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|Grand Cru Rangen de Thann Clos Saint Urbain
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|Sedimentary volcanic rocks, South facing, Very steep slope
Description of the wine Pinot Gris Grand Cru Rangen from Thann Clos Saint Urbain 2017
On the Rangen vineyard, in 2017, the Pinot-Gris grape met the perfect conditions to produce a fantastic dry wine. There was a slight delay at bud-break, so no frost damage, slightly later flowering, but then warm and very good ripening condition through summer. The volcanic soil imposes its strong personality on the wine, but so does the dramatic exposure (very steep full south facing) on the mouthfeel. The soil, covered with angular rocks, is hard to cultivate with the winch. The energy needed to work on this vineyard can be found in the energy of the wine! Year after year, the roots learned how to penetrate the deeper cracks of the Grauwacke soil. The older vines show an amazing stability and resilience through tough summer conditions. Ripening is always later on the Rangen (effect of the altitude 350m/480m and colder Thur valley) but eventually it all accelerate just before harvest. The harvest date has to be extremely precise in order to avoid this fast ripening grape to go too rich. Recent vintages have produced much drier style of wines. It isn’t just a style change, but also the result of the adaptation to a changing climate. The grapes stay healthier longer and physiological ripeness is faster under the influence of bio-dynamic farming. Harvesting grapes before over-ripeness and botrytis kicks in is much easier. Under these characteristics, the wines ferment much faster and also go drier, like the 2017 vintage. It was one of the fastest to ferment, but was kept on fermenting lees for a year and a half in order to refine the wine.
3/2019 : rich yellow colour, quite luminous. The nose is profound, intense, showing strong volcanic presence (flint, peat, crushed rocks,…) so typical of the Rangen. The volcanic origin takes over the wine with a tremendous force. The palate is generous, coating, rigorous, almost severe, but also so enjoyable. This wine needs time and/or aeration. The salty presence is very much detectable on the finish. This is a powerful and long wine but it also possesses a classy elegance. Rangen !
The Rangen de Thann is the most southerly of the Alsace vineyards. In his book « Where Alsace wines ripen », Henry Riegert writes: « from the Middle Ages those wines which ripen on the Rangen hillside figure amongst the most famous growths of the whole vineyard region ». The Grand Cru Rangen de Thann, is situated at the exit of the valley, overlooking the village of Thann with the river Thur passing at the foot of the slope.