Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese Feinherb ‘Uralte Reben’, Selbach-Oster
ZELTINGER SONNENUHR: is the Premier Grand Cru. Slate, lime, apple, butter-vanilla, rich, almost chewy earthiness, great depth. Some parcels are prized by locals as the best sites in the entire Bernkastel-Zeltingen ramp-DOKTOR notwithstanding! These wines are fullbodied. Selbachs are now the primo owners in this great site, and have inaugurated an era of elective harvesting and a quality potential such as we have never before seen.
“Ur-alt” means extremely old; in this case most vines over 80 and many over 100. Ungrafted goes without saying.
You know, when I hear people say that dry Rieslings were “traditional” or even that they prevailed most of the time back in the
day, I think the young listener has no way of knowing that it’s wines like this being talked about. Those halcyon days of mostly-
dry Riesling had zero to do with the modern cellar style: stainless steel, ice-cold fermentation, whole-cluster pressing, early
bottling. Those old wines were wines like this, fermented in cask after settling by gravity as best they could (before the days
of separators, centrifuges and micropore filters), all of them spontis, bottled after multiple rackings and often 2-3 years after
the vintage. They were naturally softer than today’s wines, and even THEN it was widely known the best casks were those that
weren’t entirely dry.
This is a masterpiece in any vintage and a miracle in ’14; as exotic as a Mosel classic can be; pink peppercorn and wet cereal,
apple cellar and fresh mutsu; green balsam notes (like a Christmas tree), all into the most complex finish, almost inconceivably
intricate and delicious. – Terry Theise
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