Saarburger Rausch, Riesling, Spätlese, 2011


Juicy, vivid, clear and brilliant. Harmonious, live-wire flavours of ripe oranges, sicilian lemon, mirabelle and peach dance silkily accross the palate, hints of lemon rind and apricot add to the long pulsating finish. This was a selection made in the first week of harvest from some golden and shrivelled berries. 2011 was a year of very little botyrtis but great intensity flavour, lower Auslese was the lightest concentration level the estate had, even for the Kabinett-destined grapes. The Rausch is an imposing vineyard of the highest quality that overlooks Saarburg. Its combination of thin blue mosel-type slate and diavas which is heavier, harder slate gives wines of textured, salty power and clear, mineral flavours. Apart from the basic estate wines everything here is the result of spontaneous, wild yeast ferment, the resultant wines, which aged in large old wooden barrels, are therefore packed full of complex terroir character.

Contains Sulphites.

About Zilliken

The life of a Saar Riesling grower is not an easy one. Possibly one of the coldest and most marginal corners of Germany, the Saar can produce some of the world’s great white wine in hot sunny years such as 1990. However, these are usually outnumbered by cold wet years resulting in over astringent and unripe wines. There are a small band of growers though who have a distinct advantage over the rest in the land that they own. A handful of Saar vineyards are steep enough and exposed enough to ensure a decent level of grape ripening even in poor years. Hanno Zilliken is fortunate enough to have sizeable holdings in Saarburg’s great vineyard, the steep south-facing Rausch. He exploits these slate based vines to the maximum through careful pruning and hand selection. When the wine is pressed, it gently descends by gravity into the oak casks lying in Hanno’s dark damp cellars. The wines are prime examples of Saar Riesling, being mouthwateringly taut, mineral and sophisticated.

Appellation: Saar

Nearly all the quality vineyards of the Saar face south, in an effort to counter the cold weather by harvesting as much sun as possible to achieve ripeness. These are perhaps the steeliest of all the wines found in Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, but this combination with the marked acidity means that when on song, the balance between acidity and late harvest honeyed ripeness found here can be unbeatable.

Grape Type: Riesling

One of the world’s noblest grape varieties, Riesling produces scented, refreshing, mineral wines from dry to lusciously sweet. Its bad reputation, tarnished by the cloying and completely unrelated Liebfraumilch, is one of the wine world’s great injustices. Its heartland is the steep Mosel and Rheingau valleys of Germany, where it produces floral spritzy off-dry to medium wines packed with lime and apple fruit or, when affected by botrytis, honeyed apricot characteristics. In Alsace, Austria’s Wachau and Germany’s Franken there are some exhilarating, complex dry versions that work very well with Oriental fusion foods, as well as some stunning sweet versions. Some superb lively fruit-forward styles are cropping up in New Zealand, Constantia in South Africa and the cooler parts of Australia and California.