. Humbrecht insists too that he did not seek botrytis, as rain was rendering noble rot nearly impossible. But it certainly seems sometimes as if botrytis sought out him! One price for his protracted harvest was elevated alcohol, which some wines struck me as hard-pressed to gracefully support; and acid levels too occasionally reached extremes. Overall, in fact, I have never tasted such a wide rage of quality nor so many unusually distinctive and at times downright inscrutable wines at this address as those of 2004. Two thousand five, relates Humbrecht, brought ample botrytis, especially with Pinot Gris, but later ripeness, again with formidable acid and extract levels thanks to the cool, well-watered August. Nearly all of the Riesling musts fermented dry. Humbrecht considers it a classic vintage for (in most instances dry-tasting) Gewurztraminer. And despite the blanket of rot that descended on the Pinot Gris vineyards, a cold, virtually cloudless five day period permitted patient and rigorous selection of fruit. A tribute to the ripeness and high tartaric acidity of these 2005s is that although well more than half of his lots of Riesling and Pinot Gris underwent malolactic transformation, an experienced taster would be hard-pressed to identify which! “Had we had the challenging October of 2004 in 2005 as well,” he says, “most ‘04s would be better than the ‘05s.” But as things turned out – October 2005 having been the second warmest after 2001 in the last decade – Humbrecht believes that in the long run these two collections will prove well matched in overall quality. Wine Advocate.February, 2008

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