Nailing the balance in Australian off-dry Riesling is tricky business. To put it bluntly, very few (if any) local Riesling need the sweetness, so often you just end up with a more rounded expression of the (better, more delicious) dry wines. Off-dry/semi-sweet Riesling has a place, however, in the great wines of the world pantheon, so I’m still eager to try the better local wine – and this trio does it well.
Gundog Estate Gundaroo Riesling 2022
This is lovely wine, that clearly has the acidity to balance out the 27g/L residual sugar (with a pH of 2.82 and over 8g/L acidity). It doesn’t give away much on the nose – a bit tight and neutral for that. But that’s also part of the schtick – this is tight, neutral, and deftly balanced with gentle orange juice juiciness, a little talc and lemon balm and then this lovely softness to the palate. It’s really quite effortless, in a way that only the best Kabinett can achieve. Perhaps needing a bit more tension to get to gold medal status, but a lovely wine.
Best drinking; good now. 18/20, 93/100. 9%, $40. Gundog Estate website. Would I buy it? Let’s share a bottle.
Robert Stein RS15 Riesling 2022
Jacob Stein is one of the country’s best Riesling makers and he gets it right with this Mudgee white. Half dry on the label, but it’s more ‘a little bit sweet’ rather than a lot. Lemon lime fruit with a light floral fragrance, the palate kicks on with more citrus fruit, a hint of fruit tingle sweetness but then grapefruit acidity. The sweetness just drives the palate juiciness, which is the aim, no? I still like the dry Riesling better, but this is good stuff.
Best drinking: now. 17.7/20, 92/100. 11%, $50. Robert Stein website. Would I buy it? A few glasses.
Pewsey Vale Lighter Riesling 2022
Following a little of the low alc vibe I was talking about the other day, this is Pewsey Vale Riesling on a diet (supposedly). In truth it’s low alcohol because of the sweetness (medium dry according to the back label), but don’t let the marketing angle get in the way of what is a drinkable off-dry Riesling. Juicy sort of thing it is too, with honeydew melon fruit aplenty. It doesn’t taste sweet either, just juicy. For all that, it finishes just a bit too loose to be great. Pleasant and fresh though.
Best drinking: now. 16.5/20, 88/100. 9%, $26. Pewsey Vale website. Would I buy it? A glass, maybe.
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