1976 Hugel Riesling Selection de
BY IAN D’AGATA | SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
The Hugel family
has been making wine in Alsace since 1639. With that sort of experience to rely
on, it’s no surprise they make some of the world’s greatest wines. The estate
is especially famous for its Vendanges
Tardives (late harvest) and Sélection
de Grains Nobles (or SGN: late harvest wines made with botrytis affected berries).
Furthermore, it was Jean Hugel who was responsible for the introduction of INAO
regulations legislating production guidelines of Vendange Tardives and Selection
de Grains Nobles wines (first proposed in 1977, the law was finally passed
in 1984). So you might say Hugel has a sweet tooth of sorts.
SGN wines represent the estate’s pinnacle of quality. These are wines of rare
refinement and pedigree, as Hugel has always been linked with graceful and
elegant sweet wines as opposed to overtly showy or excessively sweet interpretations
(this was even more true back in the 1970s when Hugel’s SGNs were much drier
than they are today). The relatively hot 1976 vintage is linked to some of
Hugel’s best ever wines, a case in point being the 1976 Riesling Sélection de Grains Nobles. Wonderfully pure and
long, with hints of lemony botrytis nicely complicating ripe citrus,
crystallized ginger and peach aromas and flavors, the finishes practically
off-dry, with a persistent, mineral-inflected close. A true work of art, the
1976 is an outstanding example of late harvest Alsatian white wine made in a
style that speaks of a different, gentler, time. 97/Drinking window: 2016-2030.