From: Mosel, Germany
Taste & Critical Acclaim
93 points Wine & Spirits
Halbtrocken, or “half-dry,” is often more confusing than helpful as a designation, but it fits this wine perfectly: On one hand, it’s as juicy as a fresh-picked apple, with a plump button-mushroom earthiness underneath; on the other, it’s lean and driving, with electric acidity and salty minerality. The combination is palate-whetting and powerful enough to stand up to a creamy mushroom fricassee. (2/2021)
92 points John Gilman
The Kabinett Halbtrocken bottling from the Zeltinger Himmelreich from Johannes Selbach is a lovely wine, offering up a fine and youthful bouquet of apple, a touch of gooseberry, a hint of honeycomb, slate and a topnote of lime and iris blossoms. On the palate the wine is bright, medium-full and minerally in profile, with a lovely core, a fine girdle of acidity and a long, dry and complex finish. This comes in at 11.5 percent octane in 2019 and is really lovely. It is sealed under screwcap. (Drink between 2020-2040) (8/2020)
92 points James Suckling
Where are the salads? Where is the pasta? Brimming with red apples, this is crisp and extremely animating with a pretty dry balance, the harmonious finish totally food-friendly. Drink now. Screw cap. (8/2020)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2019 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken is clear yet intense and bright on the coolish, precise and elegant nose. Round, lush and piquant on the palate, this is a dense and textured Kabinett with good concentration and a crystalline mineral structure that leads to stimulating acidity. Still baby-young and reductive but a gorgeous wine. 11.5% alcohol. Tasted at the domain in September 2020. (SR) (10/2020)
90pts Mosel Fine Wines: "AP: 07 20. The 2019er Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken was harvested at 92° Oechsle on 40-year-old vines located mid-slope and was fermented down in stainless steel to off-dry levels of residual sugar (14 g/l). It proves still rather backward and reduced at first and only gradually reveals some aromatic and fresh scents of pineapple, green apple, lime, grapefruit, pear, and smoke. The wine has superb presence and freshness on the juicy-zesty palate and leaves an almost dry-tasting feel in the clean finish. The after-taste is zesty, smoky, and animating. This light, almost dry-tasting Riesling is simply a joy to drink. Now-2026." (08/2020)
Pairing: Riesling’s are famously versatile with a ton of dishes, the following examples may seem rambling, but all work wonderfully well, and this is just to name a few. Prosciutto and arugula salads, pork chops and applesauce, roast goose, fresh salads with seasonal herbs and fresh olive oil, fresh cheeses, coq au Riesling, fried chicken, Japanese sukiyaki, vegetable tempura, oxtail soup, Chinese takeout, Hawaiian food like kalua pig and cabbage, pork or fish laulau, huli huli chicken, garlic shrimp, sauerkraut & sausages, hot dogs and mustard, Thai or Indian curries (check out this recipe for Khao Soi Gai from Noree Pla, adapted by Daniela Galarza), Vietnamese cuisine, Thai cuisine… the list goes on and on. Basically, the only things I’d avoid with this wine are heavy tomato dishes, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, and rare, undressed steaks. Other than that, I think you’d be happy with most anything. Seriously. Give a crunchy peanut butter, banana & honey toast a try. It’s a delicious pairing.
“Selbach-Oster might be one of the hottest domains along the Mosel, if not in all Germany.” – Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate.
Today, Johannes Selbach and his wife Barbara, with the help of son Sebastian, manage their vineyards and winery with passion and respect for the estate’s long held traditions. A substantial portion their 24 hectares of vines are on their original rootstocks, in Zeltinger, Schlossberg, and Sonnenuhr; Wehlener Sonnenuhr; and, Graacher and Bernkasteler Graben. These vineyards of weathered Devonian slate are on a steep, contiguous slope facing south-south west and represent some of the most prestigious sites in all of the Middle Mosel, in fact 85% of the Selbach’s vines are on steep slopes.
The Selbach family’s heritage in the wine business dates to 1600: Selbach’s ancestors shipped wines down the Mosel in their own ships, the wine carried in oak barrels made by cooper Matthias Oster, the great-grandfather on the paternal side of the family. Thus, the winery developed as both a top estate producing some of the region’s best wine, and also as a négociant and brokerage firm, consolidating the production of smaller growers.
Johannes, like his late father Hans, has continued the use of traditional 1000 L oak fuder in his cellar, bringing in new large casks every few years. Vinification is carried out in a combination of fuder and stainless steel, in a hands-off manner with no fining, and with wild yeasts. The focus is on meticulous work in the vineyard (organic and sustainable farming) with the aim to produce and bring home perfect fruit. In 2016 Christian Vogt, winemaker at Karthauserhof for many years added even more talent to the winery.
The hallmark of the estate is 3 old parcels that Selbach-Oster harvests en-bloc; or, as single pickings, with no selections pulled from the vineyard prior to harvesting. The Rotlay (in the Zeltingen Sonnenuhr, rich in iron ore), the Schmitt (in the Zeltingen Schlossberg), and the Anrecht (in the Zeltingen Himmelreich) count amongst the very best terroir, classified in the highest categories of the 1868 vineyard classification which was started by the French and finished and published by the Prussians.
Typically, Auslese is selected by successive passes through the vineyard—picking fruit for Kabinett and Spätlese first and leaving the healthiest berries on the vine to concentrate. For the en-bloc wines selection of this type is avoided, in order to maintain a holistic flavor profile that contains that of ultra-ripe grapes, optimally ripe, and of lesser-ripe ones which have the ability to reflect a complete terroir of both place and moment.
Because their approach in winemaking is minimal, Johannes and Sebastian will allow wines to ferment naturally, as slow or as complete as manifest, resulting in more dry wines in some vintages and more fruity wines in others.
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