Highlights from the launch of the Summer of Riesling
Tuesday (11/01/11) marked the launch of the 2011 Australian Summer of Riesling, a celebration of all things Riesling that has made it’s way to Australia for the first time in 2011, having been first established by the Riesling fanatics at New York wine bar Terroir & Hearth a little while back and now coming here thanks to the work of wine distributor Jason Hoy and restaurateur Stu Knox of Fix St James.
The premise behind the concept is simple – an excuse to coax as many establishments as humanly possible to give their wine lists (and wine range) over to all things Riesling, which thus should get more people drinking wines produced from the worlds greatest white grape.
Given that I am a devout worshipper of this king of grapes (seriously, Riesling is amazing), there was no way I was going to miss out on an excuse to try shedloads of fine examples at the Summer of Riesling launch party held here in Sydney at Fix St James (whom have devoted all their by the glass white wine list to Riesling), joining a lively crowd of similar followers in a boozy celebration of Riesling goodness.
As you can imagine the night was a large one, with 32 wines poured for dinner alone (with half as many again also open at the tasting beforehand) so my notes are, erm, shady to say the best. But there was some absolute standouts that are worth a mention.
KT Melva Riesling 2010 (Clare, SA)
From the hand of winemaking talent Kerri Thompson this was an absolute standout in a bracket featuring the Petaluma, Monsters Attack and Vinteloper 2010 Clare Rieslings. The secret (well, not that secret actually) is just the limey, intense, perfectly poised Clare Valley purity, the acidity looked particularly natural, the flavours looking absolutely spot on. What sets this one apart though is that it is Clare Rizza on steroids, the wine fermented with wild yeasts, given some skin contact and extra residual sugar, the balance an entirely welcome surprise and the extra phenolic grip entirely appropriate. The only better Clare Riesling I have had out of 2010 is the Grosset Polish Hill…18.5/94
|Did I mention that it was a large night?
Even my photos are blurry:
This is Jason Hoy talking Riesling
Bests Home Block Riesling 2010 (Great Western, Vic)
I’ve had this a few times now, although this is the first time I’ve seen it as a finished labelled product. In a lineup that included 2 Mt Langi Rieslings and the super tight new De Bortoli Reserve Riesling (which is just too tight to be enjoyable right now) and another Bests, this looked the most balanced of the lot. Interestingly it was probably the sweetest wine of the bracket too, carrying more residual than most (and carrying it very well indeed), with an excellent interplay between citrussy fruit and blinding limey acidity, rounded off with the fruit and sugar sweetness. It’s still settling into it’s skin, but this is a very impressive Riesling indeed. 17.8/92
Van Voxelm ‘Schiefer’ Riesling 2007 (Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany)
This was slipped into a lineup of similar styled Austrian/French/German Riesling and was one of my more favoured wines of the bracket. It carries some creamy leesy funk overtones, underpinned by slatey (schiefer translates as slate after all) acidity, the whole package looking particularly complex and interesting for something that sells for circa $30. Nice wine. 17.5/91
Dönnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett 2008 (Nahe, Germany)
I love Dönnhoff. Well, I love his wines at least, and this is nothing if not a perfect place to start (actually the perfect place to start is the 07 which I drank over Christmas). From first whiff this is obviously a leaner, firmer wine than the 07, the cooler season giving an extra edge of minerally, sparkling acidity that may well not be to everyone’s tastes, but for me it just tastes like glory. It doesn’t stick out though, further reinforcing how carefully balanced this is. Jancis describes this as ‘racy’ and I think she is spot on with this. Like it very much. 18.5/94