A few weeks ago, I saw a bottle of a 1999 Riesling at a local wine store in Munich. I’ve heard a lot of great things about aged Riesling but I actually never tried any. Because I was unfamiliar with the wines from Schloss Saarstein I asked my friend Oliver, a true Riesling expert, whether he can recommend the wine or not. Oliver told me that the wine should be great therefore I decided to buy the wine. Let me tell you right away: the 1999 Schloss Saarstein Serriger Riesling Auslese was one of the very best white wines that I’ve tasted so far.
Schloss Saarstein is located in Serrig an der Saar, a small town in Germany’s Saar Valley. The Saar raises in the Vosges Mountains and flows into the Moselle near Trier. Schloss Saarstein is best known for its Riesling. The styles range from simple Kabinett to more sophisticated Beerenauslese. Regularly Schloss Saarstein Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese fetch top prices at VDP-auctions. The winery distinguishes between three levels of quality. Saarstein is their most basic line. Wines labeled Schloss Saarstein are of higher quality. Only Schloss Saarstein’s finest wines are classified as Serriger Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling “VDP” Grosse Lage.
The three valleys of Moselle, Saar and Ruwer form Germany’s most prestigious wine region for quality wines which until 2007 was known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer QbA. On 1 August 2007 the region was renamed to Mosel QbA. The new name is considered more consumer friendly. However in my opinion the new name does not indicate anymore that the wine regions includes all three river valleys and not just the Mosel valley. Many very good Riesling are produced along the Saar and Ruwer therefore the old name was more precise. If Mosel QbA is more consumer friendly then Ruwer and Saar should get their own QbA wine region. Saar QbA and Ruwer Qba. Do you like the old name or the new one better? Why?
Tasting Notes: 1999 Serriger Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling Auselse
Alright let’s get back to the 1999 Schloss Saarsteiner Serriger Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling Auselse Mosel-Saar-Ruwer QbA. Why do German wine names always have to be so long?
According to various sources the wine has an aging potential of more than 40 years. Serriger Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling Auselse is produced with 100% Riesling grapes. Unfortunatly I found no technical sheet on the winery’s website so I cannot provide you with any other information.
Prior to drinking the wine was decanted for roughly 20 minutes. The cork smelled bad and I was worried that the wine might be spoiled. Thankfully it was not!
In the glass, Serriger Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling Auselse had an incredible golden-amber color. The label listed alcohol by volume was 9%.
The nose, was a true sensation! Right after pouring the first glass there was just one Aroma: Petrol. Aged quality Riesling often tend to smell like petrol. A few minutes later exotic fruit joined the petrol smell and after roughly 15 minutes the petrol aroma was completely gone. Passion fruit and pine apple were now most dominant.
On the palate, there were notes of mature fruit (especially red apple and pine apple), candid oranges and honey. Serriger Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling Auselse was quite sweet and well-balanced. Even after 14 years there was still some refreshing acidity. The wine was extremely smooth and very vivid. The never-ending finish was truly unforgettable.
This is one of the very best Riesling that I have tasted so far which is underlined by my 5 star rating for this wine. I strongly encourage you to give the 1999 Schloss Saarstein Serriger Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling Auselse a try. Price-wise this wine seems to vary lot. I bought a bottle in Munich for under 12€ but there are online shops selling it for 40€+.
What is your opinion on aged Riesling? What was the oldest white wine that you have tasted so far?