Selbach-Oster Block Picked Rieslings

February 2015

Selbach-Oster and Block-Picked Riesling

The ambitiousness of Johannes Selbach has made this estate the region’s most prominent rising star. Since 1989, [Selbach-Oster is] always among the very best wines of the collection.” –Terry Thiese

The ancestors of the Selbach-Oster estate have been cultivating Riesling since 1600. Johannes Selbach and his wife Barbara currently run the estate with their son Sebastian. The Riesling vineyards here are steep, making mechanical farming methods impossible. Everything from pruning to harvesting to securing the vines with stakes must be done by hand. In the vineyard, modern practices and careful grape selection lead to ultra-low yields from the mostly ungrafted old vines. The fruit is handled as little as possible, with wild yeasts, cool fermentation and gravity flow transport for the juice.

The winery produces several micro-parcel bottlings of old vines, picked en-bloc (all ripeness levels picked at the same time) to showcase the unique terroir.  The wines are fermented slowly and naturally, and as a result in some vintages the wines are dry and others not.  The Schmitt bottling is from the Schlossberg vineyard.  The soil is deep, decomposed slate and loam.  The micro-parcel is steep, with an excellent southern exposure, and is warmed by the water and the shield of nearby houses.  The 2012 was fermented in steel and shows remarkable richness and acidity.  The Rotlay, from Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, is also a warmer site, near to the river, with soil rich in iron ore.  Anrecht, from the Himmelreich vineyard, is a slightly cooler yet steep site with broken slate, humus and loamy soil.  The grapes are block-picked, so it shows some notes of botrytis while still possessing the lighter body of a Kabinett or Spatlese-level wine.  It was fermented in Fuder with ambient yeast.

Selbach-Oster En-Bloc Wines Available Here Now

Selbach-Oster ‘Anrecht’ Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling 2011 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 94 points “The block-picked, lightly-botrytized Selbach 2011 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Anrecht leads with a gorgeous though subtle amalgam of apple blossom, chamomile, sweet lime, pear nectar, and quince preserves, all of which reconvene on a silken-textured, subtly creamy and oily yet admirably juicy and utterly transparent palate, through which shimmer stony, smoky and saline notes. Allying a Kabinett-like sense of levity, primary juiciness and mineral interaction with the richness of flavor typical for a great Auslese – at just 7.5% alcohol yet not dominated by its sheer sweetness! – this perfectly illustrates precisely the point of block picking that captures all of the sorts of ripeness that are out there and layers them on the palate to render a masterpiece of counterpoint and harmony. Expect this to be worth following for a quarter century, though who can really tell, absent any recent track record for such a wine.” WA

Selbach-Oster ‘Anrecht’ Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling 2012 750ML ($39.95) $29 special, 3+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “($38) Golden yellow. Expansive aromas of caramelized apple, candied peach and lemon curd. The succulent flavors of honey and apricot pith are kept vibrant by refreshing acidity. The long finish, offering complex notes of tangerine and toasted nuts, tastes almost dry.” ST

Selbach-Oster ‘Rotlay’ Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling 2011 750ML ($59.95) $48 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 91+ points “Carob and toasted nuts inflect baked apple and vanilla on the nose of Selbachs’ block-picked 2011 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Rotlay, which comes to the palate expansive, creamy, and buoyant (at 8.5% alcohol), its apple joined by almost overripe Persian melon. Hints of pip and botrytis bitterness add interest, but there is not the subtle interaction of flavors or the layer of primary juiciness that rendered the corresponding Anrecht bottling so memorable, but instead a more dominantly honeyed, soothingly rich personality. This long-finishing beauty may well – as its author suggests – just need some time to reveal its multiple layers.”

Selbach-Oster ‘Schmitt’ Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling 2012 375ML ($37.95) $28 special, 23 half-bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “($54) Pale golden yellow. Rich bouquet of candied apricot, ginger and nut oil. Succulently juicy pineapple and crisp slate animate the supple, creamy texture. The seductive finish is only slightly sweet. Boasts excellent balance and considerable promise.” ST

See the full list of wines from Selbach-Oster by visiting our web store.