On Friday evening we tasted a twelve years old Alsace wine, a 2001 Heimbourg Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling. The cork is marked ‘vin de garde’ – a wine for keeping – but Richard decided that it couldn’t be ‘garde’ any longer. I’m glad he did.
The cork closure was capped by wax, as befitted its designation, but, after this was carefully negotiated and the wine poured – what a colour! Clear and intense gold shone from our glasses and we were already getting wafts of fruit before specifically smelling it. There were some legs (13.5% ABV) but not a great deal. The nose was of a clean but mature wine, ripe and fruity with lime and spice smells but not in an overly-assertive way. Surprisingly, there was no strong kerosene so typical of older Rieslings – it was restrained yet powerful.
The taste was very slightly off-dry but held in a beautiful balance of acidity and richness, neither dominated the other. The body was weighty and the fruit flavours stayed in the mouth long after the wine had been swallowed. To confirm what we had smelt, the taste was not aggressively Riesling but it was there, as was a structure that maintained the wine’s focus.
We both marked the quality of this mature wine as outstanding. It was purchased from Gauntley’s in Nottingham at around £30. Once in a while, it really is worth it.