19.04.17

Must-Try Muscat d’Alsace From Maison Kuentz-Bas

Press Release

Must-Try Muscat d’Alsace From Maison Kuentz-Bas

With 10 hectares under vine, Maison Kuentz-Bas is perched in one of the highest spots on the Alsace Wine Route, with vineyards around the village of Husseren-Les-Châteaux.  Founded in 1795, it remained family owned until 2004, when it was sold to Jean-Baptiste Adam who hailed from a family of winemakers spanning 14 generations.  Practices in the vineyards are both organic and biodynamic, as Jean-Baptiste and Head Winemaker Samuel Tottoli felt the best way to realise the potential of their wines and terroir was to lower yields and revert to more natural methods to create true expressions of Alsace varieties. 

The vast array of different soils in Alsace (volcanic, gneiss, sandstone, marl and granite to name but a few) allows for wines with distinctive aromatics, purity of fruit and food-matching prowess.  Whether they be elegant Rieslings or spicy Gewurztraminers, smoky Pinot Gris or highly aromatic Muscats, many varieties thrive in the 15,500 hectares of vineyards. “

Muscat d’Alsace 2014 ‘Collection’, Kuentz-Bas                                 11.5% ABV

RRP £11.50, The Wine Society

The foothills of the steep slopes around Husseren-Les-Châteaux provide the limestone, silt and loess vineyards for Maison Kuentz-Bas to grow their delicate Muscat grapes.  The Kuentz-Bas Muscat d’Alsace 2014 ‘Collection’ is a blend of two varieties from the Muscat family, celebrated for its distinct grapey aromatics: the paler Muscat Ottonel makes up 80%, whilst one of the oldest and noblest varieties, Muscat d’Alsace, which has a greater flavour concentration, provides the additional 20%. With the exception of the famous Vendanges Tardives and Sélection de Grains Nobles, Muscat d’Alsace is always made in a dry style.

The grapes are hand harvested from these sloped vineyards and then pressed slowly for 5-10 hours; the resulting must is chilled to 11°C before the lees is allowed to settle.  Over the next 3-6 months, the wine is then placed into century-old casks for fermentation before being lees aged for 6-8 months.  In the Spring, it is racked biodynamically, in accordance with the moon’s cycles.  Minimal intervention in the cellars, including reduced doses of sulphur, allows for a greater expression of fruit; this compliments the characteristic freshness of the wines, afforded by the hilltop position, which also allows the grapes to reach optimal maturity.

The 2014 vintage saw a mild winter, followed by a warm and dry spring which allowed for good flowering and fruit set.  The high acidity, reminiscent of vintages 20 or 30 years ago, resulted from the cooler August temperatures, followed by a sunny and fair September.  “2014 was not without its challenges,” comments Head Winemaker Samuel.  “It was a very difficult vintage for the delicate skinned Muscat grape because of a serious attack of drosophila suzukii, which caused a significant drop in yield.  And strict and speedy sorting was also necessary to maintain quality levels.”

Kuentz-Bas Muscat d’Alsace 2014 ‘Collection’ is well structured and shows an expressive varietal character.  The nose is intense with concentrated aromas of white flowers, peach and apple.  The palate is dry and balanced, with delicate flavours of honeysuckle, jasmine and apple, followed by a light and elegant finish.  Samuel says it is “the perfect food wine” and recommends it with asparagus, goats cheese or fish tartare.  Alternatively, enjoy as an aperitif.

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Date of issue:  5 April 2017

Further information:  emma wellings pr  t 020 8996 5168  e jessica@ew-pr.co.uk