Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Crazy Alsatian

At first biodynamic agriculture just seems to be an extreme version of organic. Eschewing chemical fertilizers and pesticides, using cover crops, finding natural predators to vineyard pests, it all sounds so back to nature. But, just like I'm not about to have a bite out of a picnic table with Eule Gibbons (may he RIP), I don't find the the astrological calendar to be particularly compelling as it relates to my daily life. Perhaps that's my main problem. You see the biodynamic-philes take action to block the the cosmic powers of various planetary and inter-stellar alignments and make planting and harvesting decisions based the location of the Scorpio constellation and such. Real Age of Aquarius stuff.

Surprisingly, a number of the top producers in France are fully biodynamic, including Domaines Leflaive and Leroy in Burgundy, among many others. Anne-Claude Leflaive's wines have grown in stature and, sadly, price since she fully converted her acreage to biodynamics in 1997. Who knows? That leads me to Olivier Humbrecht of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace. Olivier has a lot going for him, he's young, good looking, he speaks French, which surely helps him meet women, he holds a MW and he runs and owns a large share of the one of the better Alsatian producers. Olivier Humbrecht is a biodynamic zealot as well and was (is?) president of the Biodyvin, a French biodynamic cult, uh er organization. All joking aside, I really do like DZH wines, its Pinot Gris, Riesling (especially the bone dry version from a number of ethereal vineyards in Alsace) and Gerwurtz all offer a quite good value to quality ratio. Of course the Domaine's VT and SGN are world class on the desert wine front, though I've tried none of them. Who knows how the wines here would taste w/o all of Olivier's bio-voodoo?

So I picked up a half dozen bottles of the Domain Zind-Humbrecht 2002 Zind, a blend of 50% Auxerrios Blanc, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Blanc at retail for about $25 a bottle. The wine checks in at a ubiquitous 13.5% alcohol. Each vintage Olivier mixes the various varietals to his pleasure so at times the Zind is dominated by Chard at others by PB; the Auxerrios is more for structure than anything else, with a neutral asparagus, fresh cut grass flavor profile and high acidity. There is a story as to why he chose the name Zind instead of the dominant varietal but you can look that up if you're interested in the byzantine workings of a French AOC.

The 2002 Zind is liquid gold in the glass and opens with a nose of pears, honey and vanilla. Zesty and sweet/tart mid-palate, notes of white peach and meyer lemon dominate. A sweet, syrupy and a bit cloying finish make this a fine wine to have with friends on a hot day out doors but one glass is enough.

Rating: Very Good.

Cheers, Barrld

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

simply dropping by to say hey