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The Glories of Riesling Down Under

The Glories of Riesling (Part Three) – The New World

Reflections on Wine
July 2, 2014
Tom Hyland

In my two previous posts on Riesling, I wrote about the two most classic origins of Riesling from the Old World – Germany and Alsace. This post will deal with some favorite examples of Riesling from the New World, namely Australia, New Zealand and California.

I have yet to discover a region or country that produces as many great examples of Riesling as do those two lands, but the Clare Valley in Australia comes close and in my mind, has been the home of some truly classic Rieslings.

For this post, I tasted another excellent Clare Valley Riesling from Kilikanoon; I also tasted Rieslings from Western Australia, namely from the Margaret River and Frankland River Regions. The wines I tasted from Leeuwin Estate and Frankland Estate were very different in style, but both excellent.

I was also delighted with another Riesling from the other Down Under, namely the Greywacke 2011 from the Marlborough district in New Zealand. Greywacke is the winery of Kevin Judd, who achieved fame a while back as being the winemaker at Cloudy Bay. Kevin has always made brilliant examples of Sauvignon Blanc, but his Riesling is just as memorable.

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling 2013 (Margaret River, WA) – Light yellow; aromas of peony, melon, petrol and elderflowers. Medium-full with very good concentration. Cleanly made, this has impressive persistence and varietal focus. Lengthy finish and lively acidity. This should drink well for another 3-5 years – excellent. ($16, a notable value).

Frisk Prickly Riesling 2013 (Victoria) – I’ve enjoyed this Riesling for a few years now; the name comes from the fact that the wine has a prickly sensation on your tongue. Pleasing aromas of melon, white peach and elderflowers. Medium-bodied with tasty ripe fruit and a nicely structured finish with tangy acidity. Irresistible now, best fresh, but can be enjoyed over the next 3-5 years. ($10)

Kilikanoon Mort’s Block Riesling 2012 (Clare Valley, SA) – Straw/light yellow; delicate aromas of melon, lime and peony. Medium-full with very good concentration. Elegant wine with excellent varietal character. Very good persistence and acidity. Nice typicity – perhaps not as rich as some vintages, but a nice wine for enjoyment now and over the next 2-3 years. ($20)

Greywacke Riesling 2011 (Marlborough, NZ) – Straw/light yellow; lovely aromas of lime, elderflowers and green apple. Medium-full with very good concentration. Vibrant acidity, excellent persistence and wonderful varietal purity with just a touch of minerality. This was the most delicious Riesling I tasted for this post. I opened it and enjoyed a few ounces each night for more than a week; it was as fresh and as tasty after a week open as it was when I first tasted it. Beautiful wine – well, done Kevin Judd! ($25)

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