The Geltz Zilliken cellar is the deepest in the Saar Valley, stretching three stories beneath the earth. Yet beyond the impressive dimensions, it also radiates an atmosphere of myth and majesty. The effect is so pronounced that its dimly lit halls have even served as the backdrop for detective films. And, as if by design, the natural conditions — humidity and cool temperatures of around 11 degrees Celsius — lend themselves to slow fermentation in neutral oak barrels.
We see our task as carefully preserving the potential the wine carries within itself. Wine is created on the vines; you cannot add anything in the cellar. The natural gravity of the deep cellar is harnessed to fill the barrels for fermentation, and in fact the wines are vinified from start to finish in those same wooden barrels. Nearby underground springs keep the cellar perpetually cool and extremely moist, ensuring optimal conditions for this approach to winemaking.
THE ZILLIKEN PHILOSOPHY
This focus on oak has actually fallen out of favor among high-end German winegrowers. At Geltz Zilliken it is considered an essential hallmark of an entire winegrowing dynasty.
Here in this cellar the Rieslings are stored for a slow bottle fermentation. This represents another crucial component of the Zilliken philosophy. Our wines are intended to mature. This kind of cellar is naturally also an ideal repository for our 'treasures,' including our library of historic vintages from the estate.
Many wines take decades to reach their peak.
© Video: Jens Butz