Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, Mosel, with Johannes Selbach – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Picture: Wine Tasting at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, Mosel, with Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach: Selbach-Oster – Mosel with Heart and Soul. Our wines are timeless, just like our vineyards. Our wines are made by individualists for individualists, produced by progressive traditionalists for people who are passionate about wine, and who understand and cherish the value of heritage.

Johannes Selbach took us on a winery tour and led an impressive tasting of his wines.

Picture: Arriving at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen

Weingut Johannes Selbach

The ancestors of the Selbach family have been cultivating Riesling since 1600. The Selbach family originated from the village "Ürzig" and the Oster family comes from the small village of "Zeltingen" on the opposite side of the river. Today, Johannes Selbach and his wife Barbara, with the increasing help of son Sebastian and daughter Hannah, manage their vineyards and winery with passion and respect for the estate’s traditions.

The great-grandfather of Johannes owned a Mosel steamship and shipped his wines in oak barrels down the Mosel and the Rhine to the North Sea ports. These barrels again were made by Matthias Oster, a cooper and the great-grandfather on the paternal side of the family. Therefore, the winery developed in three fields, on one side as a top estate in the region and simultaneously on the other side as a négociant and brokerage firm, making wines from grapes and juice bought from other producers and consolidating the production of smaller producers, offering a broad and comprehensive range of fine German wines.

Picture: Johannes and Barbara Selbach and Annette Schiller in New York at the 2015 Rieslingfeier, see: The 11 Winemakers: Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Johannes Selbach in New York City at the 2013 Riesling and Co Tasting, see: Schiller’s Favorites at the 2013 Riesling and Co Tasting in New York City, USA

Hence, there are three companies under one roof:

First, Weingut Selbach-Oster: The Selbach-Oster estate continues the long family tradition producing top quality Riesling.

Vineyard area: 21 hectares
Annual production: 13,300 cases
Vineyard holdings: Zeltingen - Himmelreich, Schlossberg, Sonnenuhr (all blue Devonian slate); Wehlen - Sonnenuhr (blue Devonian slate); Graach - Himmelreich, Domprobst (both blue Devonian slate with a layer of loam underneath); Bernkastel - Badstube (blue Devonian slate)

Second: Weinkellerei J. & H. Selbach (Négociant Firm): J. & H. Selbach Weinkellerei, a négociant firm, incorporated in 1920, has always been devoted to supplying a broader range of fine, high quality Riesling wines and excellent service. Longterm partnerships are the basis for J. & H. Selbach's grapes, juice and wine purchases, ensuring consistency and quality for these wines.

Third, Weinkommission J. & H. Selbach (Brokerage Agency Firm): As brokers on all major German auctions, J. & H. Selbach provides a full service from wine evaluation to buying, consolidating and shipping top wines from Germany's leading estates.

Pictures: Cellar Tour with Johannes Selbach

Our Precious Land

Johannes Selbach: One of Germany’s most spectacular wine growing areas is undoubtedly the Mosel valley. The river meanders in narrow bows through a landscape where Celts and Romans already grew wine 2000 years ago. We live and work in this, the oldest wine region of Germany and in the world's largest area of extremely steep vineyard land.

The lay of the land creates a unique macro climate which, together with primeval slate soils, creates wines that are one-of-a-kind. The exceptional Rieslings produced under these circumstances offer elegance, saltiness and a cool minerality, and rank among the greatest white wines in the world.

The Beauty and the Beast

Johannes Selbach: The Mosel is famous for extremes and contradictions. On one hand we have a mild, almost Mediterranean climate while on the other hand we have extremely steep slopes - up to a 60% angle - and rocky, meager soil.

These contrasts make for our unique terroir, and lay the foundation for the special charm and finesse of our wines.

The mostly south-facing, steep slopes allow the sun to shine directly onto the vines. The river both reflects sunlight and stores warmth, as do the slate stones, which also retain heat and release it onto the vines at night.

The forest above the vineyards provides shelter against cold winds. These conditions permit a long, gentle growing season and a markedly late harvest, which gives complex fruit flavors, light body yet also with abundance and seemingly endless nuance - all with very little alcohol!

The rocky, sparse slate soil on the steep slopes forces the Riesling vines to sink roots deeply into the ground and into the solid bedrock to find water and minerals. It is exactly this "minerality" that marks our Mosel wines with flavors that cannot ever be imitated elsewhere.

Our focus on quality starts with low yields and meticulous care in each detail of working the vines, entailing an enormous amount of hard physical work – particularly in our steep slopes. This is especially true during harvest when we pick the grapes by hand in multiple passes in our steep slopes.

The fermentation, mostly with wild, indigenous yeast, takes place in our cold cellars which help preserve the fine, multifaceted aromas and the crispness of the juice. Half of our wines mature in big, old oak barrels (“Fuder”) that do not add any woody flavor to the wine, but let it breathe and mature. Depending on what Nature gives us, we produce Riesling wines that range from completely dry to the sweetness of dessert wines, from elegant and delicate to rich and complex. No matter what the degrees of dryness or of sweetness, all of our wines exhibit pristine minerality with relatively little alcohol – the paradigm of great Mosel Riesling.

Pictures: Tasting with Johannes Selbach

The Wines we Tasted

“Selbach aims for a typical modern Mosel style, which reflects the minerality of the rocky Devonian slate soils, as well as the elegance and finesse of the Riesling fruit in clear, crisp, elegant, low-alcohol, yet full-flavored handcrafted wines,” says Stephan Reinhardt, in The Finest Wines of Germany.

Johannes Selbach: Selbach-Oster Rieslings are not “zeitgeisty” wines that change according to the whims of fashion. Nor are they “made” according to recipe. Though they are deeply delicious, they do not seek to "seduce" with short-term exotic aromas from specially cultured yeasts, aromatic enzymes or ice-cold fermentations. They are true characters, wines with structure, wines that display their heritage, rooted deep into the slate rock like our old vines – many of which are still on their own vinifera roots.

Shaped by their unique terroir, our wines come with their own original characteristics, which we strive to preserve, and not to alter. They will age beautifully for many years and will gain complexity with age. They present a wide variety of aromas, depth of flavor and true complexity while also showing clarity and minerality.

Peach, apricot, apple, as well as citrus fruit and herbs are typical features of the aroma of our young and dry wines. Our delicately and subtley sweet wines show nuances of quince and tropical fruit, and the ripest of them will display honeyed and raisined flavors, often backed by a touch of salty minerality, and always balanced by crunchy acidity.

These wines are long lived and develop additional complexity through secondary and tertiary aromas that enrich the taste spectrum.

2013 Weißburgunder Qualitätswein trocken

2012 Zeltinger Riesling Kabinett trocken
2012 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese trocken

2013 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken
2011 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese feinherb „Alte Reben"

2013 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese feinherb „Ur-Alte Reben"
2013 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

2011 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett
2013 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese trocken
2013 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese *

2013 Anrecht Riesling
2013 Schmitt Riesling
2012 Rotlay Riesling

The hallmark of the estate are 3 old parcels that Weingut 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) are all old parcels high on their respective slopes and post trained on their original rootstock. 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 has the ability to reflect a complete terroir of both place and moment. Because his approach in winemaking is minimal, Johannes Selbach will allow his wines to ferment naturally, as slow or as complete as manifest, resulting in dry wines in some vintages and fruity in others.

2013 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling TBA

Johannes Selbach at the Finger Lakes

Recently, Johannes Selbach teamed up with Paul Hobbs, a California-based renowned wine maker to establish a winery on a 27 hectare-estate on the southern tip of Lake Seneca in the Finger Lakes AVA in New York State.

For more, see: Johannes Selbach, Weingut Selbach-Oster, teams up with Paul Hobbs to make Riesling in the Finger Lakes Region in New York State, USA/Germany


Thank you Johannes for a memorable tasting.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Coming-up: Wine & Art Tour to Saale-Unstrut - Saxony - Franken - Württemberg: Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (June 11 - June 20, 2015)

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Kerstin Pawis – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Kloster Pforta: Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Managing Director Christian Kloss – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Winzerhof Gussek in the Saale Unstrut Region: Cellar Tour, Vineyard Tour and Tasting with Owner and Winemaker André Gussek – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Tour and Tasting at the Historic Weingut Juliusspital in Würzburg, Franken – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

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Kiedrich: Visit of the Basilica of Saint Valentine and of Weingut Robert Weil - Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau: Tour and Wine Tasting - Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wining in the Steinberg Vineyard – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Visit: Winzerhof Thörle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Kühling-Gillot in Bodenheim: Kühling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier Wines – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Vineyard Walk, Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Künstler – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

One of the Bio-dynamic Stars in Germany: Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn in Östrich, Winkel – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

In the Mittelrhein Valley, an UNESCO World Heritage Region – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Clemens Busch – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

schiller-wine: Related Postings (Weingut Selbach-Oster)

Johannes Selbach, Weingut Selbach-Oster, teams up with Paul Hobbs to make Riesling in the Finger Lakes Region in New York State, USA/Germany

The 11 Winemakers: Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA

Schiller’s Favorites at the 2013 Riesling and Co Tasting in New York City, USA

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