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.
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.
“The winter of 2010 was particularly harsh, with more than 30 days below zero, and temperatures dropped as far as -17°C. Budburst on 8 April was early, but flowering which began on 10 June took almost 3 weeks to finish due to cool temperatures. July was exceptionally hot and sunny, before cold, damp and rainy weather set in throughout August and into September. Ideal weather conditions returned on 11 September, with not a drop of rain for 6 weeks. Our harvest began on 27 September and ended on 26 October. Maturity reached record levels, the highest for 50 years, with good acidity, similar to 1996. Crop size was 30% below average, and even lower for Gewurztraminer.” – Jean-Frederic Hugel
Score: 91 PointsWine Spectator Author: Alison Napjus
Score: 98 PointsJamesSuckling.com Author: James Suckling
Score: 98 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: David Schildknecht
Score: 90 PointsVinous Author: Ian D'Agata
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