Selbach Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2019
Zeltinger Sonnenuhr is the top Grand Cru and the Selbachs are the primary owners of this site. This is the steepest of the three vineyards, and there are large outcroppings of rock with chunks of blue Devonian slate with a very shallow subsoil of decomposed slate. This is also the driest of the vineyards, and generally speaking, these wines are full-bodied, and a bit more flashy.
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The 2019 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese * is from the Kalk plot close to the Mosel River, which almost always gets clear and clean botrytis. Intense and concentrated on the flinty and refined nose, this is a crystalline and salty-piquant ZSU with grip and tension and almost ice wine-like acidity. Tasted at the domain in September 2020.
This is opulent and harmonious, as much about the texture and balance as the apricot, peach and floral aromas and flavors. It's also subtle, rather than in-your-face, yet shows complexity and mineral-tinged length. Drink now through 2040.
Since 1661 the Selbach family has owned vineyards in the Mosel region. Their 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. Their philosophy of winemaking is "hands-on" in the vineyards and "hands-off" in the cellar. Most of Selbach Oster wines are still fermented and matured in the traditional oak "Fuder"-barrels supplemented by a small number of stainless-steel vats. They do not use new oak for Rieslings to preserve the delicate structure of subtle fruit and crisp acidity as purely as possible
Following the Mosel River as it slithers and weaves dramatically through the Eifel Mountains in Germany’s far west, the Mosel wine region is considered by many as the source of the world’s finest and longest-lived Rieslings.
Mosel’s unique and unsurpassed combination of geography, geology and climate all combine together to make this true. Many of the Mosel’s best vineyard sites are on the steep south or southwest facing slopes, where vines receive up to ten times more sunlight, a very desirable condition in this cold climate region. Given how many twists and turns the Mosel River makes, it is not had to find a vineyard with this exposure. In fact, the Mosel’s breathtakingly steep slopes of rocky, slate-based soils straddle the riverbanks along its entire length. These rocky slate soils, as well as the river, retain and reflect heat back to the vineyards, a phenomenon that aids in the complete ripening of its grapes.
Riesling is by far the most important and prestigious grape of the Mosel, grown on approximately 60% of the region’s vineyard land—typically on the desirable sites that provide the best combination of sunlight, soil type and altitude. The best Mosel Rieslings—dry or sweet—express marked acidity, low alcohol, great purity and intensity with aromas and flavors of wet slate, citrus and stone fruit. With age, the wine’s color will become more golden and pleasing aromas of honey, dried apricot and sometimes petrol develop.
Other varieties planted in the Mosel include Müller-Thurgau, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), all performing quite well here.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.