2009 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spatlese #6

Year: 2009
Appellation: Mosel
Country: Germany
Wine Spectator: 93
Wine Advocate: 93
Vinous Media: 91
White Wine
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"Opulent and ripe, with lush, concentrated flavors of apricot, apple strudel and Key lime pie. There's a powerful minerality and acidity to this wine, which finishes with notes of honey cream and lemon meringue. Drink now through 2030." (WS)

"Now we're at the maximum of what could be achieved this year without botrytis," says Zilliken of the 2009 Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spatlese A.P. #6, made up of golden bunches rather similar to those that informed the Grosses Gewachs or "Diabas" bottlings except including in addition browning, beginning-botrytis berries such as lightly informed even this year's Rausch Kabinett. Pink grapefruit, mango, and pineapple scent and lusciously saturate a palate as saliva-inducing, refreshing, and near-weightless as that of the corresponding Kabinett. But not only is there more effusive and tropically-tilted ripeness on hand here, there is yet richer texture; spicier pungency; and an incongruously enhanced degree of minerality in the form of peat-like smokiness, crushed stone, lip-licking salinity, and somehow seemingly crystalline impingements. I expect this will perform beautifully for at least a quarter century (Zilliken compares it with his corresponding 1983, a wine that still drinks beautifully).

Hanno and daughter Dorothee Zilliken have reorganized and renamed much of their wine portfolio to conform to the prevailing – or at least, the officially professed – and allegedly Burgundian three-tier model of the VDP, whereby, inter alia, names of "grand crus" (such as in this instance Rausch) appear only on the labels of highly selected wines, which this year include for the first time here a Grosses Gewachs. Put another way, fans of Zilliken wines who prefer – or can only afford – to purchase wines at the lower range of the Oechsle spectrum will henceforth be drinking considerable amounts of Saarburger Rausch that is no longer labeled as such. The overall share of legally trocken wine at this address has been considerably extended, and as the Zillikens pointed out, despite recession, their wines – including the least expensive among them – have never sold out more quickly than they did this year, one in which the family's relatively small volume of residually sweet wine approaches stellar qualities. The harvest here lasted the second half of October and Dorothee Zilliken reported being quite relieved to have finished in view of early November rains, though these did not deter – or perhaps didn't so greatly affect – many of her neighbors, who stretched things out. Hanno Zilliken opined that "after the middle of October" – with no foliage left on the vines – "no more assimilation was possible; and after the rain in November the sugars would have been washed out." In consequence – and in a departure from usual practice – the Zillikens left no grapes hanging for Eiswein." (WA)

"($48) Dried apricot, acacia honey and cinnamon on the nose, with just a hint of botrytis. The palate offers an unctuous sweetness with a baked apple texture, a honeyed glaze and subtle mineral depth. Infinitely appealing, slightly spicy finish." (IWC)

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