A “simple” non-Auction Spätlese is one of the highlights of our extensive 2006 Retrospective. Markus Molitor provides some background to his success.
Mosel Riesling blossoms as it matures. Every year, we dedicate the Spring Issue of Mosel Fine Wines to the beauty of mature Mosel. This includes the largest "10-Years-After" Riesling retrospective made anywhere in the world.
The retrospective of the 2006 vintage, just published in Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 30 (Mar 2016), underlines the incredible botrytis elegance of its dessert wines. At their best, they are some of the finest ever in the Mosel. From all we understand from the older makers, 2006 is a remake of the mythical 1949 vintage.
That a “simple” 2006er Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese (Golden Capsule) by Weingut Markus Molitor emerged as one of the highlights of the vintage is one of the remarkable outcomes of our tasting.
Weingut Markus Molitor is one of the largest and most representative Estates in the Mosel today: Over 70 ha of vineyards, stunningly beautiful reception rooms and a portfolio of sites which reads like the who’s who of Grand Cru between Erden to Bernkastel (including in the coveted Bernkasteler Doktor as of 2016) and the Southern Saar (in the Saarburger Rausch and Ockfener Bockstein as well as, in the future, in the Ockfener Geisberg).
Yet, 30 years ago, there was nothing. Markus Molitor essentially started from scratch with a few hectares in the early 1980s. Then, piece by piece, he extended his Estate and gradually made it into the leading Estate it is today.
One of key to this incredible success story lies in Markus Molitor himself. Markus is a passionate perfectionist with his heart sold to his vineyards and wines. Despite its not-insignificant size, the Estate has managed to retain all the positive attributes (precision, quality, flexibility) of a small-sized Estate.
Another factor behind the Estate's success is its ruthlessly late harvesting. Add to this a prolonged aging on the lees (much of the wines are only bottled in September after the vintage) and an almost manic attention to detail and you start to understand why this Estate is able to excel in all stylistic directions. A look at our annual Estate reviews will show you that Markus Molitor is capable of producing some of the best dry, off-dry AND fruity-styled wines in the region. In particular, his dessert wines, such as his 2010er Zeltinger Sonnenuhr BA *, can be legendary. Even his Sekt can be among the best in the country!
There is only one thing wine lovers need to be aware of before immersing themselves into the Molitor world: The style of the wines is not written on the label but indicated by the color of the capsule (white stands for dry, green for off-dry and golden for fruity / sweet).
While Weingut Markus Molitor tends vineyards throughout the Mosel, he is most associated with the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr: “I have indeed many top vineyards now, including in Ürzig, Graach, Wehlen, etc. But the sheer size of my holdings in the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr allows me to make extra selections there. This explains probably why I am associated with this vineyard more than with any other. But also in my heart, I have a passion for this terroir: The slightly rougher and steeper side of the vineyard makes its wines convey a finesse which can be second to none.”
2006 was his smallest vintage so far, as Markus recalled: “After a spell of rain at the end of September, botrytis spread like wildfire and yields dwindled. It was my smallest to date with yields of 16 hl/ha. But the warm and dry weather made for perfect botrytis and I was able to harvest no less than 10 TBAs and a huge number of high level Auslese in this truly remarkable vintage.”
The 2006er Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spätlese (Golden Capsule) was one of the few selections of clean grapes at the Estate, even if the wine also saw a little bit of botrytis: “100% botrytis free was simply impossible in 2006,” Markus added with a smile, no doubt thinking back at the challenges to selection clean fruit in that the vintage!
As all Spätlese in 2006, also this Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spätlese is really an Auslese in disguise. But its suave elegance, its complex precision and the persistence of its finish are simply breathtaking and essentially unmatched in 2006.
As so often in the Mosel, great wine does often not cost much. This world-class effort worthy of any cellar was to be had for comparatively little money when it was released in 2007.
We believe you get the message by now: Buy more Mosel from top growers such as Markus Molitor and let it mature!
A comprehensive review of the gorgeous 2006er Markus Molitor wines
was published in Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 30 (Mar 2016).
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Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese (Golden Capsule)
Golden yellow in color, this offers a show-stopping nose of bakery products, marzipan, baked pineapple, grapefruit and smoky herbs. The wine is rich and smooth on the palate, where a more honeyed side comes through. However, it never becomes weighty. Gorgeous flavors of candied lemon and grapefruit lift up the aromatic profile in the finish and mingle beautifully with honey, marzipan and pink grapefruit in the after taste. The zesty acidity makes the wine already very enjoyable now, but this Auslese in all but name has a splendid future ahead. What a beautiful success! Now-2046
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.