Hanno Zilliken's (Auction) Cellar Treasures:

Posted by CrushWine

1993 & 1994 Saarburger Rausch Spatlese Auction
Riesling STEAL from the Master of the Saar

We were wondering if we should apologize for the rapid pace of this week's offers - but then we took another look at the quality of the juice and realized that no, this offer couldn't wait for next week, or even for tomorrow's Friday Steal. The rarity / value quotient is just too serious and we didn't want to wait a day and miss out.

So today we're thrilled to offer 1993 and 1994 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Spätlese Auction, for under $50 a bottle!

This parcel of rare Auction Spätlesen comes direct from the estate. In fact, as I write this email the bottles remain where they’ve been for the last 15 or so years – in Hanno Zilliken’s cellar in the Saar. (The wine will be delivered direct to us this fall via temperature-controlled container.)

As I recently wrote about a 2006 Zilliken Auction we offered a few weeks ago (which sold out in record time ), all Spätlesen are NOT created equal and an “Auction” wine is an animal so thoroughly different from the regular bottling that it has, for all intents and purposes, no relationship whatsoever to its "lesser" siblings. Auction wines are made from the choicest selection of berries that are usually picked at later dates and fermented in a single 1000-liter barrel. The wines are riskier to make but also have an intensity that the "regular" bottlings simply do not.

The few Zilliken Auction bottlings I’ve been lucky enough to experience have been nothing short of electric. They combine Zilliken’s trademark lightness and mineral core with an intensity of fruit that is staining and ultra vivid. See below for more on the German Auction bottlings.

If you’ve never had an Auction wine, this is your chance, especially since we've never seen pricing this sharp for back-vintage, ex-cellar treasures - and not only back-vintage, but two of the best vintages from the 1990s.

Which to buy? 1994 is usually regarded as the greater of the two vintages in the Mosel and Zilliken’s Auction in 1994 is an obvious star.  But as we’ve written before, Hanno simply nailed it in 1993 and we believe (as does Hanno’s importer, Rudi Wiest) that the '93s represent his best collection since the glorious 1983ers.

That said, at only $49.98 per bottle it’s not exactly imperative to choose – you can grab one of each for under $100. This is one of those opportunities for the wine scholar in all of us to indulge. Gathering verticals of a specific wine has been the obsession of collectors since…well…collecting began.

If quantities were greater we would certainly have created a 1993 / 1994 6-pack (or even 12-pack), but quantities are limited. If you do covet putting a parcel of these in the cellar, act quickly and give us the maximum number of bottles you'd be interested in - this will be first come, first served.

ALL ORDERS ARE SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION! Please give us your most ambitious order, and we’ll do our best to allocate. To order, call the store at (212) 980-9463 or click below.

What a Difference an Auction Makes

German Auction Bottlings

Don't underestimate the significance of the Auction sticker. Can you say "Versteigerung?"

The Grosser Ring has held, for the better part of the last century, a yearly Auction to highlight the finest and rarest bottlings of Germany's greatest growers. These are the monuments of German winemaking.

The Grosser Ring was founded by the mayor of Trier in 1908. The group holds various tastings and events throughout Germany and abroad, but the most important event, without a doubt, is the Grosser Ring Auction held every fall in the beautiful Roman city of Trier.

The participants of the Auction are local members of the prestigious VDP, a group containing many of Germany's finest winemakers. The intention of the Grosser Ring Auction has always been for growers to display their best and rarest bottles, wines that have been selected exclusively for the event. Given the prestige that a strong showing at the Auction brings and the relatively small amounts of wine that need to be produced, the growers regularly spare no expense for these wines to craft the most intense bottlings possible.

The audience is allowed to taste the wines first and then, to bid on them. While the higher Prädikat wines, especially BAs and TBAs, often fetch just ludicrous, jaw-dropping prices, the Auction also offers opportunities to snag Spätlesen of such pedigree that they not only transcend their category, but that are flat out transcendent.

The Grosser Ring auction for the 2006 vintage was held on September 21, 2007. The Auction offered the perfect venue for growers to show off a vintage that was both an absolute roller coaster in terms of rain and botrytis and also one that many growers considered of the best of their lifetimes. The extreme weather conditions required a level of selection and spare-no-expense attitude that was perfectly suited to the Grosser Ring format.