2008 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

Year: 2008
Appellation: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Country: Germany
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 92
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 8.5%
Price :
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"Accents of smoke and stone distinguish this apple- and floral-flavored Riesling, which lingers with mineral on the chalklike texture. Classy. Drink now through 2020." (WS)

"The Selbach 2008 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett smells alluringly of Normandy cider, nut oils, green tea, and hedge flowers. Alkaline, wet stone, and saline mineral elements are all also adumbrated in the nose, then offer counterpoint to the richly ripe apple and white peach, flowers and herbs on a palate of creamy richness yet invigorating refreshment and levity. Here is the sort of improbably balanced Mosel Kabinett that is as delightfully fascinating to sip on its own as it is versatile at table, and that will prove as infectious fifteen or more years from now as it is today. What’s more, this remarkable value illustrates the opportunity that so many German wines – and virtually no others on earth – offer of exploring the complex virtues of a great vineyard site at a price most wine lovers can afford to pay most days of the week.

Johannes Selbach responded to the high energy and acidity of the 2008 vintage by giving most of the wines extra fine-lees contact and later-than-usual bottling. As a champion of (in his words) “genuine Kabinett” and “drinking wine, not trophy wine” and a resister against the encroachment of high must weights and residual sugar to which the weather in most recent vintages has left even him susceptible, Selbach was predictably overjoyed both with the refreshment, delicacy, and infectious drinkability made possible by vintage 2008, and with its preponderance of Kabinett and Spatlese. Several single-parcel, block-picked (i.e. the whole crop at once), vineyard-designated wines were essayed (that from the Anrecht – within Zeltinger Himmelreich – being new this year) although at Spatlese rather than, as usually in the past, Auslese Pradikat level. In fact, it remains Selbach’s intention to very soon remove the already small-print reference to Pradikat from these special bottlings, whose focus is intended to be entirely on reflecting terroir and vintage. (Ironically, though, the reference to the sites themselves remain in very small print, because the authorities are testy about the use of geographical designations other than those of the official Einzellagen singled-out – or, to put it more appropriately, assembled – in 1971.)" (WA)

Winery Notes:
CORE-LIST WINE: We’ll stay with the ’08 while supplies last, a big juicy soulful Mosel wine, with a reverb of mid-palate energy burnishing down into a limey smoky finish. The 2009 is a big glam Kabinett in Selbach’s context, but what really impresses is how a jab of slatey precision pierces through the kafir and apple first impression, giving a tactile palate double-take as you see it’s not quite the wine you expected, but rather a classic Mosel. SOMMELIER ALERT! SOS: 1 (6-18 years)