Vintage 1999

LC_20_050697  photo par Leif Carlsson

Description of the vintage

The 1999 vintage was under the sign of water ! The average rainfall in Colmar is 21 inches/year (Colmar is the second driest city in France after Perpignan), and in 1999 this was reached in less than 6 months. Budbreak was normal middle of April, but the following humid and warm weather of May helped an early flowering in the first two weeks of June. The vines grew very quickly under strong mildew condition (the earliest and strongest attack that my father was able to witness). This certainly explains some smaller yields in a few vineyards. Strangely, but luckily, the flowering was still early and homogenous, except for the Muscat grape variety.

In June and July we were in constant battle against diseases and weeds that just loved the humidity and warmth. Early August the weather became more agreeable and from end of August until the third week of September, the climate was exceptionally dry and warm, well suited for a good and homogenous maturation of the grapes, sometimes causing some water stress problems.

Just prior harvest, everybody was very optimistic. Great maturity and perfect health conditions as well as good acidity levels in the grapes made us hope for great quality despite the huge volume expected for the harvest. From the end of September until the end of the harvest (middle of November for us), the weather was again split between nice periods and rains. 1999 is certainly a winegrower’s year, because the quality of the vineyard work all along the year, the importance of a small yield in 1999 and the care and respect given to the grapes were all determinant to obtain a great wine. 1999 has a real great potential and many of the wines produced on the estate have little to envy to previous vintages.

Most of the wines of 1999 have good ripeness levels, some noble rot influence in the richer wines and quality acidity. The weather conditions didn’t allow the production of many sweet wines.

On the Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, the average yield was 22 hl/ha on the Grand Cru vineyards and 42 hl/ha on the AOC vineyards, and like the previous years, no chaptalization.