After the long and harsh winter of 1970-71 which resulted in some serious vineyard damage, the weather conditions were at first encouraging for plant growth (month of March particularly cold and dry) and then became extremely bad during budding time which took place under the worst sort of conditions.
So the harvest was seriously compromised from a quantity standpoint. The most-affected grape varieties were Gewurztraminer and Muscat, with the latter being basically totally wiped-out. Very fortunately, some dry and warm summer weather, interspersed with very beneficial storms, contributed to the grapes ripening as they should. Thanks to an especially sunny month of September, sometimes even too dry, the vines were in excellent health with a significant increase in sugar content.
These factors, combined with a weak yield due to the coulure during budding time, are the reasons for an exceptional 1971 vintage year quality which can be compared to the great vintage year of 1959.
The harvest started on October 4, 1971, about two weeks earlier than usual and ended up being exceptionally good from a quality point of view but unfortunately rather low from a quantity standpoint (523,000 hl, making about 250,000 hl less than an average harvest).
The 1971 Alsace wines are generous, vigorous wines with great keeping potential to better reveal themselves at a later date. This year Gewurztraminer was at its peak followed closely behind by Sylvaner which in 1971 became these characteristic and pleasant wines par excellence that everyone dreams about. The vigorous yet harmonious formation of each makes them undeniably the wines sought-after by connoisseurs. However, their relative rarity has made their prices increase.
Vin d'Alsace Information Centre