Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN or selection of noble berries) are made much in the same way as Vendanges Tardive but are made with grapes affected by noble rot and must have a higher potential alcohol and sugar level at harvest.
Vendange Tardive or late harvest wines are the sweet jewels of the the Alsace region and in particular, the Hugel family. It was Jean “Johnny” Hugel that first used the term following the 1976 vintage and who personally drafted the guidelines to producing vendange tardive that would become law in 1984. The law is strict and details several variables that must be considered including sugar and alcohol levels, vintage declaration, and vinification techniques.
Terroir: The Hugel Gewurztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles is sourced from the family owned parcel of the Grand Cru Sporen vineyard on the slopes just outside of Riquewihr. Soils here are primarily clay and chalk.
Vinification: Prior to harvest the intention of a vendange tardive is declared to the INAO. The grapes are allowed to sit on the vine until maximum sugar and alcohol levels are achieved. They are then hand harvested and brought to the winery for sorting and vinification. There are no pumps used at any point in the vinification process. The must is cold fermented and then transferred to neutral vessels to undergo aging. After clarification the finished wines are bottled and allowed to rest for a long period of time prior to release to the market.
Hugel Sélection de Grains Nobles is an extremely rare wine and is only available in the very best of vintages.
A very deep color, intense, bright, with beautiful green tinges. An exceptionally concentrated and aromatic bouquet, complex and over-ripe. Aromas of honey, quince jelly, with a spicy note. Liqueur-like, with race and distinction, plenty of body yet not heavy. A very long-living wine that will develop almost without limit. An exceptional wine, to sip on its own or with foie gras or desserts that are not too sweet.
An absolute nectar! Great specialty for several generations of the Hugel family, who drafted the law on late harvest. Wine with great power and longevity to taste religiously by itself during a special occasion.
Score: 97 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Robert M. Parker, Jr.
Score: 94 PointsWine Enthusiast Author: Joe Czerwinski
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