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Trying Out Hugel Wines with Winemaker Etienne Hugel at Planet Grapes Shangri-La

Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-Hugel Wine Tasting Event

I was lucky to be invited to the new Planet Grapes at Shangri-La Plaza Mall last June 6, 2015 to try out Hugel Wines from the Alsace region of France. It was a rare experience because we were introduced to great wines by the winery and vineyard owner Etienne Hugel himself!

Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-200954
Photo ops with Mr. Etienne Hugel

 

HUGEL WINES AND ALSACE REGION

Etienne Hugel is the winemaker for Hugel & Fils, winery since 1639.  For 375 years, the Hugel family has been crafting great wines in their wine cellars under thier 16th century buildings and century old barrels in Riquewihr, Alsace region of France.

Bordered by the Vosges Mountains and Rhine River, Alsace is one of the best place to grow grapes for wines.  The majority of their vineyards is concentrated in a narrow strip on the eastern slopes of the Vosges which provides a good balance of temperature, soil drainage and sun exposure to grow excellent grapes for wine making.

Wines from Alsace are typically fine white wines with intense, fresh aromas and uninhibited flavors.  Although some vineyards in the region produce red wines, Alsace is predominantly known for its white wines, such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Because of its Germanic influence, many of their wines are labeled by varietal, with their main grape varietals being Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir.

All Alsatian wines are appellation wines, which mean they are defined and protected by French wine laws to ensure consistent quality.  Their wines are renowned for being versatile when it comes to food pairings because they are delightful with every cuisine.

 

WINE TASTING

Here are some of the wines introduced to us by Mr. Etienne. Since I’m not an authority of wine, I have included notes from a Serge Dubs, a famous Sommelier – someone who does wine tasting and pairing as a profession, for each of the featured wines.

Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-Hugel Pinot Gris Tradition 2011Pinot Gris Tradition 2011

Pinot Gris truly dry and gastronomic which reveals itself at the table! Rich and rounded, although still dry, it is ideal with terrines, white meats and fish in sauce. Of all the Alsace varieties, Pinot Gris has the greatest aging potential.

 

Tasting notes by Serge Dubs

Very attractive to the eye, a generously intense colour, star bright, concentrated straw and lemon yellow, with a hint of pistachio green. The bouquet is a treat, a well-balanced range of aromas, acacia honey, apricot, zan, liquorice, fresh almond, greengage and lightly smoked brioche.

Perfectly dry, yet soft, fleshy, juicy and full-bodied. A long, tasty finish, with depth and texture. Already drinking well, it can be enjoyed now or over the next three years.

A beautiful wine of fine character, for gastronomic dishes of sea or river fish in crayfish or lobster sauce, or with spicy food like lamb curry, red mullet fillet with curcuma, monkfish with saffron, but it will also go well with poultry, pheasant, white meats, veal chop with wild mushrooms, game terrine, duck foie gras…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-Hugel Gewurztraminer 2012Gewurztraminer 2012

The great specialty of Alsace region. Only in Alsace does the aromatic expressiveness of this variety attain such summits. Spicy and suave, it can be enjoyed on its own, but makes a marvellous accompaniment to all rich, spicy dishes, smoked fish.

 

Tasting notes by Serge Dubs

Promisingly attractive colour, intense, young and lively with hints of pale green and straw yellow, it is bright and clear with unctuous tears that indicate a full body.

Soft, aromatic, scented bouquet, showing opulence and body, flowers and fruit: rose, mignonette, jasmine, mango, litchi, passion fruit, and some spice : cardamom, saffron, liquorice stick.

Dry on the palate, but round, soft, nicely harmonious and mouth-filling, with a long, rich agreeably aromatic finish. A food wine that will match a wide variety of dishes.

Enjoy it now or within 2 or 3 years. Serve it chilled at 8°C as an aperitif, or with spicy dishes, Chinese, Moroccan, Indonesian, with lobster, crayfish tail, or with strong cheeses like Munster or Maroilles, or with white meats, veal, pork and game birds like pheasant or partridge.

 

 

 

 

 

2008 Hugel Riesling Jubilee at Planet Grapes

Riesling Jubilee 2008

It’s Hugel’s own interpretation of the expected quality of a great Schoenenbourg, famous since the XVIIth century. Profound, suave and with a great minerality, it will still improve for years and keep for decades.

Great classic Riesling which starts to show its promises but which will gain in complexity for 8 years or more. Its minerality and long complex aftertaste will make it the ideal partner to noble fish or seafood dishes.

 

Tasting notes by Serge Dubs

Deep pale straw gold color enhanced by some green hints, attractively bright and lively, it clings to the glass. Its subtle fruit bouquet of yellow peach and apricot is already nicely open and expressive with a characteristic mineral touch that leaves no doubt that this is a Riesling from a fine terroir, a nice rocky minerality with a whiff of terpene and white truffles.

An elegant, agreeably dry wine of character that is well structured and complex, with good aromatic persistence. A very fine classic example of a Grand Cru Schoenenbourg Riesling from Riquewihr. Ready to be enjoyed and appreciated now, but will keep 3 to 5 more years. Serve now at 8°C with shellfish, seafood, smoked fish, eel, herring or after 3 or 4 years with fish, baked or in sauce, turbot, monkfish, lobster, crayfish. A very gastronomic wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 Hugel Riesling Planet Grapes

Riesling 2012

Totally dry with high natural acids. This famous grape celebrated in all the Rhine valley combines great elegance, finesse and minerality. It is the most gastronomic wine in the line for most fish and seafood dishes.

Riesling is the Pinot Noir of white wines! It is Hugel’s most demanding variety as it is also the latest ripening. Dry and elegant, it expresses itself best on our steepest slopes with the most complex minerality.

 

Tasting notes by Serge Dubs

True to Hugel family tradition, this is a fine, thirst-quenching Riesling, dry, lively, fresh and easy to enjoy, with great elegance and drive.

Beautiful pale green colour, bright and youthful. Fresh, clean lively aromatic expression. Attractive fruit-driven taste of green apple, gooseberry, citrus, grapefruit, lime, with spring blossom, elderflower and primrose.

A nice wine to serve chilled at 8°C as an aperitif, or to start a meal.
Drink it now or within the next two years with all seafood, shellfish, crustaceans and fish, raw, marinated or sushi, and with river or sea fish, poached, grilled or smoked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gentil 2013 Planet Grapes

Gentil 2013

It is the only wine that is a blend of several varieties for Hugel. The perfect introduction to Alsace wines. A wine that is almost universal as it is suited to great number of occasions.

This wine revives an ancient Alsace tradition that wines assembled from noble grape varieties were called “Gentil”. Gentil “Hugel” allies the suave, spicy flavor of Gewurztraminer, the body of Pinot Gris, the finesse of Riesling, the grapiness of Muscat and the refreshing character of Sylvaner.

 

Tasting notes by Serge Dubs

Bright, silvery sheen, pale green colour, fresh, lively and youthful with an elegant aspect. Attractive, flattering bouquet, open and forthcoming, quite aromatic, scented, floral and fruit-driven: cardamom, lemon balm, rose, lime blossom, cherry blossom and sweet almond. Harmonious and well-rounded, with a nicely ripe – yet not over-ripe – grape character.

On the palate, the wine is dry, generous, soft and supple, almost juicy, filling the mouth, showing good structure but also a nice, fruity, aromatic finish.

A wine with all the hallmarks of a fine, sunny vintage, yet with no loss of finesse. Enjoy it now, or within 3 years, as an aperitif or serve it at 8°C with fish, grilled, pan-fried or in sauce, red mullet, turbot, pike-perch, lobster, crab, and certain cheeses : comté, reblochon, fourme d’Ambert, or with dishes flavoured with oriental or Indian spices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’m not a Sommelier or a wine expert, I still enjoyed the taste of the wines especially with the food pairings.

One thing I love about Planet Grapes as its tag line says “Wine without the Drama”, you can enjoy drinking wine whether you are a wine connoisseur or just  someone new or occasional wine drinker.  They serve their wine with recommended street food pairings like fish ball, quail eggs, etc…

Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-IMG_20150606_191732_1

Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-IMG_20150606_194042_1

 

Enjoy their food from sisig, backribs, to cheese platers to go with your wine.

Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-IMG_20150606_213606 Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-IMG_20150606_210602_1

Not into wine, I still enjoyed their root beer. They also have other selection of non-alcoholic beverages.

Hugel Wines at Planet Grapes Shangrila-I love this healthy Draft Root Beer
I love this healthy Draft Root Beer

 

If you are into to wine and great food for pairings or just want to try something new and different, a visit to Planet Grapes will definitely be an experience! Their friendly and trained staff can guide you into their selection of wines and matching food pairings.

Visit their branches at River Park Festival Supermall in Alabang, Tuscany at McKinley Hill Fort Bonifacio or their latest branch at Shangri-La Plaza Mall North Wing EDSA. If you are in Cebu, they are at the Level 4 New Wing of Ayala Center Cebu.

For more info about Planet Grapes, visit their website, Like their Facebook Page, follow them on Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 

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