I’m on a bit of an Alsace trip at the moment. Made a beeline for Zind-Humbrecht’s wines at the local wine shop the other day … was looking for some Riesling … left with a bottle of this instead. Tried it in the shop from of those new-fangled Enomatic devices first, and that influenced my decision.
Zind-Humbrecht, Muscat Goldert Grand Cru 2012, Alsace
Along with Müller-Catoir’s Muskateller (German spelling of the same grape), this has to be the best example of Muscat I’ve tasted. However, there is a considerable contrast in styles between the two. MC’s version is vivid and cleansing, whereas ZH’s practically body-slams you to the floor with its sheer muscle. Let me explain.
Medium yellow in appearance with a very faint reddish tinge on the edges. Striking minerality on the nose – of the pungent type that often reminds me of warm squash balls. Very complex with notes of ginger and fennel – maybe also a spicy, curry-like element in there too. Over time, the squash ball aromas come even more to the fore.
Like a coiled spring in the mouth: focused, poised and athletic. Cask notes are evident, but they are well-integrated and discreet. Some of the aforementioned minerality is also noticeable. The warm ginger/spice notes are less pronounced though. Instead, searing grapey intensity, a dry mouthfeel, tremendous purity, and a medium to full body without an ounce of fat combine with great forcefulness and grippiness. The alcohol is 14 per cent, but this seems just about right within the context, lending stature, directness and food-friendliness. Over the course of the four days it takes for me to finish the bottle, hints of rhubarb and a certain waxiness also emerge.
Without doubt, this wine has been made for the long run, as the proverbial spring is still firmly coiled. Indeed, Olivier Humbrecht gives ‘2017-2027+’ as the optimum drinking window. For now, though, this is a lean, mean athlete. A fine wine by anyone’s standards and a new dimension to what I thought Muscat was capable of.