Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese Feinherb ‘Uralte Reben’, Selbach-Oster
“Ur Alte” Reben means extremely old. In this case, 80-100 year old ungrafted vines coming from Sonnenuhr. Zeltinger Sonnenuhr is very steep, and is comprised of large chunks of blue Devonian slate, with a shallow subsoil of decomposed slate on top of bedrock. The wine is traditionally done, fermented spontaneously in large Fuder, settling by gravity, and bottled after multiple rackings.
“Ur-alt” means extremely old; in this case most vines over 80 and many over 100. Ungrafted goes without saying. You know, when I hear people say that dry Rieslings were “traditional” or even that they prevailed most of the time back in the day, I think the young listener has no way of knowing that it’s wines like this being talked about. Those halcyon days of mostly dry Riesling had zero to do with the modern cellar style: stainless steel, ice-cold fermentation, whole-cluster pressing, early bottling. Those old wines were wines like this, fermented in cask after settling by gravity as best they could (before the days of separators, centrifuges and micropore filters), all of them spontis, bottled after multiple rackings and often 2-3 years after the vintage. They were naturally softer than today’s wines, and even THEN it was widely known the best casks were those that weren’t entirely dry. This ’15 was too early to judge, as it was just finished fermentation. But one dare not dawdle…. — Terry Theise
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