About 350 millions years ago, a small stratovolcano (the Molkenrain) covered a large part of the southern Vosges mountains with volcanic ash that eventually sedimented under the sea and was compacted in the dark heavy rocks (Grauwackes) that one can see in the Rangen Grand Cru today. The Rangen is at the eastern end of that area, the only one where vines can be cultivated, which explains why this vineyard is so unique in the Alsace landscape. The vineyard is extremely steep as these rocks do not erode easily. They do decay with time though, and produce some very interesting high surface clay, so important to fix minerals and humus. Young vines struggle to grow in this rocky soil, but with time, the roots can eventually reach these richer layers, bringing complexity to the wines.
The proximity of the river, bringing a natural late autumn humidity, did help noble rot botrytis development. For some years now we realize that earlier harvest conditions aren’t favourable to botrytis development. Acidity drops quickly and under warmer weather, the botrytis doesn’t become noble. The 2019 Pinot-Gris Rangen was harvested towards the end of September. We aimed for healthy ripe grapes, but with a balance that could achieve a dry wine. Most vineyards planted in Pinot-Gris in Alsace often require a high potential to be expressive. The Rangen, with the impact of its soil and very low natural yields, can actually also produce concentrated and flavourful wines without sweetness, as the past vintages have demonstrated.
2/2021: pale gold colour. The nose shows complex reductive smoky aromas, quite persistent and intense. It also expresses an insolent youth and vigour. Allowing the wine to open up is rewarding: it eventually opens up on the classic flinty aromas but also shows some discreet white fruits aromas. The palate is vibrant, powerful with multiple layers with a strict structure. The 2019 also shows a bright acidity on the finish that enhances the saline mineral composition of the wine and make the wine taste very dry. It will develop slowly and for the better.