This is my favourite time of year for drinking current vintage dry Australian Riesling. Sure, plenty of the best wines are nowhere near ready, but that ‘just picked’ freshness is addictive.
This dozen is a selection of 2016 Riesling that have landed on the desk recently.
Mada Wines Canberra Riesling 2016
Mada Wines is the new label of ex-Eden Road winemaker Hamish Young, the wines brightly packaged and promising much. This Riesling comes from the Four Winds Vineyard and was wild fermented in ‘ceramic’. Promise! Delicious wine too. There’s a fragrance here of blossom and lemon and grapefruit. Classic, but with an edge. That edge comes through on the long, gently textured palate, which brings a hint of orange and lemon pith and then some lovely softness. Has both zing and texture, with length to match. Delicious Riesling. Best drinking: 2016-2028. 18.5/20, 94/100. 12%, $30. Would I buy it? Absolutely.
Alkoomi Black Label Frankland River Riesling 2016
All estate grown fruit and as well-priced as ever. Lovely grapefruit nose here, the style all about purity and freshness. Pristine. Palate follows with grapefruit, even a little pineapple and then natural, perfectly poised acidity. This is such a lovely flow of crisp and very pure Riesling. Nary a hair out of place. Delicate and moreish. Best drinking: 2016-2026. 18/20, 93/100. 12.5%, $24. Would I buy it? Yes.
Vickery Watervale Riesling 2016
Sourced from the Castine and Koerner Vineyards in Watervale. John Vickery and Phil Lehmann at the helm here. Quick numbers too (for interest. Always instructive with Riesling): TA 6.1, pH 3.0, RS 3.8g/L. Lovely ‘just ripe’ Watervale style this one. Green melon meets lime juice. Teeters on the edge of just being too tart, but the long finish is a nod to some quality fruit. Maybe pulls up a fraction short? But much to like and will be even better next year. Good price too. Best drinking: 2017-2030. 17.7/20, 92/100+. 12.5%, $23
Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling 2016
This is the tightest young Mount Horrocks Riesling I’ve seen in ages. Locked up. Cool and coiled, the palate gives up whispers of lime juice in amongst the grip and crunch, but it’s going to be some time before this comes together. Long though, and the more you look, the more appears. Promise is there. Best drinking: 2017-2032. 17.7/20, 92/100+. 12.7%, $34. Would I buy it? Not yet.
Wirra Wirra Lost Block Adelaide Hills Riesling 2016
Wirra do a good job with their Riesling and this is well poised. Green grapefruit and lemon, it feels cooler and less expressive than the Clare/Eden styles. This is perhaps a little too linear; the acid a dominant feature right now. Gee its long though. Next year. Best drinking: 2017-2027. 17.7/20, 92/100+. 12.5%, $24. Would I buy it? In 2017 I’d consider it.
Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2016
Great to see an IRF scale on the back of this. The label says it is smack bang in the middle of ‘dry’. A flourish of melon – Plenty ripe – or at least some aromatic yeasts. Lots of white melon and even mango, the palate again generous and full with an almost Clare like limey tang. Quite plentiful and juicy for the price point. I’m a fan for sure. Maybe a little short? Gee you could drink lots of this. It’s smashable. Best drinking: 2016-2025. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12%, $25. Would I buy it? Sure would.
Pewsey Vale Prima Eden Valley Riesling 2016
The IRF scale indicates this sits on the border between ‘medium dry’ and ‘medium sweet’. The aim here is to marry early picked fruit and balanced residual sugar – 24g/L in this case. I’ve not always been a fan of the Prima as I still think Aus Riesling is better expressed drier. But this has better balance than many vintages, the lemon-lime nose carrying just a little candy, the limey palate also showing the background hint of fruit loop. On a warm night this would be delicious, even if the sweetness is just a little disjointed, a buffer to almost bitter acidity. Good but the question has to be posed if this would be better drier. Best drinking: 2016-2020. 17/20, 90/100. 10.5%, $26. Would I buy it? A glass would do.
Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Riesling 2016
The Goulburn Valley is hardly the first place you think of for Riesling. But this is fun and generous all the same. Water clear, the nose is almost tropical with a little sherbet. Palate has a roundness and even a hint of apricot as if there is a little Marsanne in there. Warmish finish. Lots of flavour and would be an easy drink. Best drinking: 2016-2019. 16.8/20, 89/100. 13%, $18.50. Would I buy it? Not quite.
Yalumba Y Series Barossa Riesling 2016
This perennially over delivers and no variation with the ’16. Lemon Dispirin flavours and a light palate, but finishes crisp and importantly the freshness and drinkability is high. Linear finish a welcome end too. Bargain sub $15 white wine – and I’ve seen it even cheaper than that. A buy from me.. Best drinking: 2016-2019. 16.5/20, 88/100. 11.5%, $14.99. Would I buy it? This would be a beacon of flavour on a pub wine list.
Hentley Farm Eden Valley Riesling 2016
Lime and sherbet on the forward nose. Broad fruit and then a soft finish. Plenty of lime and citrus but fans out a little on the flat finish. I expected more. Best drinking: 2016-2020. 16.3/20, 87/100. 11.8%, $24.50. Would I buy it? No.
Irvine Springhill Eden Valley Riesling 2016
Green straw. Surprisingly flat and forward style with lemony fruit and a broad finish. Missing some zap. Middling. Best drinking: 2016-2019. 16/20, 87/100. 12.8%, $22. Would I buy it? No.
Mr Mick Clare Valley Riesling 2016
Straw yellow. Open lemon-lime nose and a broad, rather full palate. It’s a bit forward but this offers lots of lime fruit in a generous and quite authentic package at a sharp price. Phenolic and raw finish is a distraction, but drinkable. Best drinking: 2016-2020. 16/20, 87/100. 11%, $18.99. Would I buy it? Not quite.