John Gilman (View from the Cellar): “The 2011 Rausch Grosses Gewächs is an utter masterpiece in the making and a watershed wine at Weingut Geltz-Zilliken. The brilliant bouquet is a youthful mélange of pink grapefruit, lemon, kaleidoscopic slate tones, a gentle touch of wild yeasts, lime zest and a smoky topnote. This wine is hardly shy of fruit elements, but it is a study in the multi-faceted complexity of Rausch slate. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and utterly pure on the attack, with a great core of fruit, ripe, zesty acids, stunning complexity and laser-like focus on the very, very long and utterly seamless, refined finish. A tour de force of dry Saar Riesling! (drink 2018-2045)” 96/100 pts
Wine Advocate (David Schildknecht): While I was critical of their inaugural 2009 effort in this genre – which disappointed in particular when tasted alongside the corresponding halbtrocken -Diabas- bottling – the Zillikens- 2011 Saarburger Rausch Riesling Grosses Gewachs (along with its 2010 counterpart) demonstrates that they are fast learners when it comes to perfecting the VDP-s prestige dry wine genre. I´m especially struck by the fact that this 2011 Grosses Gewachs displays even greater intrigue and clarity – and no less interactive complexity or energy – than its Diabas counterpart. Scents suggestive of moss and underbrush; alkaline and saline ocean breeze; as well as more predictable lemon rind, kirsch, smoke, and crushed stone anticipate an equally fascinating and complex palate. Toasty nut oils and squash seeds along with a glowing expression of cyanic piquancy add to the impressive intensity of a long, mouthwatering finish. Revisited early this year, it performed even more impressively than it had soon after bottling, and I anticipate that it will reward attention through at least 2025. Given a 5,300 liter production, this isn-t a rarity per se, but it´s rare to encounter a Grosses Gewachs that projects a similar sense of buoyancy and infectious primary juiciness.
Hanno and Dorothee Zilliken could truly glory in a 2011 harvest whose lowest must weight material was already legally Auslese, thanks to their having managed, despite that fact, to render many wines of genuine delicacy, and absolutely none in which levels of either alcohol or residual sugar became problematic. Mind you, when it comes to residual sugar, I can-t offhand recall wines from any vintage at this estate that seemed overly-sweet, so uncanny and hence storied has been Hanno Zilliken-s knack for showcasing Riesling-s talent at hiding sugar. But he was quite correct when he predicted, -You will be astonished to discover that we managed to render Saarburg Riesling trocken of just 11% alcohol.- That this is indeed consistent with Auslese-level must weights is simply a matter of math and chemistry, but sadly one seldom witnesses it. -We-ve never bottled so much dry wine,- notes Zilliken of his 2011 collection as a whole, -but the conditions were perfect for it.- Picking began on the 4th of that month, as soon as a hot spell had relented, and concluding October 25. In view of the enormous number of botrytis bottlings associated with this vintage, not to mention with past performances of this estate, their absence from the 2011 Zilliken collection initially seems remarkable. But in light of the mixed 2011 results displayed in this genre even at many of Germany-s top Riesling addresses, Hanno Zilliken-s narrative renders that absence understandable. -We started searching and selecting for botrytis,- he explains, -but the material was far from homogeneous, and we just didn-t find the precision for which we look. Already in August we had wasps, and in early September the berries began pressing against one another in the compact bunches on younger vines. It was a hard decision, but I want to be able to sleep easily at night, and finally I decided: -We-re not accepting one single brown berry; only golden shriveled berries.– Given both the stylistic range of this uniformly successful collection, I found it hard to believe that all of it was bottled already in late March and early April following harvest. Incidentally, although since 2009 – in keeping with VDP strictures and models – Zillikens have bottled numerous wines without the -Rausch- vineyard-designation, all of their non-Ockfen wines, in fact, now officially grow in that site, since the two adjacent Einzellagen – Antoniusbrunnen and Begschlosschen – in which Zilliken had minimal holdings were mustered out two years ago and their acreage subsumed under -Rausch.- (Details on recent changes in labeling at this estate and be found in part in my introduction in Issue 199, and otherwise within the relevant tasting notes comprising this report.)” 93/100 pts