Last time I waxed lyrical on the subject of Riesling…well, I spent a weekend drinking, slurping, swirling and sniffing Riesling. We talked about it, discussed and analysed…and I’m more in love with the grape then ever before.
The morning of Saturday 15 October started with the opportunity to taste…514 Rieslings! Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Austria, Germany, South Africa and France sent in their representative bottlings.
We started with the Elite Golds and the Trophy winners before casually spending the next 3 hours trying the rest of the winning crowd – an incredible 85 Gold medals got handed out this year. Luckily, got to start before the crowds rolled in.
An impressive array of styles, from the bracing examples of bone dry Clare Valley to searing acidity of New Zealand with a nice balancing touch of residual sugar, to the lushness of Alsace and the versatility of our North American friends. This is a must attend event for anyone at all curious about wine, the absolute generosity and versatility of a single grape and for anyone interested in terroir. And no, just because someone didn’t win on the day doesn’t mean their particular Riesling was not delicious – competitions are only as good as the judges on the day, after all.
And for those more serious, Friday held the annual Seminar and MasterClass on the excellence in Riesling. This year we covered such topics as:
- Innovation in Riesling winemaking – trying everything from sparkling examples to “orange” Riesling with plenty of skin contact (oddly yumm even if I was in the minority), lees and other bits, to a the new fad of low alcohol wines (clearly, I am not a fan of the ultra processed…nevermind the lack luster taste).
- Key Aspects of Terroir – with focus on climate and the changes we have recently experiences in temperature.
- The MasterClass on Riesling from regions 41 degrees and south: A presentation on evolution of New Zealand Riesling with some excellent examples, as well as what the Tasmanians have been upto in the recent years. Incredible diversity!
Interested or curious? Check out these links:
- International Riesling Foundation Supports the promotion of Riesling and is the only grape specific foundation of it’s kind in the world.
- It’s a myth, babe: for those who bang on about ‘minerality’ in their wines.
- New plantings in New Zealand to keep an eye on.
- The best grape for those who enjoy a nice clean drink – women are apparently drinking more wine.
- And purely for the fun factor.
- And to check out all the entries and winners of the Canberra International Riesling Challenge…here
PS: My personal picks
2016 Mount Majura Vineyard Riesling, Canberra District (Trophy)
2016 Jim Barry Watervale Riesling, Clare Valley (Gold) – consistently good
2016 Jaeschkes Hill River Clare Estate Riesling, Clare Valley (Gold) – purity
2016 Hentley Farm Riesling, Eden Valley (Gold) – deliciousness in a glass
2016 Galafrey Reserve Riesling, Great Southern (Gold)
2016 Trevelen Farm Estate Riesling, Great Southern (Bronze) – juicy deliciousness
2016 Hay Shed Kerrigan & Berry Riesling, Mount Barker (Gold)
2016 Capel Vale Regional Series Riesling, Mount Barker (Gold)
2016 Freycinet Vineyard Riesling, Tasmania (Silver)
2016 Goaty Hill Riesling, Tasmania (84 points)
2016 Chartley Estate Riesling, Tasmania (Trophy) – rose petals, waxy green apple.
2016 Bellarmine Dry Riesling, Pemberton (Silver)
2016 Robert Stein Riesling, Mudgee (Gold)
2016 SANTAS & D’SAS Henty Riesling, Henty (81 points) – chocolate nose and green apple pastry palate.
2016 Ferngrove Off-Dry Riesling Limited Release, Franklnad River (Trophy) – love it despite my self
2015 Basedow’s Eden Valley Riesling, Eden Valley (Gold)
2015 Laurel Bank Riesling, Tasmania (85 points) – finger limes and roses with jasmine, textural
2015 SANTA & D’SAS Henty Riesling, Henty (Bronze) – that of the fabulous magnum bottle, so points for presentation but also damn good juiciness inside
2015 Bream Creek Riesling, Tasmania (Gold) – searing acidity balanced with just a hint of sweetness to finish dry, but just love the purity
2003 Eldridge Riesling, Clare Valley (Gold) – for the petrol and kerosene
2010 Petaluma Hanlin Hill Clare Valley Riesling, Clare Valley (Gold) – aging nicely, no kerosene
2005 Poacher’s Ridge Riesling, Hastings River (Gold) – slurp, slurp away!
2015 Prinz von Hessen Kabinett ROYAL, Rheingau (Gold)
2014 Joern Riesling Arancia, Rheingau (80 points) – texture, funk, weirdness or epic proportions, totally intriguing. One of those ‘orange’ wines that’s just lips smacking good.
2014 Joern Riesling Hasensprung Stuckfass, Rheingau (81 points) – more ‘normal’ of the pair but oh so wickedly fun to drink. Slightly ‘orange’ wine i.e. saw some skins.
2015 Martha Clara Estate Reserve Riesling, Long Island (Bronze) – great balance
2014 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Lot 11 Lake Dana Vineyard, Finger Lakes (Silver) – ripe tropical notes, great length
2015 Moorilla Estate Sparkling Riesling, Tamar Valley – just yummy and frothy
2015 Glaetzer-Dixon Uberblanc Goldpunkt Riesling – sherbet, pears, apples, roses, lychees…and on and on
2011 Foxes Island Belsham Awatere Estate Riesling, Malborough – juicy, yellow fruits, tangy and incredibly fresh
2015 Mudhouse The Mound Riesling – in spite of myself, drink by the bucket
2010 Peregrine Riesling – “very like-y” not so technical with this one but sweet monkeys on fire this stuff is good. Good savoury edge.