Eden Valley Riesling The Taste Off: Part 1 - The Young Ones
Righto, after a week of lukewarm reviews and rather mixed wines, it's time to delve into something good. In this case, the good is going to come from an old fashioned Death Match, focusing on one of my most favourite things - Eden Valley Riesling.
The format here is simple: 2 brackets of similar wines, 3 wines in each bracket, with the competitors in each bracket pitched against each other in a classic wine vs wine brawl. For each bracket I've picked several likely competitors to make for a more even fight (though to pitch them against each other blind might have been even fairer) at reasonably comparable prices.
Let the bout begin!
Elderton Riesling 2009 (Eden Valley, SA) $19, Screwcap, 11.5%
Second cheapest, but not least, this is a classic wine built wonderfully well.
A very green fruited nose that is almost grapefruit, with plenty of slate and green apple. It's a rather tight lemon slate nose, not revealing much, but so perfectly classic and authentic, contrasting with the power of the Mountadam in the best possible way (green fruit vs more yellow green for the Mountadam if you get my drift). Palate is initially quite soft, but in a natural acid sort of unforced way, finishing long and dry. Complete and appealing with plenty of potential I really love this fashion of genuine 'green' Eden Rizza. 17.4/91
Peter Lehmann 'Dry' Riesling 2009 (Eden Valley, SA) $17, Screwcap, 11%
A Google search turned this up for just $14 a bottle. Amazing.
Nose is a little less defined and slatey than the Elderton, though not as punchy as the Mountadam, with just a snifter of green pea and honey development. More rounded than the Elderton too, with some gardenia like florals and a bit of sweet fruit on the nose. A bit o\f honeysuckle too. Lovely lemon slate flavours on the palate which is slightly sweeter than the Elderton, but it seems to work well here. Sugar noticeable through the finish, which is broader than the Elderton and lacks the big flavour intensity of the Mountadam.
Marginally the third place getter in this bracket, but for the dollars this is an excellent commercial wine, showing the sort of balance that is unheard of in any other white wine under $15. 17.3/91
Punchy and quite overt nose with big florals, trouncing all over the other too in intensity alone. Talc and kaffir lime. Slightly volatile, which hints at this wines acidity too. Palate is similarly more vibrant and fresher than even the green Elderton, though it's noticeably riper too. Bigger, grippier and more full flavoured if a tad chunky through the middle, not softened with sugar like the Lehmann. Slightly raw through the finish with serious grip and no shortage of length.
A big wine that is sure to develop well, this is built in the Grosset style of Riesling, with lots of ripe fruit, no shortage of acid and built bone dry. When the fruit intensity is up to it, like in this case, it presents a compelling drinking argument. Should develop well too. 17.6/92
The Winner: Mountadam
Mountadam the winner, if purely by its extra grip and fruit intensity. Hard to split the three (as witnessed by the scores) with the only tangible difference coming largely down to style and delineation.
The real winner? Eden Valley Riesling of course, which proved yet again that Riesling, in this classic form, is the best value white wine in the nation.
Bracket 2 (the premier bracket?) to follow tomorrow.
2009/10 WCA Wine Journalism 'Young Gun; Wine Judge; Gourmet Traveller WINE and Breathe Hunter Valley magazine contributor; LattéLife & The Retiree columnist; National Liquor News tasting panellist and Chablis lover who fell into the liquor industry chiefly to buy cheap beer.
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