Boston Wine Expo '99
Hugel Tasting Notes

from a seminar hosted by Roger Bohmrich, MW

All tasting notes are mine, except for a few observations and facts from Roger Bohmrich, which are attributed within the descriptions. The seminar which accompanied the tasting gave some details about the vineyards and winemaking. The wines are listed in the order tasted.

Hugel Pinot Blanc Alsace '97--Pale yellow color, with a nose of stones, peach and some floral notes. A slight spritz livens up the palate, while more mineral and peach flavors show themselves. Seems a bit flabby, with a touch of volatile acidity and alcohol evident on the short finish.

Hugel Riesling Alsace '96--This bottle appears to have been slightly corked. A definitely musty nose, but the worst of it blew off with some swirling, leaving some zippy, tart apple aromas. Seemed tightly wound. High acidity, with a razor-sharp palate of stones and citrus, but still with some of the mustiness. A bit lean and slightly hollow on the midpalate. Long grapefruit and apple finish, but a slight hint of maderization at the end. This must have been a bad bottle.
No Rating (probably flawed bottle)

Hugel Riesling Jubilee '97--According to Roger Bohmrich, this wine comes from the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard. Yellow-gold color, with an intense nose of honeysuckle, spice and minerals. There is a slightly prickly feel on the tongue. Flavors of grapefruit, peaches and flowers lead to a long floral/citrus finish which turns steely, with a good backbone of acid underneath all that fruit. Could use some age.

Hugel Tokay Pinot Gris Jubilee '96--According to Roger Bohmrich, this wine comes from the Grand Cru Sporen vineyard. Gold-yellow, slightly darker than the Riesling Jubilee. The nose had significant vegetal notes, with some green pepper and asparagus. Sulfur was also evident, but it blew off, and there were some fruit flavors, mostly peach. Roger Bohmrich somehow found banana in the nose, but it definitely eluded me. Peach and wet stone flavors dominated the dry palate, alongwith a slight spritz. A soft wine with a viscous mouthfeel. The finish shows the breeding of the wine--long, mouth-coating, but not cloying, with more peach and mineral flavors. Once you get past the nose, a very nice wine.

Hugel Gewurztraminer Alsace '96--Golden yellow color. Intense nose which seems sweet, with intense rose, peach, spice (cinnamon?), black pepper, orange blossom and orange-peel notes. In the mouth, this wine shows peach and grapefruit, along with a bit of stony mineral flavor; seems much lighter than the nose would suggest. The floral notes come roaring back on the finish, along with good acidity to keep the tastes fresh; the rose-petal notes gradually fade to leave a spicy aftertaste.

Hugel Gewurztraminer Jubilee '96--Darker gold-yellow color than the regular bottle. Subdued nose which fills out a bit with swirling. Steely at first, but spices can be coaxed out, and then some peach and rose; not showy, but complex and classy. Very slightly prickly on the tongue, with ample peach flavors at first, giving way to flavors of orange blossoms, grapefruit and stones. Elegant, not overbearing as many wines from this variety can be, with good acidity. A long spicy peach finish completes a very nice wine. Seems much more polished and classy than the more showy (but still good) regular bottle.

Hugel Riesling Vendange Tardive '89--According to Roger Bohmrich, the grapes were harvested at 25.5 Brix, and this wine was bottled in 1990. A few minutes before trying this wine, Mr. Bohmrich stated that he didn't think any of the wines in the tasting would have developed any of the classic Riesling "petrol" character. So what was the most obvious first impression on the nose of this one? Petrol, of course. Even the experts can be wrong... A gold colored wine, with obvious petrol on the nose, slight aromas of botrytis were evident, as well as slightly honeyed peach. The aroma improved greatly with swirling, and was more intense than any of the previous wines, with the possible exception of the 97 Riesling Jubilee. On the palate, tasted of not unpleasant burnt rubber (I know, how can that not be unpleasant?) which is basically what others usually categorize as "petrol", peaches, stones and ripe golden apples. Deep and concentrated, and made in an off-dry style. The finish was long, with more peaches and apples.

Hugel Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles '88--I noticed a white sediment in the first bottle poured; not exactly like tartrates, though. The first bottle was rejected (after pouring) by Roger Bohmrich, who claimed that it was corked; I could detect no mustiness/TCA. However, I'll have to agree that it was off in some way, because the second bottle showed a much more intense nose, and cleaner, clearer flavors, as well as being apparently sweeter--the second bottle did not have any sediment. According to Mr. Bohmrich, the grapes were picked on November 9, at 34.5 Brix. The finished wine had 14.5% alcohol, and 8.9% residual sugar. The following notes refer to the good (2nd) bottle. Deep gold color. Huge, clean, clear, honeyed peach nose. Complex palate of sweet peach, rose and lychee along with honey and spices. Long sweet honeyed peach, lychee and spice finish. Still seems young, with plenty of vibrant acidity.

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Copyright 1999 Marcel Lachenmann. All rights reserved.