Monday, July 14, 2008


an exceptional bottle of riesling, shared with Cynthia Sexton at the Tribeca Grill...

1994 Saarburger Rausch Kabinett, Zilliken

this one has resolved all of its baby fat, and has become sleek and well-concentrated, and has grown rather eloquent with age. The word ‘Rausch’ means intoxication, by the way, and it even made a guest appearance in American English during psychedelic days, modified as ‘rush,’ the onset of marijuana-induced euphoria...

almost no typical old-riesling aromas, wonderfully fresh fruit, abundant acid levelling off the residual sugar, beautifully floral aromatix, orange blossom and lemon peel, transparently light on the palate with stone fruit flavours, lovely minerality. The sliced seared tuna salad placed no great demands on this one. By no means an old wine, and rather inexpensive by NYC winelist standards, mid forties, I seem to remember...

Wines from this estate can age rather well. On a visit with Hanno Zilliken in the mid-nineties, I declined the invitation to taste something with seventeen syllables in the title, and instead asked for an older Spätlese. He returned from the cellar with a bottle of the 1959 Saarburger Rausch Spätlese, which showed no sign of being thirty-five... How old is that in human years?

Zilliken Act II was played several days later to a select audience, when friend and colleague Aaron Sing Fox took me for lunch to Tocqueville, a favourite on 15th at 5th.

2001 Ockfener Bockstein Kabinett, Zilliken

A different sort of wine, at a different stage of evolution: plenty of fat left on this baby, pretty cinammon spice at the edges of this greenapple contraption. Although I imagine that there’s a good deal of residual sugar here, the acids are adequate to bring it in to balance—what took a while to come out was the sense of minerality that one expects... a very satisfying bottle.

nb: One must lament the assimilation of Saar and Ruwer into Theme-Park Mosel-Land... (although, even better is to listen to Egon Müller IV or Marcel Tyrell lament it...)


Lyle Fass said...

I always find the Bockstein wines uninspring at Zilliken. Still have Raush Kabinett '01 I'll be holding onto for many years.

james oliver wright said...

last I checked, the 2001 vintage was a good excuse to drink nearly anything from anybody decent in the