WebsiteAs early as 1742, or 270 years ago, records show that the ancestors of the Zilliken family were active as wine producers in both Saarburg and Ockfen. The initial status and reputation of the estate’s wines were primarily the work of the Royal Prussian District Forester, Ferdinand Geltz (1851-1925). As an affirmation of his achievements, the estate still carries his name. In 1976 Hanno Zilliken and his father succeeded in restoring the original estate to its former size after it had previously been partitioned through inheritances. Hanno started on in 1976 as cellarmaster and took ownership in 1981. In 2007, his oldest daughter, Dorothee joined the estate after completing her studies at Geisenheim and a two year stint at Schloss Vollrad in the Rheingau.
The estate has one of the most unique cellars anywhere. It is three levels below ground and the deepest cellar in the Saar. It offers an unparalleled environment with near 100% humidity and a constant cool temperature of about 48°F. It is here that the wines are fermented and matured in German oak (neutral) 1,000 liter barrels also known as Fuders. This cool, damp environment provides optimal conditions to produce Rieslings with great aging potential. Quintessential Saar Rieslings! For example, top wines from the great 1983 vintage are still timelessly fresh.
The estate owns 11 ha of great Saar vineyards, planted 100% to Riesling and produces about 7,000 cs a year. The following Grand Cru vineyards are instrumental for the greatness of the estate:
Saarburger Rausch- Thinly layered slate, very gravelly with basalt rock, (Diabas), and veins of reddish earth. The Rieslings from the Rausch exhibit an interesting, subtle, dusty gout de terroir along with citrus, lemon balm and flint.
Ockfener Bockstein– Grey slate, sandstone laced with quartzite, gravelly, and intermittent yellow earth. Bockstein Rieslings are more steely and straight ahead but also apples, pears and citrus.
The Zilliken Estate was a founding member of the Mosel VDP.