It feels like anything but Riesling weather in Sydney this weekend and I can only feel for the producers at the Wine Island festival who would have endured three days pouring in the wet. Unfun. Anyway, here are a few slightly different Australian Rieslings for your drinking pleasure.
Xabregas Artisan Great Southern Riesling 2011
A worked style kept on lees in old barrels. Xabregas are one of the better makers of off-dry Aussie Riesling, but their dry wines are even better. This smells of lemon, grapefruit and just a hint of the hessian of old oak, the palate dry, concentrated and quite extractive – indeed it’s a firm, compact, fully textured style with excellent penetration and utterly natural, firm acidity. 4 years old but could be one with the depth here. It’s maybe a little coarse on the finish, but that’s the only distraction. Best drinking: 2015-2030+. 18/20, 93/100. 11.9%, $35. Would I buy it? Sure would. That structure makes it more-ish too.
Pipers Brook Tasmania Riesling 2014
Price has crept up on this wine. Inch by inch. The best years are well worth it, but this year it looks very odd. Indeed it carries a green straw nose with quite a deal of development, even some terpenes too. Unexpected for Tasvegas. Underneath it’s really taut, grapefruit pithy and firm, all acid and a really compact structure. There’s excellent shape and intensity here but, for mine, this is just a little raw and yet also forward. You get the feeling this will live for a long time, so might well be worth another visit in 5 years time, though for the moment it’s confusingly sitting in a halfway development phase. Best drinking: 2020-?. 16.8/20, 89/100+. 13%, $34. Would I buy it? Not quite.
Jim Barry Veto Clare Valley Riesling 2015
Something of a project wine for next generation Barry boys Tom & Sam Barry, this Riesling started as an exceptional parcel from the Lodge Hill vineyard, with the grapes picked and then pressed without filtration and 10% barrel fermented. All was then left on gross lees for six weeks before bottling.
Light and lemony, it’s a surprisingly delicate wine in context, balance of limey fruit and acidity is excellent. Less chubby than some of the other Jim Barry Rieslings, but not quite as perfumed. Still has a healthy dash of lemongrass a little ginger though. Tight and long, the palate is where all the fun is, with grip and textural weight. Good stuff. Best drinking: 2015-2025+. 18/20, 93/100. 12.5%, $35. Would I buy it? Worth a punt on a bottle of this for sure.
Wirra Wirra The Lost Watch Adelaide Hills Riesling 2015
The twist with this Wirra rizza is where its from – the Adelaide Hills is hardly your first Riesling port of call. In the best vintages it’s also a worthy contender. This ’15 is in a funny place though, with the first whispers of hay and straw bottle development creeping in already. Curious. It’s otherwise juicy and primary as ever, if just a bit flat and gun-shy through the middle. Taut, precocious finish is on the money though and begs the score. Juicy and primary as ever, hit definitely flatter and more forward. Acid is typically precocious though and really lifts the score. Best drinking: 2018-. 17/20, 90/100. 12.5%, $24. Would I buy it? A glass would be enough for now.