2018 Selbach Oster Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese feinherb Alte Reben (750ml)15 2 0 0
94 points Vinous
From old, ungrafted vines, the 2018 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese feinherb "Alte Reben" is fascinatingly fine, pure and fresh on the coolish, slatey and flinty nose of crushed, wet slate. Silky textured, clear and crystalline on the palate, this is an elegant, crunchy, perfectly round and structured Domprobst with a long, intense, stimulatingly salty, yet always refreshing and coolish finish. A gorgeous wine. Tasted at the domain in September 2020.
I had to visit Johannes Selbach two times this year. He simply had too many wines to show for just one tasting. The noble sweet wines alone got their own tasting session, whereas I focused on the dry and fruity 2018s and 2019s a fews days before.
Johannes Selbach describes both vintages as "very warm, very mature and very good." The 2018s are chubbier because they have less acidity than the piquant 2019s. Thanks to the rainfall in August, which came at the right time—i.e. before the grapes were ripe—Seelbach was able to celebrate "the best botrytis of my life" in September/October. "2018 was the jackpot for us, a picture-book vintage with crystal-clear, crystalline but not fat botrytis wines," which resulted in no less than five Trockenbeerenauslesen, four of which were already filled, while the fifth was still struggling for alcohol percentages. I tasted only three of the total four Beerenauslese selections. Behind each of them are "good quantities, similar to 1976," says Selbach. "In 2018, we pressed BAs again fuder-wise."
In 2019, another very warm vintage, rainfall during autumn caused some selections during the harvest, but also because there was more sunburn damage, which partly had to be cut by hand. "All in all, the 2019 vintage was by far not as easy as 2018. In the end, however, last year's wines were also of excellent quality." Indeed, it is a 2019 TBA from the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr that I awarded 100 points.
Because the demand for mature Rieslings (i.e. at least 12 years old) is increasing, Selbach is trying to build up stocks in order to bring them back onto the market as late releases after 10, 20, or even 25 years of maturation. "These wines will be a big hit once they have lost their baby fat." Problems with premature aging or even oxidation are not really known in the Mosel, not even in hot years like 2003 or 2009. "There are hardly any disappointments with mature Mosel Rieslings," Selbach says. "After years in the bottle, the wines are at least as good as back then, but mostly more complex." SR (10/2020)
Domprobst is a steep slope behind the village of Graach. Medium-size chunks of grey-blue Devonian slate over a thick layer of loam. Comparatively heavy subsoil with excellent underground water supply.
Natural fermentations in a very old traditional cellar, right on the Mosel.
The wine is fermented in old Mosel Fuder barrels, some up to 60 years old.