2015 | 2010

Riesling Silberberg
2015 Riesling


Vineyard: Silberberg.
Soil Type: Muschelkalk
Vine Age:
Irrigation: No irrigation
Harvest Date:


The Silverberg is the 'silver mountain' and covers 22.5 hectares in the village of Rorschwihr.
Pierre Gassman, champion of biodynamic cultivation in Alsace, insists on late harvesting and lengthy cellaring after bottling, creating amply sweet yet balanced styles. In-depth knowledge of the family estate (a complex mosaic of limestone and marls) and pursuit of low yields promote precise expression of different terroirs.
This Riesling comes from a selection of vineyards located within the village of Rorschwhir, see the terroir map on the Rolly Gassmann opening page. Harvested at optimum ripeness, Pierre Gassmann considers that the grapes are ripe when the pip has turned orange brown inside the grape.
Harvest is done by hand, as most things at the estate. The philosophy that guides the Rolly Gassmann family is to express the true terroir with little interference with the vines as possible, rigorous selection of grapes, and the most careful handling of both harvest and vinification to produce wines of the highest quality and specificity.
The grapes are taken to the cellar, gently pressed and taken into individual fermentation tanks where no yeast is added, fermentation is done using indigenous yeast. Each vineyard has its own fermentation tank and is vinified separately. Once fermentation is completed and the wine is left to rest and it is bottled within 11 months from harvest. Fermentation can take a few months to complete depending on the circumstances, bottling normally happens just before the next harvest. The bottles are then laid to rest for a couple of years at least for the less complex wines, more elaborate cuvees will be kept aside for many years before being released, as much as 20 years and more.
Tasting the newest releases with Pierre Gassmann is almost as crazy as tasting wines with Markus Molitor in the Mosel. Both guys simply don't stop serving you wines. If you raise the white flag, they misinterpret your sign and then take you to lunch with another sextet of wines, just to return two hours later to start again, with another dozen wines... In case of Gassmann, the reason for the 2015 excess—more than 40 wines, almost all of them Vendanges Tardives or Sélections de Grains Nobles—is pretty old. Referring to Barth's great book "Der Rebbau des Elsass" (1958), Pierre compares the 2015 with the 1540 (!) vintage—with reference to the blossoming of the almond trees! "The almond blossom in 2015 was on the first of January and this was also the case in 1540. Even the ripeness of the grapes was similar," Gassmann says. Gassmann, who started to harvest on September 24 (one day earlier than 2003, but on the same day as in 1611) and finished October 11, calls his 2015s "ageless."
(…)"Wine has to cause emotions, so it needs an exciting bouquet, a good structure and complexity. You can then pair it with many different dishes, no matter from which part of this world. Wines based on not-fully-ripe grapes are short, easy to drink, but difficult to combine with food. Complex wines, however, have always been based on fully ripe grapes of great vintages. They also age much longer than wines from smaller vintages because they are better protected from oxidation. (…) As many readers already know, Rolly Gassmann wines are very rarely dry because Pierre picks his grapes "late, ripe and with brown seeds." The objective is to produce intense, well-structured, mineral wines with a great aging capacity. "You need fully ripe and not just sweet grapes to produce complex and perfectly balanced wines," he says. "You can taste the mineral character of the soil even in highly concentrated sweet wines, if you have the patience to wait... We do our work in the vineyard throughout the year, so we don't need an oenologist. We taste our grapes and when they taste really good, so ripe and perfectly balanced, we pick them. Often enough, we start harvesting when colleagues already pick their Vendanges Tardives..."
During my two tastings at Rolly Gassmann in May this year, I was really surprised to taste terroir differences that were clear and precise, although the wines are highly sweet and concentrated. In fact, I tasted them as wines driven by their special terroirs, rather than the sugar levels—and that's something very rare. I have never tasted better wines from Pierre Gassmann. The 2015s are exceptional, and I'm pretty sure immortal, too. If I had to vote for the Alsace collection of the year, it would be the one from Rolly Gassmann.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Bright golden yellow.
Nose: Fragrant with lemon and some spice.
Palate: It is focused and luscious, full of freshness and envigorating, again lemon and spice show on the palate. With a lingering finish.
Other: This is the ultimate food pairing wine, this Riesling will go well with blue foot or Bresse capon in a rich creamy sauce, slightly spicy Thai dishes or Korma curry. Will age very well and refinte itself overtime.

Chemical Analysis:

Alc (%): 12
RS (g/l):
TA (g/l):