Selbach Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Anrecht 2009
Riesling from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
A top south-facing parcel in Zeltinger Himmelreich; this is really the archetypal vineyard spice and mint but with a cold stream of concentrated slate, but this barely suffices to describe an interplay you almost can't comprehend but you know is important; insanely seductive notwithstanding its fervor of slate. Done in steel, by the way.
Wine Spectator - "A mineral aroma leads into elegant, refined flavors of mango, apricot and ripe peach, with hints of marmalade. Offers well-defined notes of ginger as well, with a long, cream- and spiced-filled finish. Best from 2014 through 2035."
The Wine Advocate - "Selbach himself is convinced it will be more impressive after a few years of shedding youthful fat. Selbach's block-harvested, tank-raised 2009 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Anrecht superbly showcases what he considers the sweetest spot in the Himmelreich Einzellage, here picked in mid-November. Peach, pear, and papaya exhibit the ripe concentration and supportive sweetness of a typical Selbach Auslese. The sense of both tropical and northerly fruit essences here is accentuated by the wine's creaminess of texture and honeyed glaze on the one hand and its glorious persistence of bright fresh fruit and tartly chewy fruit skin on the other. But then, diverse levels of ripeness are essentially what picking en bloc is designed to achieve. This displays palpable density yet irrepressible lift, finishing with luscious, lip-smacking persistence, encompassing saliva-inducing salinity and vivid intimations of wet stone. I expect it to reward your attention for the next 20-25 years. And what was Selbach thinking when he priced this gem? It ends up representing absurd value! "
International Wine Cellar - "Elusive floral scents add interest to ripe apricot and vanilla on the nose. Shows a texture like satin, but with a firm charge of acidity enlivening the luscious tropical fruit flavors. Nut oils and slate define the elegant finish."
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Selbach Oster Winery
Since 1661 our family has owned vineyards in the Mosel region. Our main treasure is simply what nature presents us with: excellent vineyard-sites, and old, ungrafted vines on steep, south-facing slopes planted on heat-retaining, mineral-rich, rocky slate soil. Our philosophy of winemaking is "hands-on" in the vineyards and "hands-off" in the cellar. Most of our wines are still fermented and matured in the traditional oak "Fuder"-barrels supplemented by a small number of stainless-steel vats. We do not use new oak for Rieslings to preserve the delicate structure of subtle fruit and crisp acidity as purely as possible View all Selbach Oster Wines
About Mosel-Saar-RuwerView a map of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer wineries(moe-ZELL saahr -RUE-wehr)The Mosel river winds its way through this wine region, passing by some of the steepest, most northerly vineyards of the world. The wines from the Mosel have a most distinctive soil based on slate. The slate-rich soils covering the region are what imparts the amazing, well-loved slate-y, mineraly flavors and aromas to the delicate Mosel wines. To keep this necessary slate in tact, when the rock slide down the steep vineyard hillsides, the vineyard workers grab a bucket and carry the rocks right back up to the vines. There is a level of care taken in the vineyards of Mosel that rivals most other regions. Tasting the wines helps to understand why.
Notable FactsRiesling is the grape of the Mosel – the combination of this grape with the slate soils is what makes Mosel wines so breathtakingly delicate. Common descriptors of the Mosel Rieslings include steely acidity, wet stone and delicate texture. Lower in alcohol and high in acidity, the wines are still balanced with the rich flavors of Riesling and the slate-y flavors from the soil. Two districts (or Bereiche) that you find most often on Mosel labels are Bernkastel and Zell. Both are good producers of wine from this region. Many other good wines are coming from the area – just look to make sure the bottle says "Riesling" on the label – that's a sign of quality.
White Wine GuruWith some of the steepest and northernmost vineyards in the world, as well as the coolest climate, Germany produces some of the best white wines in the world, mainly Riesling. Delicate, age-worthy, intense and elegant are the typical descriptions for these wines. Note that “sweet” is not a common descriptor because the idea that most German wines are sweet is just not so. In fact, the majority of wines made in Germany are dry and more recently, the country is exporting value wines that are easy to drink, extremely food friendly and, luckily for some, containing labels that are easier to read!
The classification system of Germany is somewhat confusing. Like the rest of the old world, there's some hierarchy to it all. The categories are: Tafelwien (table wine), Landwein (land wine, similar to France's Vin de Pays) and the first “Q” level, QbA. QbA wines are easy-drinking and inexpensive – the only requirement being that the wine must come from one of Germany's thirteen official wine growing regions. The final level is QmP, which is the strictest level of German wines. The qualification consists of 6 levels, based on ripeness level at harvest, though that does not always translate into sweetness level.
Here are a few definitions to help in picking out a German QmP wine:
Kabinett(cab-ee-NET)The driest level, Kabinett is usually light-bodied, low to medium in alcohol, and fairly dry. Great everyday wine and food-friendly.
Spatlese(shpate-LAY-zuh)Grapes are picked a bit later than Kabinett (Spatlese means late harvest) and have a fuller, more intense body. Most wines of this level are dry although some are off-dry.
Auslese(OWSE-lay-zuh)Wines of this level are made from select grapes harvested even later than Spatlese. The grapes are selected in bunches to make sure they are of the perfect ripeness level. One step up in both body and sweetness, Auslese wines are balanced but with a bit more sweetness – perfect with spicy Indian food.
Beerenauslese(bare-ehn-owse-lay-zuh)The longer the words get, the higher up in sweetness level you rise. Like Auslese, the grapes are selected individually, but while Auslese is selected bunches, Beerenauslese are selected berries, and usually berries affected by botrytis, or noble rot, so you have an even more specific wine, which, in turn, increases both its sweetness level and its price.
Trockenbeerenauslese(trok-ehn-bare-ehn-owse-lay-zuh)Okay, so Trocken means dry in German and yet this wine is the sweetest of the German levels. The "trocken" comes into play as the berries picked for this wine are dried, intensifying the sugars. So the wine is made from late-harvest dried berries affected with botrytis - a combination that makes a decadent (and expensive!) bottle of wine. A treat if you are able to ever try one.
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Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.