Last year our family holiday (remember them?) was in Brittany which, although convenient for the ferry ports, isn’t a quality wine producing region. My vinous needs therefore have to be met by trying various wines from the supermarkets, and of course many of those were from Alsace. Two rules of thumb were therefore brought into play:
- French supermarket wines aren’t always great; they tend to be sold on the appellation name and at a low price, so the bottle contents (especially without a reputable producer on the label) tend to be very average.
- Alsace has many family names shared by different wineries – so don’t assume it’s the same one.
On the second point, when researching the producer of this wine I found Famille Hauller in Dambach-la-Ville, but there was no sign of Hauts de Hauller on the website. A forensic review of the back label found that it was bottled by “JHF”; that turned out to be J. Hauller et Fils, a different company entirely!
Hauller “Hauts de Hauller” Alsace Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes 2017
Sylvaner can be a bit meh, but this bottle sported the magic words “Vieilles Vignes”. Old vines are prized for the additional concentration and depth of flavour they can bring to the finished wine, offset (for the vigneron) by lower yields. A modest price premium over wines made from younger vines is the balancing factor and looks after both the consumer and producer…happy days!
I picked a bottle of this up in Intermarché and liked it so much I managed to bring a couple home as well. I’ve often posited that Alsace Sylvaner is somewhere between the out-and-out raciness of Riesling and the rounder fruit tones of Pinot Blanc. These aspects are true for this Vieilles Vignes example, but it also has richness and some weight – almost like a dash of good Pinot Gris was added to the recipe. The end combination is a wine that is dry, crisp, refreshing yet incredibly appealing. I just wish I’d brought more back with me!
- ABV: 12.0%
- RRP: ~ €7
- Stockists: Intermarché (France)