Chatting with Etienne Hugel & his fab gewurztraminer

Back before I really knew anything about wine, I do remember scanning the shelves of my local wine shop and the the striking yellow label. No, I’m not talking about Yellow Tail, I’m talking about the yellow label from Alsace, Hugel’s yellow label. The house of Hugel has been making wine in Alsace since 1639, I don’t even know if Australia had been found yet by Capt. Cook or whoever it was that stumbled upon that continent but Hugel were making their rieslings and gewurztraminers way back then. I grabbed  the 12th generation of Hugel to be running the family firm, the charming and amusing Etienne Hugel, at the recent Fells Portfolio tasting in central London for a quick chat. Although Etienne had the entire range on display and I did try a  fair few of them, we compared notes on  what Etienne considers to be Alsace’s and his family’s flagship wine, the Hugel gewurztraminer. Here we are chatting about the latest vintage and the difference between young and old gewurz… [viddler id=9fe1ae3d&w=437&h=392] Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Sunday dinner, Pt 2 – The dessert wines

 I got a bit sidetracked last week with wineblogging Wednesday but here is pt. 2 of  my Sunday dinner. Since I was tweeting all night long ( and those were the only notes I took), I’m posting the tweets verbatim. Unfortunately, after dinner and all that red wine, the tweets got shorter so I’ve add a comment or two now that I’m a bit more sober. We had 4 dessert wines, 2 Tokaji Aszu, a German icewine, an Alsatian vendage tardive pinot gris, and an unplanned Cognac. The desserts were apple tart, raspberry pavlova – some sort of meringue-y thing with raspberries in the middle, and two cheeses. Tweets says : tokaji, icewine and alsatian pinot gris ’96 gassman, vendage tardive for dessert . That about sums it up. There were two Hungarian tokaji’s, an ’88 and a ’96, both 5 puttonyos (sounds dirty but it’s not). The botrytis affected grapes are made into a paste and collected in baskets called puttonyos which weigh about 55 pounds. The puttonyos are then made into wine, the more puttonoys, the sweeter and richer the wine. So 5 puttonyos is a pretty rich wine (thanks for the 411 epicurious.com). The tweet: Tokaji 88 – nutty, almost sherry-ish, dried apricot, almonds, luscious but lite for a tokaji. Ch. Messzelato ’88 (Oddbins, £14.99), we all agreed it was a major disappointment. It was past it, certainly didn’t taste like a tokaji. This wine was a bin end and I can see why. Next up was Penny’s contribution, an Alsatian tokay pinot gris vendage tardive, which mean late harvest. Even though it’s called tokay, it’s not made the same way as the Hungarian tokaji’s or even the same grapes. The tweets: vendage – Vin d’Alsace Rolly Gassman ’96– orange blossoms noses, quite herby a bit tropical, dried fruit, guava and pineapple  – wonderfully complex,excellent with apple pie  – Another comment on the ‘88 tokaji : more like a sherry – oloroso or sweet amontillado. vendage tardive ’96, James says it’s nice and tropical, pure elderflowers  –...

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Wineblogging Wednesday – Alsatian Grand Cru ’03 Riesling

A rural country path, leading off into the wilderness…. …it’s not really that rural but I had to make my urban hike look a little bit adventurous… …just to keep up with all those other macho bloggers who, I am sure, were scaling near vertical hillsides along the Rhine while blogging about this months Wineblogging Wednesday choice – Riesling, hosted by Russ Beebe of winehiker. I hacked my way thru the perils of Wandsworth Common to get to Northcote Rd, where a quaint little wine shop called The Grape Shop quietly goes about it’s business of selling hidden gems. I found a fabulous Alsatian Grand Cru from the cooperative, Cave de Turckeim. An ‘03 Riesling from the Brand Grand Cru vineyards. There are only 50 hillsides within Alsace that are qualified to call themselves Grand Cru. According to legend, the hillside of Brand was the location of “an epic battle between a dragon and the sun which set the forested slopes alight. The following spring, vines grew where once there had been trees.” Pretty nifty story, I think. Much more exciting then the usual banal explanations about “sun-soaked” hills, etc. I didn’t consume my wine on the way home so I don’t get any bonus points for that but I did combine it with pan-seared pork chops in a honey-dijon mustard sauce. How was it? Amazing. I used a bit of wine in the sauce which produced a faint vinous echo on my palate. The sauce enhanced the citrus character of the wine and also brought into focus a gentle orange marmalade character lurking about. The wine, when I first opened it, had vibrant nose of ripe red apple, honeysuckle, wet rocks and a whiff of petrol that you are likely to find in rieslings that have a bit of age on them. Dry and crisp but with a bit of heft on the hips, so to speak, plenty of ripe white fruits, white peach, a nice dose of minerality and a refreshing lime/grapefruit...

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