Famille Hugel requires no introduction in the world of wine, the wine co which celebrates its 375th year has remained one of the pioneers of winemaking in Alsace. Etienne Hugel the 12th generation of the family is in India, his fourth time, to talk about Wines, Alsace and of course to get fascinated by India’s promise in wine yet again. He hosted a wine afternoon jointly with India’s first man of wines Sanjay Menon for wine media and professionals.
Quoting from the book Wine & War, “The Hugel story, in many ways, is the story of Alsace.”My grandfather had to change his nationality four times," said Andre Hugel (Etienne’s father). Grandfather Emile was born in 1869. He was born French, but two years later, in 1871, Alsace was taken over by Germany after the Franco-Prussian War, and he became German. The end of World War 1 in 1918 made him French again. In 1940, when Alsace was annexed, he was forced to become German. By 1950, when Emile died at the age of eighty-one, he was once again French. The constant swing between nationalities resulted in a kind of regional schizophrenia, a feeling of being part French, part German, but most of all Alsatian.” Rhine bottles, German grape varietals, naming by grape varietals and such Germanic influences are prevalent not just in Hugel but all of Alsace. Hugel et fils when French, Hugel u. Sohne when under the German rule the Hugel family finally renamed it to #Famille Hugel in 2015. ‘Family resonates globally and we thought it is high time we showed gratitude and include the other gender that plays an equal role in business.’ said Etienne.
Gentil Hugel a blend of Alsatian classic grape varietals Pinot Blanc, Slyvaner, Riesling and Gewurztraminer opened the tasting with its vibrancy akin to Etienne’s energy in the room couple with his slapstick humour. The classic Riesling 2014 followed only to be overtaken by the Riesling Grossi Laue 2010, the latter was showcased in India for the first time. ‘The yellow, red and green colours that endow the brand were actually inspired from Maggi in the early 20th century when a friend of the Hugels working for Maggi came back with the suggestion.’ beamed Etienne.
Pinot Gris a richer rendition of the global phenomenon Pinot Grigio was next from Hugels arsenal, the classic and a whopping 15 % alcohol stunner the 2010 Pinot Gris Grossi Laue (refers to the best vineyards in the region). Last but not the least was the grape varietal which is often referred to as a match made in heaven for Asian food, Gewurztraminer showed up in two avatars a young classic dry and the second a sweet late harvest (vendange tardive)from 2007. The former was reminiscent of lychees and roses and the latter of honey, roses, prunes and floral nuances.
Rieslings to certain extent, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris in our opinion are not yet on the Indian consumer’s radar, but when they do and hopefully soon there will be no looking back.
Hugel Wines – 100% Family Owned
Acreage: 65 acres (only noble varieties viz: Riesling,Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris planted)
Year of establishment: 1639
Total Production per Year: 110000 9 ltr cases
MRP in Mumbai
Hugel Gentil: Rs 3300
Hugel Riesling: Rs 3900
Hugel Gewurztraminer: Rs 4200