2006 Zind Humbrecht "Clos Saint Urbain Rangen de Thann" Riesling (Elsewhere $80)
A rich, just off-dry white, enlivened by intense, citrus acidity. Exudes kumquat, apricot and guava flavors, laced with exotic spice notes of anise and cardamom. Despite its power, this is elegantly put together, with a clean, dry finish that leaves a mouthwatering impression. Drink now through 2028. 410 cases made.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Having pointed out - in connection with this year's Heimbourg Riesling - that a wine of only 9 grams residual sugar could 20 years ago have been sold as vendange tardive, Olivier Humbrecht proceeds to explain that - at 32 grams - he felt his 2006 Riesling Rangen Clos Saint Urban had already fermented too far to be bottled as V.T., which is how he had envisioned it at harvest! The deep color here signifies the strong presence of botrytis. The smoky aromatic pungency is, I think, a case of noble rot reinforcing vineyard character. Quince and gooseberry preserves, dried peach, nut paste, caramel, and peat saturate a palate of creamy richness and palpable density, and this finishes only slightly sweet, its analysis notwithstanding. It might well improve in bottle for a few years, but I would certainly monitor it carefully.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(14% alcohol, 32 g/l r.s.) Deep yellow color. Tangy tropical fruits, honey, ginger and resin on the nose, along with the vineyard's characteristic smoke and flint qualities (reminded me of Mosel-like schist). Quite sweet and concentrated, with a tactile saline quality as well as fairly strong acidity from noble rot. Perhaps a tad bitter-edged, and less pristine than the 2006. "From 60% blue grapes that were fragile but not shriveled," according to Humbrecht, who originally declared this wine as VT only to watch it ferment to a high level of alcohol. This idiosyncratic wine should age slowly, in spite of its somewhat deep color.
On the 2006 vintage: "As for 2006, it's clear that this is a year to test the meddle of any grower, and it is therefore not surprising that Zind-Humbrecht was among the estates to demonstrate that excellence and even excitement were not ruled out by the weather. Furthermore, he arrived at an average 2006 yield virtually identical to that of 2005. 'Of course,' asserts Humbrecht, 'quality in 2006 depended on how you handle your vineyards and your vines the whole year through. It was a vintage where, if you made a mistake in the vineyards, you got slapped pretty hard at harvest time, unlike 2007 where if you made a mistake, nature was forgiving.' " (Wine Advocate, 04/10)