Clonakilla Riesling 2008 (Canberra District, ACT)
Stuff the preamble with this wine. Just buy it, or at the minimum, buy another 08 Riesling. Many people won’t get wines like this – searingly dry Riesling that is so Australian it hurts. It will never be a subtle wine – it may even be poo-pooed by the decidedly fuddy-dudderish English wine critics of Decanter. But gosh its Aussie. Its wines like this, like so many great Australian Rieslings, that we need to send out to the world and say. ‘This is Australian wine’. It’s not European and thank fuck for that. Its thongs and meat pies, kangaroos and, well, smart as hell Australian wine production at work. And to tell you the truth, its only the tip of the iceberg. In 2008 I think that there where plenty more even better Rieslings from Canberra, from the Eden Valley, from the Clare, from Great Southern, from all over. World class wines, itching for even more recognition…
Anyway, back to this wine. A green, just yellow colour, the nose bounces out at you from the first turn of the screw. Its musky, bath salty, floral, minerally, citrussy and slatey. Actually it smells more Eden Valley than Canberra, but that might be more to do with the vintage than anything else. The palate is, in a word searing. The first couple of sips hit the mouth like fire water. The acid is just so intense that it seems quite obnoxious at first. The great Clare Rieslings are like that. They just get right up in your face and say ‘get stuffed, I’m serious wine’. Yet after a little while in the glass, after the first glass is gone and its time for a top up, this backs right off to be all pretty, citrussy and beautifully drinkable. And that’s the great thing about Riesling – acid tongue, beautiful personality.
As a wine this probably needs more time in the bottle, though it wouldn’t be hard to finish a glass or 5 now. Its certainly a great Riesling and could be viewed as a potential classic (like the 02 Grosset Polish Hill for example) but it is, in truth, just another bloody good wine, from another bloody good small winery. We’ve never had it so good. 18.8
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