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Page 3 of the interview with

Etienne Hugel

Because of the popularity of Riesling and Gewurz, what do other grapes such as Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner or Pinot Noir bring you?

Pinot blanc is maybe the less typical of all Alsatian grapes.With people who use to drink Chardonay, learning about Alsatian wines with Pinot Blanc is easier because it is more neutral. Pinot Blanc is an opportunity to attract new tasters to Alsatian wines.

We tend to forget about Sylvaner. We use it mostly in a wine we call Gentil. It is our entry-range. A big success with 350,000 bottles sold.

Pinot Noir is a little bit anecdotic. We are selling it mostly in the french market. It is a light and refreshing red wine. With a great vintage such as 2003, we manage to make a cuvée we call Jubilée. It is close to Burgundy wine making.
We can say that Alsace remains a great dry white and aromatic wine region.

What can you about recent vintages, since 2000?

As a whole, the best year in Alsace, maybe since 1990, is 2001.

2001 produced wines with beautiful maturity, balance and harmony which make wines we can keep for a long time.

2000 are very meaty, very matured, very flattering, nevertheless 2000 does not have the elegance of 2001.

2002 was a relatively large harvest. It gives a pleasant wine. We had some great Riesling. But as a whole 2002 is a little bit below 2000 and 2001.

2003 is an atypical year. The year we got dryness. We had fantastic Pinot Noir. Our most beautiful vintage in 15 years for red wine. White wines are very meaty, full, very supple, already very flattering. They should be drunk quite young.

What do you think of the 2004 vintage?

2004 is a large harvest year. Some wines suffered from rain. It is not a year for Vendanges Tardives (late harvest).

2004 gives very typical Alsatian wines. They are aromatic, elegant, refreshing. Not a great year but still a good vintage.

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Etienne Hugel

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