2018 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling Feinherb, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr “Ur” Alte Reben, MCM, Mosel Germany.
Beautifully dimensioned and concentrated with a dry Spatlese feel with an off dry creaminess of texture this special really old vine Riesling from the Selbach family highlights the quality of the vines and the house style to near perfection with crystalline mineral tones, slate driven terroir notes and lovely layered fruits with apricot, key lime, tangerine and crisp green apple all playing parts. It’s almost impossible as a Riesling fan, not to fall hopeless in love with these 2018s with their easy feel and subtly, they dance on the palate and are incredibly seamless wines, with this modern Feinherb from the famous Zeltinger Sonnenuhr vineyard being one of my favorites in Johannes’ awesome collection of small lot Rieslings that range from tangy dry to heavenly sweet, with this wine sitting somewhere between a classic Kabinett and the sweeter and denser Spatlese. The brilliance of Selbach’s wines are that they don’t try to thrill you like a roller coaster, they are wines that set out to please, and while they do require you to know what you want, they go about their mission like a Gisha, quietly and with impeccable care and grace. With an under appreciated sense of opulence, in their residual sugar and must weight, which makes them hedonistic and full flavored and less edgy in their acidity, these are not S and M versions of Riesling, and even though I do like there intensely dry examples of this grape, you have to admire these well crafted and gorgeous Selbachs, and I do very much and have for a long time. This 2018 opens to deliver its supple fruits with time in the glass glimmering with a pale golden hue and gives an additional contrasting array tangy and stony elements as well as delicate aromatics with hints of white flowers and rosewater accented by wet stone and flintiness, absolutely screaming Mosel from start to finish. This wine, coming from this single old vine parcel is an outrageous value with the potential to age, though it was too inviting to not try it now.
The Selbach winery is run by the Riesling maestro, Johannes Selbach, who along with his wife Barbara, and now with the increasing help of their kids, son Sebastian and daughter Hannah, manage their vineyards and cellar with total commitment to quality and their traditions that date back to the 1660s. Amazingly, according to the winery and Terry Theise, the famous Riesling guru who discovered and imported these wines to America, Selbach’s vines of which 55% are on their original rootstocks. With steep sloped holdings in Zeltinger Himmelreich, Schlossberg, and Sonnenuhr, plus a selection of fabulous parcels in Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich and Domprobst, as well as others, few others offer such a top notch grouping of Cru sites. These vineyards set on the region’s most notable feature, the weathered Devonian slate and all hand tended, and are on mostly a contiguous sloping River slope that face south-south west to catch the sun and its reflection off the picturesque Mosel. Selbach without quest has some of most prestigious vine plots in all of Germany, and this Ur Alte Reben comes from some of the oldest vines in their area. Johannes is a passionate winemaker and he produces his wines in a combination of classic fuder and stainless steel, (with this one going into old fuder exclusively and getting lees aging) in a hands-off manner with no fining, and predominantly with wild yeasts to promote transparency and purity of flavors, all from carefully ripened grapes and with fanatical precision, the are wines of place and of joyous harmony. This Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, from vines well over 100 years old, is a celebration of the Mosel and a wine to be cherished, I found it perfect for my own birthday dinner, which was a meal including a spicy set of Asian dishes with my weakness, Singapore curried noodles! This is a stunning and luscious Riesling that is flexible in style, able to handle most any cuisine and some heat and still be comfortable with more traditional dishes or simple stuff.
($35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive