I did another of my osé food & wine matchings yesterday (after Barolo with fried chicken): decided to pair grilled duck breast with a sweet Riesling. (It worked fine). Chose a bottle of this Selbach-Oster Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese 1995. A 16-year-old Riesling – you’d expect this to be fairly senile. No way. This wine is actually too young. The razor-sharp acidity means this will probably be immortal. Whatever impression of evolution you might get from the bouquet (apart from the pineapple and citrus fruit there’s that damp cellar wet forest floor aroma familiar to all Riesling fans), it is swept away by the palate which is as fresh as if this was a 2005.
With all this fruitiness this wine is fairly old-style: it is fairly lean, with no big concentration, surely not the high-octane supercharged sweetness of modern-style Auslese, and that autumnal, mushroomey bouquet is not far from the profile of a Mosel Riesling from the 1970s. The 1990s were a good decade for Selbach-Oster: I have fond memories of another 1995 Auslese, the Zeltinger Himmelreich, perhaps a touch better than this Domprobst with more fruit, that I tasted at the estate with Johannes Selbach last summer.
These Auslese Rieslings are strange animals, really. They are sweet in the sense of residual sugar (this 1995 Riesling likely has more than 100g/l, as much as vintage port), but they don’t taste so sweet at all. I definitely wouldn’t call this a dessert wine (it behaved like a normal dry white with my duck). In a way they escape the clear-cut categorisation that governs the wine world – it’s a similar story to the 2006 Spätlese from Schubert I reviewed recently. Riesling fruit, minerality, and a natural balance. Perhaps it’s why taste so effortless and refreshing on various occasions. I can’t think you can get tired of these Auslesen. But with this 1995 showing so young, my remaining bottles will wait another 10 years in the cellar. See you then!
Source of wine: own purchase.