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2016 Riesling, Grand Cru Hengst, Josmeyer - the kind of Riesling you can only find in Alsace

April 2022

2016 Riesling, Grand Cru Hengst, Josmeyer

The kind of Riesling you can only find in Alsace

£210 per 6 bottle case in bond

Request To Buy


Alsace can be perplexing, but if you get to grips with the region, it can be hugely rewarding as is the case with this outstanding 2016 Riesling, Grand Cru Hengst from Josmeyer.
Why is it perplexing? Well, Alsace is home to an extensive patchwork of different terroirs, exposures and soils that permit a broad array of different grape varieties to be grown, from Pinot Blanc to Pinot Auxerrois to Pinot Gris to Pinot Noir to Sylvaner, Muscat (in various guises), Gewürztraminer and, of course, Riesling. If that is not complicated enough, there are 51 different Grand Cru vineyards, not all of which, it might be argued, are deserving of that title. And then there is the biggest curveball of all for the unsuspecting drinker; wine styles can vary hugely, not just between estates, but between vintages within one estate and that variation is normally to do with sweetness – ranging from bone dry to off dry to reasonably sweet. Understanding vintage conditions and the approach employed by the specific estate is key. I personally would never offer a client an Alsace wine unless I had tasted it myself as often critics do not quite clarify the level of sweetness present.
All of that aside, there are a number of superb producers in Alsace with the capacity to produce breathtaking wines; Domaine Josmeyer, in Wintzenheim close to Colmar, is one such estate. Riesling is only just the dominant variety across their 28 hectares of vineyard with near equal proportions of Pinot Blanc. Gewürztraminer, Auxerrois and Pinot Gris make up the greater part of their holdings. The Josmeyers converted to biodynamic viticulture in the late 1990s, meaning no chemical fertilisers and pesticides are employed and demanding a more attentive approach in the vineyard as they seek to work in harmony with nature. I actually visited them in the early 2000s when I was carrying out research for my Masters of Wine dissertation on biodynamic viticulture – Alsace is home to many biodynamic estates, partly due to the fact that the smaller size of vineyard holdings lends itself to the biodynamic approach, and partly on account of Alsace’s climate posing fewer problems to those not reliant on chemicals (Alsace has one of the lowest annual rainfall levels in all of France protected as it is by the Vosges mountains).
Hengst is a large Grand Cru, amassing some 53 hectares in size. This sloping vineyard has a mixture of limestone and chalky marl over a base of thick sedimentary rock, which dates back to the Jurassic period. Such soils lead to rich and powerful styles of wine, which have been praised over the years for their ageing potential, hence the meaning of its name ‘stallion’ is used to convey the wildness of the wines in their youth. While this may be an interesting comment on the history of the name, I found the 2016 Riesling Hengst to be showing incredibly well at its current maturity when I tasted last week, even though I am convinced it could age for a decade or more.
I am really pleased to have had access to this parcel of Hengst – see my full note below as well as a brilliant note from Ian D’Agata – to my mind one of the go-to critics.

2016 Riesling, Grand Cru Hengst, Josmeyer
£210 per 6 bottle case in bond
My note:

This is essentially a dry Riesling which has just started to reveal some added complexity from maturity. Deep in the glass, having taken on a mid-golden hue, the aromas reveal ripe citrus and stone fruit, with a marked mineral component. It is one of those wines that you could contemplate for quite a while; notes of orchard fruit, orange peel, smoky, stony nuances, tangy lime and lemon, hints of fresh ginger and all underscored by a firm mineral backbone and a lively, yet beautifully integrated acidity. At no stage does this seem an imposing wine, it is so elegantly expressed, with relatively low alcohol making for near perfect balance. This is the kind of Riesling you can only find in Alsace – it is so distinctive. Clearly produced from admirably ripe, late harvested fruit, yet retains such effortless poise and persistence. It doesn’t fade – so complex and rewarding.  You can drink this now, or tuck it away and see what added dimensions and nuances emerge in time. Stunning. (SL). Drink : now to 2032.

93+ points, Ian D’Agata,

Bright straw-yellow. Lemon peel, ripe apricot, white flowers, and a crisp mineral undertone complicated by honeyed notes. Lively and juicy; harmonious acidity frames the pomaceous and fresh citrus fruit flavors. Finishes long with notes of crystallized ginger, apricot and lime. Josmeyer owns six parcels of vines in the Hengst, three of which are situated on the top crest and are usually used to make their Le Samain Riesling. However, in 2016 no Le Samain was made because Isabelle and Céline Meyer did not think the two were that different, and so they made much more Hengst than usual (roughly 8,500 bottles). Classically dry with 3 g/L r.s. and 7.3 g/L total acidity; the grapes were harvested 10 days earlier than the Brand but still very late in the year (end of October). This very long hang time in a cool growing season has helped deliver a highly complex wine that is not especially high in alcohol (only 13%). 2024-2037.
I am quite selective about Alsace Riesling – I sometimes find vineyard identity masked by a veil of sweetness – not so here. I can wholeheartedly endorse this classically dry example.
Please let us know of you interest.
All the best,


To request a wine, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Atlas team. We can be reached on +44 (0) 20 3017 2299, or by submitting the form below. Please note that stock may be limited and is always sold on a 'first come, first serve' basis. 

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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

Atlas House, 1 King Street
London, EC2V 8AU
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
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