Okay folks, I am going to deviate from my usual method here, for a couple of reasons. First, Bin Ends Wine held its second live Twitter Tasting Thursday night, featuring several different wines from Hugel et Fils. Etiene Hugel participated, so that was a real treat. Second, I pleanned to keep my live Twitter notes, follow up a second night, and have a real 2 Days per Bottle tasting. Unfortunately, Twitter seems to have dumped everything more than a day old, and I can't retrieve those notes. Therefore, in lieu of two days, I will just steer you to some sites that gave first night reviews, and give you second (or even third) day reviews here. Those should give you some idea of what happens to these wines with some time after corking. They were all re-corked and stored in the refrigerator. Two were re-tasted the second night, and two the third.
For some reviews from Night One go to Smells Like Grape, The Wine Conversation, and Spittoon. You can find pictures of one Hugel Twitter party HERE.
2006 Hugel et Fils Gentil
First, my recollections from the live tasting. The palate opened with citrus, a lot of lemon and some lime, as well as some minerality. Then, after a few seconds, there was what I can only describe as a short and sudden flash of mango, then back to a softer but still lemony finish. The acids did not quite balance out the fruit, leaving this noticeably fat. It had a good mouth feel and is quite reasonably priced at about $14 (community average price on Cellar Tracker), but the inbalance toward fat keeps me from recommending it.
2005 Hugel et Fils Pinot Blanc Cuvée les Amours
I managed to retrieve a few of my notes from Night One for this one, but they are really just runnong comments:
Something soft and buttery there, too. Was there wood involved? 07:33 PM August 21, 2008 from web
Much leaner palate than the Gentil. White grapefruit and wild lemon, lick a rock then bit the rinds. 07:32 PM August 21, 2008 from web
Honestly, I'm getting Fig Newton, not fig. Plus some key lime. Nose is very light, I'm fighting for smell. Could be b/c I'm outside w/ kids 07:30 PM August 21, 2008 from web
First impression- lighter in color. 07:26 PM August 21, 2008 from web
Let me try to make some sense of that. This was far lighter in color, a bright clear straw, than the Gentil. The nose ws far more closed- you really had to search for the nose. When you found it, there was some sweetness that some described as fig, but I found more like Fig Newton, plus a sweet citrus, more Key Lime than Lime. On the palate, though, it was more citrusy. There was a lot of white grapefruit- eat a wedge without peeling away the pith after you peel the rind and you'll have it perfectly, plus the pure tartness of wild lemons. Stone was there, too, wet river rocks. After it warmed up a bit there was also a sense of softness, some butter that made me wonder if any wood was used here.
On Night Two the buttery soft and sweet was more evident. The first scent in the glass was butterscotch, clearly butterscotch, plus some lemon zest. It also had a clean mineral aroma.
On the palate, stones, lime zest and lemon juice at first. Keep it long enough, though, and that same butterscotch showed up on the midpalate.
This was a far better wine than the Gentil, more balanced, cleaner. It had sweet and tart, acid to balance fruit, but nothing overpowered anything else. It also did something I particulalry enjoy in wine, evolve in the mouth, giving you first one thing then another. With a community average price of $13.98 (Cellar Tracker) I can recommend this one.
2006 Hugel et Fils Gewürztraminer "Hugel"
I have no notes from Night One, and really don't remember much. You will see why when you get to the Jubilee. I do remember it was a much sweeter wine than the rest, which is interesting when you get to the Night Two palate notes.
The nose ws still sweet and fruity. Lychee was the primary smell, joined with some ripe peach. It was not overpoweringly sweet, balanced by a clean mineral smell plus just a bit of lime zest.
On the palate, though, it fell apart. I do not know if it was a storage problem (re-corked and refrigerated), and in all fairnes that must be considered. I did not get to it until Night Three, and that might just have been too long to do it justice. It was all white grapefruit, more pith than fruit, plus a slight sweetening from peach. Simply stated, it just was not very good. Is it fair to judge based on this? I don't think so. That said, I think I would not go out and buy some more. But that's okay, because it means I save money to buy ...
2004 Hugel et Fils Riesling Jubilee
An average commnity price of $41.42 (Cellar Tracker), and worth every penny. I remember my impression of this one from Night One- picture an older, slightly soft Ginger Snap, put a small slice of lemon and a small slice of lime on it, then add two drops of diesel. Eat. Enjoy. If you have not experienced the joy of a good Riesling, diesel and all, that might not sound great. It was.
The nose was still redolent of spice and citrus, ginger snaps and lemon zest. you could sniff this and forget to drink, it was so nice.
On the palate, a treat. The following description sound sweeter than it really is. Picture a very well-balance dry white with flavors reminiscent of what I describe, rather than picturing the things themselves, and you will have it perfectly. More the memory of the thing than the thing itself, or the lingering taste when the food is gone. Okay, ready? White cake with lemon icing, ginger snaps and holiday spice, a couple of drops of diesel, all laced gently through a dry mineral white with acidity to last years, fruit to make you want it today.
This was a very good wine. I recommend it highly.
That's it. Huge thanks to Etiene Hugel and Bin Ends Wine for great wine, great prices, and a great event.