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Hugel Gentil 2003

Other White Blends from Alsace, France
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    Winemaker Notes

    A harmonious blend of five noble grapes, the Hugel Gentil offers the best of Alsace in delicious, affordable fashion. The component blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Sylvaner varies somewhat from vintage to vintage, but the idea and inspiration behind Gentil remains constant: to showcase the beauty of Alsace's wines in a single glass.

    Family-owned and operated Hugel is among the most storied and long-established producers of its kind, tracing its legacy back thirteen generations to 1639. This pedigree allows Hugel to source the grapes for Gentil from respected growers under long-term contracts, and the quality is apparent in the glass. The open, appealing nose offers floral notes, leading into a refreshing palate of streamlined pear and citrus flavors. Its appealing, "drink me now" personality makes it ideal both as an aperitif and as a foil to Asian cuisines.

    Critical Acclaim

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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 running north to south on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, it is one of the driest regions of France but enjoys a long and cool growing season. Autumn humidity facilitates the development of “noble rot” for the production of late-picked sweet wines, Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles.

    The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties, the only ones permitted within Alsace’s 51 Grands Crus vineyards, are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris.

    Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty. In its youth, Alsatian Riesling is dry, fresh and floral, but develops complex mineral and flint 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, vinified dry, tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal.

    Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner and Pinot Noir—the only red grape permitted in Alsace and mainly used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Most Alsatian wines are single-varietal bottlings and unlike other French regions, are also labeled with the variety name.

    Other White Blends

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    With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

    SOU80277_2003 Item# 79489