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Weingut Selbach-Oster

Weingut Selbach-Oster

The prestigious Weingut Selbach-Oster has been owned by the Selbach family since 1600 and they have been making wine there for over 400 years. The steep slopes produce top quality Riesling, grown in harmony with nature and entailing lots of time-consuming manual labour, but this is the quality and expertise they seek to preserve.

Weingut Selbach-Oster cultivates 21 hectares of vineyards on some of the best, steep slopes of the Mosel valley. One of Germany’s most spectacular wine growing areas is undoubtedly the Mosel valley. The river meanders in narrow bows through the oldest wine region of Germany and the world's largest area of extremely steep vineyards - a landscape where Celts and Romans grew wine 2000 years ago. This topography creates a unique climate which, together with primeval slate soils, produces wines that are unmistakable and unique. These exceptional Rieslings offer elegance, saltiness and a cool minerality, and they rank among the greatest white wines in the world.

The Mosel valley is famous for extremes and contradictions. On the one hand it has a mild, almost Mediterranean climate, while on the other hand it has extremely steep slopes - with gradients of up to a 60% - and rocky, meagre soil. These 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. This environment permits a long, gentle growing season and a markedly late harvest, allowing the development of complex fruit flavours within a light bodied frame that is nonetheless abundant and seemingly endlessly nuanced - all with very little alcohol! The rocky, sparse, slate soils force the Riesling vines to sink their roots deeply into the ground and into the solid bedrock to find water and minerals. It is exactly this minerality that marks Mosel wines with flavours that cannot be imitated elsewhere.

98% of the vineyards are planted with Riesling, 2% with Pinot Blanc. Many of the vines are ungrafted, and some are up to 100 years old. These venerable old vines yield highly aromatic fruit from small, thick-skinned juicy berries. The family's focus on quality starts with low yields and meticulous care in each aspect of working the vines, requiring an enormous amount of hard physical work thanks to the steepness of the vineyard slopes. This is especially true during harvest, when the grapes are picked by hand over the course of multiple passes through the vines.

Fermentation takes place in the estate's cold cellars, mostly using wild, indigenous yeasts which help to preserve the fine, multifaceted aromas and the crispness of the Riesling juice. Half of the wines mature in big, old oak barrels (“Fuder”) that do not add any woody flavour to the wine, but allow it to breathe and mature. Depending upon the nature of the vintage, a spectrum of Riesling is produced, ranging from completely dry to ultra-sweet dessert wines, from elegant and delicate to rich and complex. Irrespective of the sweetness level, all of Weingut Selbach-Oster's wines exhibit the pristine minerality and relatively low alcohol typical of great Mosel Riesling.

Selbach-Oster Rieslings are not zeitgeist-driven wines that change style according to the whims of fashion, nor are they made according to a recipe. They do not seek to seduce with short-term, exotic aromas from specially cultured yeasts, aromatic enzymes or ice-cold fermentations. They are truly distinctive, wines with structure, wines that display their heritage, rooted deeply in the slate like the estate's old ungrafted vines. Shaped by their unique terroir, these wines have their own characteristics, which the Selbachs strive to preserve, and not to alter. They will age beautifully for many years and will gain complexity with age.

Click here to view the wines of J. & H. Selbach Weinkellerei, the négociant and broker arm of the Selbach-Oster estate, founded in 1920. Both belong to the Selbach family and both are managed with the same ethos and dedication to quality.

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