Hugel wine: tried and true

by Michael Cooper / 10 November, 2012
Alsace’s Hugels have been making wine for 12 generations.
Village of Riquewihr, Alsace, France

At Riquewihr – a miraculously intact medieval village with a pop-up picture-book prettiness – vines clamber up a steep south-facing slope, Schoenenbourg, acclaimed for its grand cru riesling, then spill over the lower undulating clay marls of Sporen – gewürztraminer country. Riquewihr is in the heart of Alsace and attracts thousands of tourists a day, many from Germany, which is just a few kilometres away across the Rhine. The Hugel (“U-ghal”) family has made wine at Riquewihr since 1639. Now in the hands of the 12th generation – marketing director Étienne Hugel, his production director brother Marc and their cousin Jean-Philippe, the financial director – Hugel exports 80% of its output to over 100 countries, including New Zealand.

“Our home market is dominated by cheap wines sold in supermarkets,” says Étienne. “Most of France’s top wines go overseas.” If you wander the cobbled streets of Riquewihr in October, past colourful, timber-framed 16th-century houses with overhanging gables and geranium-filled courtyards, the aromas of fermenting grape juice fill the air. Wineries are not confined to the edge of suburbia or an industrial quarter, as they often are in New Zealand. Hugel’s 200-to-300-year-old winery is practically on the main street, the Rue du General de Gaulle. There are no solitary houses in the countryside; apart from the daily vineyard routines, everyone lives, works and sleeps in the town. In the multitude of restaurants, food is reasonably priced – €18 (less than $30) for three courses of traditional Alsace cuisine. Wine is also good value – €6 (less than $10) for a glass of grand cru riesling.

Hugel Riesling 2010
From 30-year-old vines at Riquewihr, this is a powerful dry style of riesling with mouth-filling body and strong, peachy, slightly spicy flavours, ripe and rounded. From a notably dry low-cropping season, it should flourish for a decade. $36.95 (4.5/5)

Hugel Gentil 2010
Delicious now, this is a traditional Alsace blend of several varieties: pinot blanc and sylvaner for their refreshing character; pinot gris for body; riesling for finesse; gewürztraminer for spice; and muscat for grapiness. It’s a mouth-filling, vibrantly fruity bone-dry wine with a slightly earthy streak and great drinkability. $29.95 (4/5)


Hugel Gewürztraminer 2009
Alsace in a glass. Exotically perfumed, weighty and well-rounded, it offers delicious peach, lychee, ginger and spice flavours, dryish and deep. $47.95 (5/5)
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


Sunday ride: An Aucklander shares one of her favourite bike rides
71797 2017-04-30 00:00:00Z Urbanism

Sunday ride: An Aucklander shares one of her favou…

by Paperboy

Olivia Lynch, partnerships and events manager for Bike Auckland, recommends a weekend cycling excursion.

Read more
Donna Chisholm: Defending David Dougherty
Teeks: The soul singer whose voice will give you goosebumps
71775 2017-04-29 00:00:00Z Music

Teeks: The soul singer whose voice will give you g…

by Lydia Jenkin

Growing up immersed in waiata (and the sounds of Bob Marley and Elvis Presley), soul singer Teeks has a voice that gives people shivers.

Read more
Book review: Human Acts by Han Kang
Port in a storm: How long will it take to rebuild Wellington's quake-hit docks?
71836 2017-04-29 00:00:00Z Business

Port in a storm: How long will it take to rebuild …

by Tina Morrison

Wellington’s CentrePort’s “marathon” quake rebuild is led by a chief executive who has lived through the experience before.

Read more
Hardcore exercise could be harming your sex drive
71590 2017-04-29 00:00:00Z Health

Hardcore exercise could be harming your sex drive

by Nicky Pellegrino

According to new research, pushing your exercising to the limits can have dire consequences for health, libido and fertility.

Read more
The power of an electric cargo bike in Auckland
71804 2017-04-29 00:00:00Z Urbanism

The power of an electric cargo bike in Auckland

by Paperboy

"It’s a way back to the freedom of youth, when kicking around on a bike with friends was one of life’s great joys."

Read more
Politicians aren’t talking to us this election year, but to Winston Peters
71902 2017-04-28 14:08:09Z Politics

Politicians aren’t talking to us this election yea…

by Jane Clifton

We don't want any David Cunliffe cod-bogan attempts to get down with the peeps, but MPs seem to be going way too far in the other direction this year.

Read more