2016 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Auslese Riesling Saar (Previously $90)

SKU #1322660 95 points James Suckling

 The white tea and delicate exotic fruit aromas on the nose could easily make you think this is a lightweight, but on the palate it is extremely powerful and rather lush so there's no doubt that this belongs in the big league. The finish is an exotic fruit supernova. Yes, you can drink it this evening, but this has many decades of aging potential!

94 points Wine Spectator

 Concentrated and intense, with a delicious showing of Bosc pear, mango and blood orange notes that zip across the palate. Features wonderful intensity of flavor yet remains balanced and lively, with a streak of mineral accenting the very long finish. (AZ)  (3/2018)

91 points Vinous

 This sole Auslese bottling of the present Zilliken collection is dominated by white peach, quince, grapefruit and lime. Like several of its siblings, it is marked by both animatingly bright citricity and creaminess of texture -- though here, at least in the wine’s youthful state, the two are a bit at odds with each other. Glycerol conveys an oily feel here as well, and the citrus elements turn zesty and candied in the finish, yet all without sacrificing primary juiciness. 'We had as good as no botrytis,' noted Zilliken. 'We’re talking here principally about perfectly healthy grapes that were lightly desiccated' A half-bottle with a bit left in it that had been open for two months came amazingly close in quality to freshly opened one. 'I’ve been following this open bottle with some surprise myself,' observed Zilliken, adding by way of explanation that there hasn’t been any point in serving the rest of it since the wine was immediately sold out and he doesn’t want to frustrate his clientele. (DS)  (3/2018)

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- While the rest of the world has often misappropriated the name--Welchriesling, Riesling Italico, Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are all names applied to varieties that are NOT Riesling--this exceptional German varietal has managed to maintain its identity. Perhaps its biggest claims to fame are its intoxicating perfume, often described as having honeyed stone fruit, herb, apple and citrus notes, and its incredible longevity - the wines lasting for decades. Aged Rieslings often take on a distinctive and alluring Petrol-like aroma. Within Germany, the grape seems to do best in the warming slate soils of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Other German regions that turn out great Rieslings include Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe. German Rieslings are made in a range of ripeness levels. The top wines are assigned Prädikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese. Riesling has also achieved acclaim in France's Alsace, the only region in that country where the grape is officially permitted. Alsatian Rieslings are typically dry and wonderfully aromatic. Austrian Riesling is also steadily gaining praise and fine Riesling is also produced in Italy's Alto-Adige and Friuli, in Slovenia and much of Central and Eastern Europe. In the New World its stronghold is Australia, where it does best in the Eden and Clare Valleys. It is also planted in smaller amounts in New Zealand. In the US, winemakers are eschewing the syrupy sweet versions of the 1970s and 1980s, instead making elegant and balanced wines in both California and Washington State.


- Thanks to a recent string of excellent vintages and to the reemergence of Germany onto the international wine writing scene, this is a country that's hot, hot, hot! Germany is divided into 13 wine Region and produces a very wide variety of wine styles, from incredibly high-acid, dry wines to some of the sweetest, most unctuous concoctions on the planet and even a few surprisingly hearty reds. Most of the highest-quality wines are grown on steep banks along the rivers in these Region. Small vineyards are still mostly hand tended and picked, due to the difficult nature of mechanization on these slopes. White wine production accounts for nearly 80% of the total with Riesling being the most important varietal, though Muller-Thurgau is still more widely planted.