Gessinger Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese is a late harvest wine produced from grapes picked around 7 days after regular harvest time. The wine is rich, intense, full flavored. Pear, honeysuckle, apple and great acidity that make it a balanced and elegant wine.
- Wine Enthusiast (April 2021), 92 pts
Let's have a quick recall of German Riesling labeling. There are four main tiers of sweetness that I usually stick too. There are others, but I find these four to be the most enjoyable: The Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, & of course, the famed Trockenbeerenauslese.
Today, we are talking about a semi-sweet to sweet which is the Spatlese from the Gessinger family estate. It comes from a fully ripe grape and is the lightest of the late harvest Rieslings. These wines drink very young or within a few years of age. In this case, the wine is on the sweet side, and I have to admit I am not one that usually reaches for the sweeter wines. This one, however, is nearly impossible to put down after trying.
The majority of Rieslings worth mentioning are grown along the Mosel river. The bank of the Mosel is made up of different types of blue or red slate. The soil type we are dealing with today is the best of the best, Devonian slate. This very porous slate combined with the clay soil give the wines grown in the region a fine mineral taste as well as excellent balance.
The Gessinger family moved from Italy to the Mosel region of Zelting in the 1500's. In 1680 their winery was founded and in 1820 they became one of the first family owned vineyards in the middle Mosel. In 1899, they joined an exclusive group of winery owners dedicated to the Mosel called, "The Bernkastel Ring". They have been members of this elite group for over 100 years. The Ring is composed of the finest producers in Germany which sell to connoisseurs all over the world. Because of the Ring's reputation, for years Gessinger's wines were only sold at their September auction. This made it impossible for anyone outside of the "click" to get a hold of these top Rieslings.
I spent a week in Bernkastel, a small hamlet in the middle Mosel, a true story book town. Each morning looking out over the town, I would almost expect to see medieval peasants totting their grapes down from the river banks. On my final day, I had a chance to catch up with the Gessinger family. We tasted their fabulous wines in a small underground tavern. Even with the smoke spilling out of the flu from the chimney, I was still able to smell the aroma of apricot, pear, and some granny apples rising from the glass. The wine is well balanced, rich, flavored and intense. It has good acidity to help balance out the late harvest grapes. Elegant and food friendly.
This is a wine I would use to start a meal off and it works just as well to finish one up. It will drink well for the next few years... no rush in consuming this one.
With only 2000 cases produced total, this includes their Spatlese and Auslese, there is not much to go around!