2017 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett

Year: 2017
Appellation: Saar
Country: Germany
Wine Advocate: 93-94
James Suckling: 94
Mosel Fine Wine Review: 92
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 8.0%
Price :
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"The 2017 Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett has a clear and concentrated bouquet of perfectly ripe (and golden) Riesling berries and even raisins. The attack on the palate is pure and fresh, while the wine is beautifully juicy, piquant and delicate, with a well-structured and intensely aromatic finish. This is a fabulous Riesling, although it drinks like a filigreed Spätlese. Picked at 91° Oechsle. Tasted before bottling in March 2018.

The 2016 harvest was terribly small at the domaine from Dorothee and Hanno Zilliken. Peronospora destroyed almost everything in their Saarburger Rausch, where healthy grapes had to be hunted. "Our machines were in the repair shop when we had to use them for sprayings. We got them back a few days too late and couldn't protect our plants anymore," said Hanno when he served me a very few of his (excellent!) 2016s, which sold out in a very short time. Since many of his 2017s were ready to be bottled, I agreed to taste them, although my focus was on the 2016 vintage. To Hanno, 2017 is a top vintage like 2015, and he rates it above 2016 not just in terms of quantity but also quality. However, due to spring frost, the yields were reduced again, but it was not nearly as dramatic as in 2016. Hanno said that 2017 yielded four fuders per hectare compared to just two in 2016. "Although it's below our average of five fuders (or roughly 50 hectoliters per hectare), we are pretty happy with the resulting wines. They are based on fully ripe and healthy grapes with excellent acidity structures. However, we did not produce any Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese but downgraded our potential BA to a top class Auslese that will be sold at the auction in Trier in September this year." Due to smaller yields, three other wines are also missing in the 2017 portfolio: Rausch Alte Reben, Rausch "Diabas" and the generic Kabinett. During the tasting, I was deeply impressed by the lush and piquant character of the Prädikatsweine, namely the Kabinett, the two Spätlesen and the Auslesen from the Saarburger Rausch. The Grosses Gewächs ("GG") is also terrific, perhaps the finest I have ever tasted from this domaine. Unfortunately, I didn't taste any Bockstein so far but was happy to taste three historic wines from 2008, 1998 and 1988. The 1988 Eiswein is simply great and will be auctioned—in Magnums only!—in Trier as well." (WA)

"A very compact and concentrated wine for a Kabinett with a ton of fruit-salad character and so much mineral freshness, which keeps it light on its feet. Great juiciness at the long vibrant finish. Drink or hold." (JS)

"The 2017er Saarburger Rausch Kabinett was made from fruit harvested at a full 91-92° Oechsle. It develops a gorgeous nose of apricot blossom, pear, quince, minerals and smoky slate. The wine proves nicely racy and refined on the palate and leaves a beautifully clean feel in the long and Spätlese-like yet still rather sharp finish. This only needs time to integrate its intense aromatic structure. 2027-2042" (MFR)

Winery Notes:
Tasting Notes:
This graceful Riesling presents a lovely, lithe silhouette rich in minerality and light in fruit. Laser flavors of lime zest and orange cut sharp, precise lines and help harness the natural sweetness into a singular stunning balance. Over time flavors unfold into ripe, juicy layers of apricot, apple and melon and finish with a gentle saline kiss.

Serving Suggestions:
With 2015’s optimal conditions for a true Kabinett year, we recommend putting this gem into the cellar for a few years. If opened young enjoy as an aperitif or with scallops, sushi or sashimi.

Product Description:
"Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken was established in 1742. Hanno Zilliken, the cellar master here since 1976 and proprietor since 1981, has made the maintenance of traditions and the high standards of the estate’s wines his mission. The estate has the deepest, coolest cellar on the Saar, with three levels below ground, and the wines are fermented and matured in German oak under optimum aging conditions; the natural humidity content is so high that there are stalactites are growing from the ceiling. For Hanno, though, the work in the cellar is secondary. He believes “the complete potential is within the vineyard itself. No wine can ever surpass what the soil, the vine and climate give it.” The main site at Zilliken is the Saarburger Rausch (10ha) and a small holding in the Ockfener Bockstein (1ha) is used for lighter pradikats. Both are steep, rocky hills of grey slate, with one parcel of rare grey-green diabas slate in the Rausch. In the last few years, Hanno’s daughter Dorothee has been increasingly taking over the winemaking duties. She defintiely has the magic touch! These Saarburger wines exhibit a subtle “dusty” terroir-driven character when young, along with incredible fineness of detail, gentle textures and excellent aging potential."