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Alsace grand cru status for Pinot Noir in Kirchberg and Hengst

I noticed that in the last few days two Alsace Grand cru vineyards, Hengst and Kirchberg are now permitted to label their growers’ Pinot Noir “Grand cru” (subject to certain vinification criteria). The two growers mentioned that have Pinot Noir in those vineyards are Hering and Stoeffler. Alas I have been unable to locate their Pinot in the UK .
My personal experience of Alsace PN has been limited. I have only tasted about 4-5 different ones and generally have not found them particularly memorable.
My question to members is have any of you had PN from either of these growers? If so any thoughts and if you have located some for sale in the UK please let me know.

My only observation is that both Kirchberg and Hengst are very large vineyards which in many instances has led to criticisms of uneven quality. It is perhaps the old story that wine regulation is so often the triumph of politics over geology…

I suspect that more grand cru status for PN in other grand cru Alsace vineyards will follow. There are another 49 to choose from…

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Interesting. Note that’s Kirchberg de Barr, rather than Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé, which is quite a lot smaller. We’ve had Stoeffler’s pinot noir and enjoyed it a lot, but bought it cellar-door. Their whole range is good, and they also make a Klevener de Heiligenstein which is interesting. We didn’t try the pinot noir when we visited Hering, but liked their other wines, so I see no reason why it wouldn’t be good.

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I’d guess Mure, whose pinots TWS stock, are a bit miffed in that Vorbourg wasn’t upgraded too. C’est la vie !

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Well they did the same for Zotzenburg Sylvaner a while back. Think its a good move and wonder if it should apply to field blend styles as well.

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Would be nice if the WS stocked one of these, only tried one when in Strasbourg a while back…

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My problem with Alsace PN (as discussed some while back) is that there is no really fixed idea about what sort of thing it should be. You just have to track down one that appeals.

I am also surprised that Vorbourg is not on the list.

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This is very true. Certainly the quality has improved dramatically over recent years, with a succession of ripe vintages enabling producers to make wines of far more depth. But there’s still a large variation between the traditional, very pale, almost rosé incarnations which are best served chilled with a tarte flambée, up to those using oak and overtly aiming for a Burgundian style, with an associated increase in price. I’m fairly sure that enabling Grand Cru status will encourage more people to aim for the latter, and while the best can be very good, it seems like a bit of shame to me. There are now some tremendous wines being made in the middle, making use of the warmer weather and better know-how to produce a distinctively Alsatian style of unoaked red wine. Getting hold of it in this country is, however, very hard.

It will be interesting to see which Grands Crus are next. Vorbourg may well be (as noted, on the back of Muré). On the same lines, Paul Blanck make an excellent pinot noir on the Furstentum. Hengst was presumably led by Albert Mann. As they also make a pinot noir from vines on the Pfersigberg, I wonder if that might come, too, especially as there are many others in the area around Eguisheim making very good wines from the variety.

@NickFoster, when it comes to field blends there are some already - Marcel Deiss has Altenberg de Bergheim, Mambourg, Schoenenbourg and now Schlossberg. (And I think that in this case they’ve labelled them legally). Kaefferkopf is also known for its blends. And there may well be others :slight_smile:

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The problem is that it’s a real rarity - hard to find even in shops in Alsace. So I can imagine that sourcing it in any sort of quantity would be pretty much impossible.

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Do you have any views on this wine?

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Unfortunately I haven’t tried that one, nor the producer :frowning: I seem to remember Cambridge Wine Merchants stocking their wines when they were Jean Heywang.

Back in the day I regularly visited Alsace on business (Strasbourg) and for pleasure. In excellent restaurants (Au Crocodile under Jung, La Cerf under Husser and Auberge d’Ille, Haeberlin) with excellent sommeliers, I regularly had to beg for red wine. Alsace PN was on the list but rarely mentioned. Fuller dishes and red meat just required fuller and older white wines. And they were right.

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