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Average critic rating : 91.0 points
In its author’s words “a slow fermenter and extreme ‘sponti’,” Selbach’s 2009 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett does indeed lead with a nose-wrinkling note of yeast and fermentative byproducts, behind which emerge site-typical apple blossom and heliotrope, apple and vanilla following on a creamy yet juicy and delicate palate suffused with saline savor suggesting shrimp shell reduction and finishing with salvia-inducing persistence supplemented by walnut piquancy and wet stone. This ought to remain lovely for at least 15 years. Like the corresponding generic Kabinett, this reflects Selbach’s desire not to over-load his Kabinetts with residual sugar, which means that in a vintage as ripe as 2009 we end up with 9% alcohol. That ripeness is also the reason there are so few Kabinetts this vintage chez Selbach. ||“The autumn was super, with little stress,” remarked Johannes Selbach, who is more often seen furrowing his exceedingly high brow when describing even a highly successful harvest! What there was of botrytis, he reports, came late, and he reported that what rain there was in November was of negligible significance. Where many 2009 collections disappointed slightly as they reached the limits of possible vintage Oechsle, the Selbach-Oster collection proceeded from strength to profound strength. Most of the wines were bottled in May, but some of the dry and nobly sweet lots were very late even to finish fermenting and a few had not yet been bottled even when I tasted in September. True to an intention he stated last year, Selbach has bottled without Pradikat the fruits of block-pickings from his three top parcels, each named on its label. (For more about the principles involved, consult in particular my note on the 2005 “Schmitt” Auslese – in issue 169 – and that on this year’s dry “Schmitt” Spatlese below.) This year’s collection continues the trend for wines from Zeltingen’s Schlossberg to shine with special complexity and elegance after the many years in which they seemed destined at this address to take a back seat to those of Sonnenuhr. Not only were the vineyards of Zeltingen among the most celebrated on the Mosel during the 19th and early 20th century, but Karl Heinrich Koch epochal survey of 1881 places the Schlossberg as among the Mosel, Saar, and Ruwer’s top 11 sites, and one can appreciate this while savoring a wine like this year’s “Schmitt” trocken. eRobertParker.com.December, 2010
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