Alsace 2012: "Harmony calling"
The 2012 growing season in Alsace was undoubtedly a complex one, but one which has nevertheless produced some truly delicious wines of great clarity, expression and harmony. Frost damage in February was followed by a milder March, with humid conditions prevailing over April and May. Flowering as a result began late and lasted through June. Sporadic rainfall kept humidity levels high throughout July. The resulting threat of disease had the team at Weinbach busy right the way up until a drying burst of hot weather in August. Fortunately, the August heat spike wasn’t prolonged and by September cooler temperatures had returned to the vineyards surrounding Kaysersberg, allowing for steady ripening without any undue loss of acidity.
Harvest began on the 25th September with the Pinot Gris vines from the Schlossberg Vineyard, followed swiftly by the Gewurztraminer from the Clos des Capucines. Rain in October brought with it the further threat of rot and as a result there was much to be done on the sorting table.
Rieslings were harvested between 17th and 24th October, followed by Furstentum and Mambourg Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives.
Such hurdles throughout the season have seen yields reduced by 20-25%, a smaller decrease than others around France perhaps, yet still a significant factor in the resulting quality of the wines on offer.
If quantitively small, stylistically this is a hugely attractive vintage, with precise yet open fruit profiles, good vineyard definition and clear fresh lines of acidity across the range. They marry ripeness with restraint without sacrificing complexity, and most importantly they possess that all important quality for ageing, harmony.
Julian Campbell, Assistant Buyer