2017 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spatlese

Year: 2017
Appellation: Saar
Country: Germany
Wine Advocate: 95-96
James Suckling: 95
Mosel Fine Wine Review: 93
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%
Price :
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"The 2017 Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spätlese (AP #6) offers a beautifully fine Riesling bouquet with slate, honey and raisin aromas. What a gorgeous mix of purity, precision and richness! Lush and highly delicate on the palate, this is a gorgeous Spätlese with great elegance and finesse. The wine is intense and tight but long and complex with endless minerals. Tasted as a sample in March 2018. This is already a great wine, but there will be another, more concentrated Spätlese for the auction in September that I haven't tasted so far.

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)

"Beautiful apricot and lemon nose. A stunning balance of power and vibrancy on the palate, which leads to that whiplash finish that's so fresh it could wake the dead. You can measure the aging potential of this in decades, but it's already stunning." (JS)

"The 2017er Saarburger Rausch Spätlese was made from fruit harvested at well above 95° Oechsle. It develops the full intense presence of an Auslese as delicately creamy scents of pear, quince and exotic fruits including pineapple, coconut, star fruit and melon emerge from the glass. An apricot-infused side comes through on the palate which adds to the intensely creamy presence. Some firm acidity then cleanses the palate towards the finish, making for a truly Spätlese feel in the after-taste. This is a beautifully balanced yet intense wine in the making. 2027-2042" (MFR)

Winery Notes:
Tasting Notes:
Bewitching tropical charms in this Riesling, starting with ripe warm apricots, melon, pineapple and cool wet cellar stone minerality. On the palate, luscious peach and mango flavors are kept shrouded in mystery by a fine and balanced acidity before sailing off together into the sunset of a long and sparkling stony finish.

Serving Suggestions:
A Riesling of this class and weight needs to be placed into the cellar for at least 5 years. Beautiful savored in a glass on its own, but will also provide a lovely complement to a bowl of freshly picked strawberries.

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