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Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken
Fashion, by its very nature is transient. Some styles are trends, here one minute, gone the next, while others are destined to become classics; think Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress or Coco Chanel’s tweed suit. And some things are better left untouched. Known simply as “Ziliken”, Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken’s great Rieslings are one of those things. Timelessly traditional, yet always relevant, Ziliken is the Hemmingway of the wine world.
The Tsar of Saar
Click on Ziliken’s homepage and you’ll see one phrase “To make Riesling wines like ours we need one thing above all. Patience”. That pretty much sums up the Ziliken philosophy, why rush something when you can take your time over it? And they should know; the vineyard has suffered some shocking abuse in the past. Divided in 1925 and destroyed in 1944, the estate could have easily been left to ruin had it not been for Marianne Geltz-Ziliken’s (original owner Ferdinand Getz’s granddaughter). Her determination to restore her birthright was all-consuming and by 1950, she (along with her husband Fritz Ziliken) had purchased a two-story cellar, and had begun replanting the vines. Blessed with the cool climates of the superlative Saar region, Marianne’s vineyards were steep and south-facing, enough to give her wines the edge over competitors. In 1976 Marianne’s son Hanno started as cellarmaster at the estate, taking full ownership in 1981. Under his steerage, Hanno restored the estate to its former size, all 11-hectares of it.
No compromises on quality
Hanno’s daughter, Dorothee is now in control. “We do one thing — Riesling — and we do it right”, says Dorothee, and by golly, is she right. The wines are prime examples of Saar Riesling; mouthwateringly taut, mineral and sophisticated. There are no compromises when it comes to quality; the Zilikens like to do things as they have always been done. Nothing more, nothing less. Their 28 different wines are surprisingly inexpensive; a half case of the excellent 2017 Saarburger Rausch, Riesling, Kabinett can be picked up for around €100, while the superior Spätlese is a little over €150 for 6 bottles. The magnums from this estate are particularly glorious, the 2010 Goldkap, Auslese Riesling is quite remarkable and should offer sound investment potential.
Notable facts and vintages
  • As part of a record breaking sale for Mosel TBAs in September 2015 at the VDP Pradikat wine auction, Trier, Weingut Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken’s 2005 Rausch TBA fetched €2,910 per magnum.
  • Saarburger Rausch Riesling Eiswein is produced when possible, as of Q2 2019 prices averaging €695 (all vintages, per bottle) and has been trending upwards over the past year.
  • From entry level to Grosse Lage, all Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken wines are 100% estate grown and bottled.