The Alsace Vintage Years

Year 2006

2006 will go down in history as a difficult vintage year which was rewarded by technical expertise, promising some pleasant surprises.

A contrasted year

The climate

Let’s take a look back on this past year. Despite late budding (April 25), the beautiful sunny days of June allowed the flowering to take place on its usual dates (around June 19). The heat of July helped the whole process to move forward. The fresh days during the month of August, along with some needed rain, as well as the weather of the first two weeks of September, provided some great ripeness for this 2006 vintage year.

The harvest start dates were set as follows: September 11 for AOC Crémant d’Alsace except for Riesling (September 18) and September 25 for still wines except for Riesling and Gewurztraminer (September 27). Regarding the Vendanges Tardives and Sélections de Grains Nobles, the harvest date was October 11.

The harvest

Unfortunately, the oftentimes-stormy rainfalls which began on September 24 and continued until early October, resulted in an alteration of the grapes on parcels which were not harvested before this rainy episode.

The quality was there and was saved, for the most part, thanks to the watchfulness of oenologists and winemakers. They learned to be incredibly diligent this year, both for the harvest-sorting and for the clarification of the raisin juices.

The harvest opening dates were set for September 11 for AOC Crémant d’Alsace except for Riesling (September 18), September 25 for the still wines, except for Riesling and Gewurztraminer (September 27). As for the Vendanges Tardives and Sélections de Grains Nobles, the start date was set for October 11.

In 2006 the overall production amounted to 1,081,000 hl (with 857,748 hl fo AOC Alsace and Alsace Grand Cru and 223,942 hl for AOC Crémant d’Alsace).

The wines

In the end, Crémant d’Alsace, composed essentially of different Pinot varieties, was harvested as per usual at the beginning of the picking, so before the rains, and consequently promises to have elegant and well-structured wines.

In general the dry white wines have a great aromatic intensity and good acidity. Supple and thirst-quenching, they are to be consumed young. Pinot Noir has light and fruity red wines.

There are less Vendanges Tardives this year due to the storms, but nevertheless are very successful, notably with Gewurztraminer, maturing later, which took advantage of the beautiful October days.

CIVA: Interprofessional Committee of Alsace Wine
March 2007

The Alsace Vintage Years

There are never two harvests which are alike! Each year, the different climatic conditions impose a natural framework which wine-makers learn to manage. The vintage year transmits these variations into the wine quality perception. It furthermore provides indications for how long it should age once bottled.

Review the last 20 vintage years and those which have entered into the legend of great wines: