Hugel Winery in Alsace

Hugel Winery in Alsace
Date: February 2022
Author: Cigar Inspector

Hugel Wineries in Alsace

As I had a few free hours during my trip to Strasbourg, I was looking for an interesting winery to visit. By the way, the Route des Vins in Alsace is definitely one of the nicest in the world; if you have a few days, take this chance to discover the region where you can found top quality white wines.

Hugel & Fils was chosen for many reasons. First of all, it is located in a beautiful town of Riquewihr which represents, along with Colmar, the quintessence of Alsace architecture. Secondly, Hugel is very well known all around the world (over 80% of the production is exported) and can be found in top restaurants. Last but not least, this wine is often mentioned in litterature and correspondence, for example by Winston Churchill.

Hugel has been a family-run business for a dozen generations. Both ancestral methods and ultra-modern techniques are used to guarantee a high quality level of the wine. Very old casks keep the wines in the cellar, including Ste Caterine, the oldest cask in the world (featured in the Guinness Book of Records), dated 1715.

The most interesting part of the visit, however, is the tasting because we had the chance to try 9 different bottles. Please excuse me as I will only mention those that I particularly liked. Before we start, a few technical details. Most wines are mono-varietal and the most used (“noble”) varietals are Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Muscat (all 4 varietals are used to blend white wine). Hugel has different labels – Classic for generic wines, Tradition for superior quality and Jubilee for wines issued from the finest vineyards in the Hugel estates. Of course, Vendange Tardive (“late vintage”) and Selection de Grains Nobles (“selection of noble grapes”) are also produced and make outstanding dessert wines. Now that we know our theory, let’s get to the tasting part!

  • Riesling 2003 Tradition: very interesting and complex. It’s quite burly and rich. Perfect to pair with white meat and fish.
  • Riesling 2004 Jubilee: with its strawberry nose, the Jubilee is very elegant. I must admit that I prefer the Tradition label though.
  • Pinot Gris 2004 Tradition: nice, soft Pinot Gris but I can’t say I was totally convinced. For me, it lacked a little character.
  • Gewürztraminer 2005 Jubilee: spicy and with a nose of exotic fruits, this is a good wine if you like flavors of litchi or pineapple. In my opinion, not at its best right now and should be kept for 3-5 years.
  • Riesling 2001 Vendange Tardive: this dessert wine allies perfect sugar balance and elegance. Can be enjoyed on its own, I really liked it.
  • Gewürztraminer 1989 Selection de Grains Nobles: this is the absolute winner in my book. Rich, concentrated nectar with amazing smoked notes. A wine that I will remember.

Big thanks to Jean Hugel who personally greeted us and to André Graff for the visit.

1 thought on “Hugel Winery in Alsace

  1. Very nice review Denis. I enjoyed it a great deal. Definitely will have to put this on the list of things to do when in Europe next.

    Thanks!

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