Visiting France's Alsace wine region, part 8

Hugel, based in the beautiful village of Riquewihr, is one of the key family-owned producers in Alsace. It's currently run by Jean-Philippe Hugel, who is the CEO and Marc Hugel, who looks after the vineyards and winemaking.

We met with the irrepressible Etienne Hugel (above), who looks after the commercial side of things, and is a jolly presence working the export markets. 90% of the production is exported, and they currently sell to over 100 countries, with Asia particularly strong of late.

They have 25 hectares in Riquewihr, with half of these holdings in Grand Cru sites (although Hugel is one of the two main producers, along with Trimbach, who don't officially recognize the Grand Cru classification in Alsace). They also purchase grapes from growers under long-term contract, which brings another 100 hectares under their control.


The family can date their involvement in the wine business back into the 17th century. Their current winery is in the middle of town, and was purchased by Hugel in 1902, although it is much older. It's crowded and must be difficult to work in, but it has a wonderful sense of history and tradition.

The wines? They’re consistently good, and the best are up there with the top wines of the region. As a terroir lover, though, I wish they bought into the grand cru system and gave vineyard designations for their wine. But I’m just a geek.


Hugel Gentil 2011 Alsace, France
This represents almost a third of Hugel's production, and it's a really nice wine. Fresh citrus, pear and white peach nose. Assertive, fruity, crisp, pure and lively with nice precision. Fresh and tasty. 89/100

Hugel Pinot Noir Jubilee 2009 Alsace, France
Sweet aromatic cherry and plum fruit nose with a bit of warm spiciness. Lovely rounded, sweet berry fruit palate with savoury oak notes and a bit of chocolatey richness. 90/100

Hugel Pinot Noir Jubilee 2007 Alsace, France
Vibrant, spicy black cherry and plum fruit with good acidity and some nice structure. There's just a hint of cola character. Nice fruit and a bit of grip. 89/100

Hugel Riesling Jubilee 2005 Alsace, France
Very youthful. Some taut waxy pithy notes alongside the vibrant lemony fruit, with a hint of honeyed richness. Precise, textured, lemony with nervy acidity and great purity. 93/100

Hugel Riesling Jubilee 2007 Alsace, France
An intense, vivid wine with taut limey fruit, as well as some lemony, waxy notes. Herby and pithy – almost austere with lotes of potential for development. Some nutty notes, too, in the background. 92/100

Hugel Pinot Gris Jubilee 2008 Alsace, France
Half is from the lower part of Sporen, half from Pflostig. Apple, pear and grape nose with some creamy notes. Fresh and well defined with pear and apple fruit on the palate, complemented by some nutty richness and hints of butter. Fresh and textured. 92/100

Hugel Pinot Gris Vendange Tardive 1991 Alsace, France
Rich and honeyed with apple, melons and herbs on the nose. Nice broad palate is textured with grape and apricot notes and nice depth of flavour, as well as a touch of lanolin. Lemony edge. 94/100

Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 2005 Alsace, France
This is Grand Cru Sporen. Lovely aromatic grape and lychee nose is very fresh with pear and citrus notes. Powerful wine with sweet honeyed, textured jelly fruit. Rich, spicy and powerful. 94/100

Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 1994 Alsace, France
Lovely honeyed nose of spic, grape, tea and lychee, with some herbs. The palate is fresh and linear and has some sweetness (but it is not overtly sweet), with hints of apricot, spice and ripe melons. Really long and persistent with lemony freshness. 95/100

Hugel Riesling Sélection de Grains Nobles 2009 Alsace, France
Powerful and intense. Very fresh and lively with lemon fruit, as well as spice, pear and apricot. Viscous but also really fresh with amazing intensity. Power and precision in harmony. 96/100

Hugel Riesling Sélection de Grains Nobles 1999 Alsace, France
Wax, lanolin and herbs on the nose, as well as some nutty hints. The palate is rich with melon and spice. Nice weight and depth here. Complex, sweet and rich with good weight. 94/100

Part 1, Paul Blanck
Part 2, Clement Klur
Part 3, Schlumberger
Part 4, Zind Humbrecht
Part 5, Albert Boxler
Part 6, Dirler-Cadé
Part 7, Josmeyer

Part 8, Weinbach
Part 9, Hugel

See also: pictures from the vineyards of Alsace, part 1, Paul Blanck

Wines tasted 10/12  
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