I had resolved to stop relentlessly talking up how good Riesling is. That was until I walked into the Riesling DownUnder’s trade tasting with a prospective employee who said “all Riesling tastes the same…”
Let’s call him ‘Q’. He got grabbed by the bicep and manhandled to the nearest quality Riesling stand. Thankfully, it was already right in front of us and he has a sense of humour.
First stop on mission, “teach Q that Riesling is a whole world of flavour” was Crawford River. Are they the best Riesling producer in Australia? Well, they are top 5, even top 3 in my mind. Young Vines 2013 – lean, fresh, clean, hint chalky and refreshing. Ah Rieslingy. Q not impressed. Estate Riesling 2013 – Q, “oh wow”. Riper, more intense fruit, bigger body with plenty of silk. Still strongly chalk and mineral with a serious streak of acid but the fleshy fruit sits comfortably over the top. Balance and harmony. Noble Dry 2011 – Tropical, almost marmalade but clean and dry, beautiful flavours and intensity. Q, “delicious”. Three Rieslings from one estate, three different expressions.
Stop two, Grosset Springvale Riesling 2014. Old school Clare Riesling. Citrus, floral, candied lemon rind, orange blossom. Dry, lean, focussed, pure, hints of mineral and wax. There is a reason classics are classics.
Stop three, Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling 2014. Broad but subtle, layered, vibrant. The mouthfeel on this wine is out of sight. Just about has to be the best Riesling in Australia doesn’t it? Tough call. Q, “Oh man. This is good”.
Ok Q, we’ve picked the eyes out of Australia right there. Lets look at the old world “DAH DUH DARRRRR”.
Georg Breuer. Rudesheim Estate 2013 – Powerful, concentrated, precise. Terra Montosa 2013 – The Grand Cru barrels that didn’t quite cut it in the blends. More fruit intensity, more acid, but lovely balance and an understated elegance. Berg Nonnenberg 2013 – Bam, this is a great glass of Riesling. More of everything but in context of everything else it was all grace and elegance and subtlety. Wow, this is old world Riesling at its absolute finest.
Dr Loosen. Bernkasteler Lay Kabinett 2013 – Q, “wow that is sweet”, me, “not yet, these are fruit, just wait”. Earth and stones, green tea and green/yellow fruits. Yum. Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett 2013 – Ripe, generous, silken and delicious. The best vineyard for sweet Riesling? Yeah, probs! This Kabinett is so darn gluggable I just can’t say it in words. Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2013 – Me, “Ok Q, this is now late picked. Being from the same vineyard the terroir should show through.” More intense, more seduction, it does look sweeter but without going near cloying. The finish is still dry and fine. Yum.
Salomon. Undhof Kogl Kremstal 2012 – Savoury, of the earth, impressive weight, dry but not austere, balanced and harmonious. Really moreish. Classic Austrian Riesling in one taste. What more do you need?
Vinteloper – R1 Riesling 2014 – In the box, colour by numbers but ultimately delicious. Odeon 2013 – Smashing the box, the box is obliterated, is that oak? Phenolics from skin contact! A big impact wine with a lot of complexity to offer while still tasting a lot like Riesling.
Riesling Freak – The experiment. Polish Hill Riesling 2014, Clare Valley Riesling 2014, Eden Valley Riesling 2014, Polish Hill ‘Schtzkammer’ Riesling 2014 with some residual sugar. What were the differences? Suitable variations on the one theme. Would you pick them up in isolation? Hell no. But as a tasting exercise you can see how the differences between these regional, subregional and winemaker characters can influence the final wine.
Finally Q, lets look at the Chateau Ste Michelle Eiswein – “You thought the Kabinett was sweet? Wait til you try this!” Q, “Oh wow! This is amazing. So intense, that is delicious!”
Ok, lesson over. Do all Rieslings tastes the same? Q, “You win man. Riesling is awesome, so amazingly different”. Time to go, never forget how awesome Riesling is!
Over to you! Come on a Riesling journey of discovery by clicking here and booking in for the tasting on 28th February. You can also buy this dozen bottles of Riesling which mirrors that experience in the luxury and leisure of your own home.
Seeing (tasting) is believing. And let me tell you, when it comes to Riesling, ignorance is not bliss… we didn’t even touch on the fact it is the most undervalued variety in the world of wine.