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Hugel Classic Pinot Gris 2013

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Alsace, France
  • JS90
0% ABV
  • JS92
  • WE90
  • WS89
  • WS89
  • WS90
  • RP91
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3.7 3 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

'Classic Pinot Gris' is one of the Hugel family secrets first released with the fabulous 2006 vintage. This new release is from a drastic selection of the best grapes purchased from winegrowers under long-term contract in a dozen of the most favored localities in and around the village of Riquewihr and includes an sizable amount of grapes declassified from some Grand Cru vineyards of the Hugel estate. The hand picked grapes were taken intact to the presses, filled by gravity, the must decanted for a few hours, then fermented in temperature-controlled vats with natural yeasts. The wine is the purest expression of the grapes, with a very natural and non-intervention vinification.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 90
James Suckling
This has just a hint of the raisin bread aroma of Pinot Gris. Dried fruit notes range from pear to mango, but the result is much less extroverted than most Alsace wines from this grape. What makes this wine so good is the combination of some richness and remarkably fresh clean finish for Pinot Gris with a lingering herbal note. Like the Riesling ?Classic,? this represents a clear stylistic shift from earlier vintages.
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Hugel
Hugel, Alsace, France
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In the cellars, the oldest of which dates back to 1551, can be seen rows of oak wine casks, over one hundred years old, crafted by the forefathers of the present generation of Hugels now running the company. Near them is the oldest cask in the world still in use: the Sainte Caterine, which has a capacity of 8,800 litres. It was built in 1715, the year in which Louis XIV died.

The company has always maintained its family character and is determined to keep it that way. The vineyards are owned and farmed by individual members of the family whereas the company owns the buildings and machinery.

With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence, and strong emphasis on white wines, Alsace is one of France’s most unique viticultural regions. This hotly contested stretch of land on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory, and this is easy to see both in Alsace’s architecture and wine styles. A long, narrow strip running north to south, Alsace is nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, making it perhaps the driest region of France. The growing season is long and cool, and autumn humidity facilitates the development of noble rot for the production of late-picked sweet wines Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles. Alsace is divided into two halves—the Haut-Rhin and the Bas-Rhin—the former, at higher elevations, is associated with higher quality and makes up the lower portion of the region.

The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris. Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner, and Pinot Noir—the only red grape permitted here, responsible for about 10% of production and often used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty, and historically has always been bone dry to differentiate it from its German counterparts. In its youth, Alsatian Riesling is fresh and floral, developing complex mineral and gunflint character with age. Gewurztraminer is known for its signature spice and lychee aromatics, and is often utilized for late harvest wines. Pinot Gris is prized for its combination of crisp acidity and savory spice as well as ripe stone fruit flavors. Muscat is vinified dry, and tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal. There are 51 Grand Cru vineyards in Alsace, and only these four noble varieties are permitted within. While most Alsatian wines are bottled varietally, blends of several (often lesser) varieties are commonly labeled as ‘Edelzwicker.’

Pinot Gris/Grigio

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One grape variety with two very distinct personas, Pinot Gris in France is rich, round, and aromatic, while Pinot Grigio in Italy is simple, crisp, and refreshing. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is grown in the mountainous regions of Trentino, Friuli, and Alto Adige in the northeast. In France it reaches its apex in Alsace. Pinots both “Gris” and “Grigio” are produced successfully in Oregon's Willamette Valley as well as parts of California, and are widely planted throughout central and eastern Europe.

In the Glass

Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity, so full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear, and almond skin. Alsatian styles are aromatic, richly textured and often relatively high in alcohol. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is much more subdued, light, simple, and easy to drink.

Perfect Pairings

Alsace is renowned for its potent food–pork, foie gras, and charcuterie. With its viscous nature, Pinot Gris fits in harmoniously with these heavy hitters. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works better with simple salads, a wide range of seafood, and subtle chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Outside of France and Italy, the decision by the producer whether to label as “Gris” or “Grigio” serves as a strong indicator as to the style of wine in the bottle—the former will typically be a richer, more serious rendition while the latter will be bright, fresh, and fun.

SWS407710_2013 Item# 152550