Only the oldest vines of Pinot-Gris planted in 1963 in the Rangen were used to produce the Grand Cru in 2011. Less sensitive to rot (noble rot), they produced a wine that had the potential to become much drier. We took the decision to separate the old vines from the ones planted in the period 1978-1986 in order to respect the two very different styles of wines these vines produced. The difference isn’t just on the richness/sweetness of the wines but also on the complexity brought by older vines. It is very difficult to produce a dry Pinot-Gris and actually quite rare at the top level where it is more frequent to find sweeter wines. The Rangen is capable to bring structure to a grape variety that can sometimes be too soft. The fermentation was very quick (4 weeks) and a long total lees contact was necessary in order to round up its powerful constitution.
Tasting Notes :
2/2013: pale yellow gold color. The nose is classic Rangen with all its mineral and smoky intensity. Still quite restrained and without any varietal influence, the palate shows right from the start a great subtle volcanic influence and a quiet strength, still on its reserve but very persisting. This wine basically doesn’t change once open for weeks! The character of the vineyard shows more on the palate for the moment. The finish is dry and pure, without any influence of over ripe character. It does remind me a lot of the 1990!
My intuitions suggest skepticism and vigilance. Analytically dry though at the price of 15.7% alcohol, Zind-Humbrecht’s 2011 Pinot Gris Rangen Clos Saint Urbain comes exclusively from their oldest Pinot Gris vines in that site – planted in the 1960s – which proved most resistant to the botrytis that vintage conditions and proximity to the River Thur rendered inevitable. Peaty smokiness along with maritime scents of salt and alkali go on to season a roasted, earthy, subtly caramelized palate reminiscent of rutabaga, toasted pecan, and singed, baked peach. Predictably full and expansive as well as warm in finish, this is one of those powerful and forcefully lingering recent Rangen Pinot Gris bottlings likely to hold special appeal for devotees of Islay Malt Whiskey – who decidedly include Olivier Humbrecht in their numbers. He thinks it will be worth following through 2035. I’d just say, let your personal taste, naturally, be your guide, but monitor carefully! Score: 88 points -- Wine Advocate, Aug 2014