2016 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling Kabinett, Zeltinger Schlossberg, Mosel Germany.
The 2016 Zeltinger Schlossberg by Johannes Selbach at Selbach Oster starts with mineral intensity and reduction before opening to a delightfully lacy off dry Riesling with orchard fruits and tangy acidity that never lets you forget the slate driven terroir. Johannes Selbach and his wife Barbara, run this famous winery which dates back to the 1660’s with the increasing help of son Sebastian and daughter Hannah, manage their vineyards and cellars along with the added talent of ex-Kartauserhof man Christian Vogt, as a winemaker. Selbach-Oster has continued the use of traditional oak fuder in his cellar, bringing in new large casks every few years. Vinification is carried out in a combination of fuder and stainless steel, in a hands-off manner with no fining, and predominantly with wild yeasts, but are well known for the purity and clean definition in their wines. Based in Zeltingen mostly, Selbach’s holdings include many old vine parcels in some of the Mosel’s most prime vineyards set on almost exclusively blue Devonian slate, as is the case with this Schlossberg cru, one of my all time favorites. Selbach is unafraid of low alcohol and residual sugar and excels in the sweet wines, but their drier offerings should not be overlooked, especially their single parcel wines, though I adore their Spatlese and Auslese too. If you are looking for insane values, Selbach’s Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese Feinherb Ur-Alte Reben (Ultra Old Vine) and this Kabinett Zeltinger Schlossberg are do not miss wines.
While 2016 posed a difficulty in vineyards and was making everyone a nervous wreck with an exceptionally weirdly cool summer, fall ended with a really good stretch that saved the vintage from mediocrity in what some German winemaker call a divine miracle, and the wines continue to shine and get better in bottle, like this one. The flinty/sulphur nose blows off quickly in the glass to reveal delicate tropical notes, peach, apricot, tangerine and muskmelon along with a touch of earth, citron/herbs, crystallized ginger, wet shale and tart apple skin. The light frame is countered by the creaminess of the sugar and the vibrancy hides the extract and depth, so there seems to be even more to come in the Schlossberg given a few more years, but it is a easy Riesling to enjoy now. I loved the denser form of the 2015, it was a touch more hedonistic and pushy, but this 2016 is a classic, and I hear that 2017 might be the best ever, if so I am looking forward to that! Be sure to try the Selbach-Oster Schlossberg with your favorite Asian cuisine, it’s magic and shows twenty times better with medium spicy foods and or robust dishes.
($24 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive