Even if they do not take up a lot of space at auction (less than 2%), Alsace’s wines caught the attention of wine enthusiasts in September. Let’s take a closer look.
With autumn starting to make its first appearances, it’s time to open a bottle of Alsatian wine and study their success at auction. There might not be many of them passing through the auction doors, but wine lovers always sniff them out. In September, only 154 lots – less than 2% of the catalogue – went under the iDealwine hammer but they all attracted plenty of attention from enthusiasts. Why such focus? Alsace offers a mosaic of terroirs (volcanic, schist, granite, limestone, etc.) and a range of varieties and wines (dry and sweet whites, sparkling and reds), perfect for wine lovers on a voyage of discovery. The long history of the region has allowed it to construct a hierarchy for its vineyards, which can be difficult to understand for several reasons. Another of the region’s difficulties is brought about by the varying quality of the production with a major percentage of it being exported. Due to this, its image hasn’t always been rosy, especially with the French public.
Its dry white wines, which are always numerous in iDealwine auctions (65% of Alsatian lots sold in September), are extremely sought-after today. One vineyard making headlines is the famous Clos Sainte-Hune owned by Trimbach. This lively and sharp Riesling Grand Cru distinguishes itself thanks to its longevity. The 2002 vintage was bought by a Lithuanian private individual for €263 (an increase of 8%). Another iconic producer is Zind-Humbrecht, which cares for its remarkable terroirs using biodynamic practices. Many are classified as grand crus and Rangen de Thann located in the south of the region particularly stands out. Its Pinot Gris cuvée from the 1996 vintage brushed the €100 mark, selling for €98 (+13%) while a 2021 Riesling from the same terroir went under the hammer for €88. Weinbach was also well represented in iDealwine’s September auctions and delighted bidders. Sealed in a double magnum, its Riesling Schlossberg Cuvée Sainte Catherine 2008 was sold to a French individual for €313. The 2010 and 1991 vintages of the same wine obtained €74 and €69, respectively. These prices are very attractive given the quality of the wine and especially when we compare them to prices for wines from other regions. This is also the case for grand crus from Marcel Deiss. Schoenenbourg 2005 reached €75 (an increase of 10%) while the superb Altenberg de Bergheim 2012 was bought by an American buyer for €69.
Vendanges Tardives, Sélection de Grains Nobles and Pinot Noir
In the heart of Alsace’s grand crus, winemakers produce two regional specialities: Vendanges Tardives (wines made from late harvest grapes) and Sélection de Grains Nobles (wines made from grapes affected by noble rot). Crafted from tiny harvests and rigorously sorted, these wines remain accessible despite their higher prices linked to the low yields that make them. There was also a 1989 Sélection de Grains Nobles from the Rangen de Thann Grand Cru (Zind-Humbrecht) which sold to a French wine lover for €130 (+4%), while a Pinot Gris from 1989 (which was still called Tokay at the time from Weinbach obtained €88.
Alsace’s best kept secret has to be its red wines, mainly created from Pinot Noir. Albert Mann has been making wines from this variety for a long time and is also a firm favourite with enthusiasts, who have found it to be a match for many Burgundy wines… The 2019 vintage of Pinot Noir Les Sainte Claires set off for a new life in the United Kingdom in September, having been sold for €88, while the 2017 and 2018 vintage of the same wine both went under the hammer for €81, being sold to a French private individual. The climate in Alsace favours biodynamic viticulture but the region has also attracted winemakers looking to craft natural wines. A Vin de France, Via Concordiae 2019, made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay from Domaine Pierre Andrey was bought by a French bidder for €163 (+37%). Gérard Schueller is a name to remember. His Pinot Noir LN012 from the 2019 vintage was sold for €60. There are many treasures to be uncovered in this region in perpetual motion. Now it’s over to you, wine lovers, to unearth them…
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