Etienne Hugel is to announce the release of a new Riesling that is named after a specific grand cru vineyard site - marking a first for his eponymous Alsace domaine.
The Schoelhammer Riesling 2007, set to be priced at between £90 and £100 per 75cl bottle, is named after a specific plot of vines from a grand cru terroir.
Although the Hugel estate has made wines from the grand cru Schoenenbourg (which includes the plot of vines called Schoelhammer), Hugel has long eschewed grand cru designations because of procedural disagreements in designating grand cru sites.
Famille Hugel has, up until now, always sold their wines as brand names, such as their famous Jubilee Riesling, which – until Schoelhammer was bottled – included wine made from the 30 rows of organically farmed Riesling vines that make up the Schoelhammer.
‘This is a major move for us – a kind of terroir coming out,’ Hugel told Decanter.com. ‘We have become very conscious that Alsace lovers want to know the source of the wines. So this is our first move to identify the vineyard origin.’
Situated on the mid 25-degree south facing slope from the Schoenenbourg grand cru, the Schoelhammer plot – which Hugel calls the family’s best – has been with the estate since the early 1800’s. The name originates from the previous owner, Hugel explained.
Hugel insists that removing the plot from the Jubilee blend does not diminish the latter’s quality. ‘Our Jubilee remains of the highest quality,’ he asserted. He is looking forward to a special tasting in London on 14 April of both the Jubilee 2010 and the Schoelhammer 2007 among other wines, including a 1953 Riesling, in a family tasting along with his father and son.
Although the Schoelhammer is the only separate vineyard-named bottling from the domaine so far, ‘there may be something else in the pipeline,’ Hugel said.
The family waited several years before releasing the 2007 because the marl rich terroir results in a deep as well as suave style of dry Riesling that needs time in bottle before being introduced on store shelves, Hugel explained. Just under 4,700 bottles and 352 half bottles have been produced from the fine 2007 vintage.