2011 Zilliken Saarburg Riesling trocken


John Gilman: 91/100
Wine Advocate: 90/100
Mosel Fine Wines: 90/100

“Superb juice and a great, great value!”



Professional reviews:

John Gilman (View from the Cellar): “The 2011 Saarburger Riesling Trocken has all been bottled under natural cork this year, so this beautiful wine will make an ideal addition to the cellar for long-term keeping. The wine was not chapitalized, and at eleven percent, it is a touch lower in alcohol than the above and is a notable step up in complexity and purity. The superb bouquet offers up scents of lemon, a gentle touch of wild yeasts, spring flowers, pink grapefruit, beautiful slate tones, a gentle dollop of petrol and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is medium-full, crisp and shows great nervosity, with a lovely core of fruit, superb filigree and a very long, focused and snappy finish. Superb juice and a great, great value! 2014-2035+.” 91+/100 pts

Wine Advocate (David Schildknecht): “The 11% alcohol Zilliken 2011 Saarburger Riesling trocken displays a maritime saline and alkaline savor from nose to finish, with saliva-stimulating and mouthwatering implications. Crushed stone and smoke, flowers and herbs, lemon and lime rinds, juicy apple and cherry with prominence of their pips and pits, all point toward a family resemblance to the corresponding generic ‘entry-level’ bottling, not to mention to their common vineyard of origin, Rausch. The (for lack of any better covering term) mineral elements here serve for enhanced intrigue, leading to a slightly austere but sustained and interactive finish. I suspect this will remain very viable through at least 2020.

Hanno and Dorothee Zilliken could truly glory in a 2011 harvest whose lowest must eight 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 have 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.'” 90/100 pts

Mosel Fine Wines (David Rayer & Jean Fisch): “Scents of peach, kernel, cassis, bergamot, citrus and flowers come out of the glass of this spicy and fresh dry wine. The wine is as light as water on the palate (it only shows 11% of alcohol) yet delivers this lightness with great complexity. The finish is racy, zesty and pure, with a very attractive touch of dried herbs and salt coming through. This is a well-made dry wine full of freshness and liveliness.” 90/100 pts

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