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22 June 2012

Australia: Riesling

Petaluma Hanlin Hill
Vineyard Clare Valley
Back to Australia: the VIP line-up reviewed below was up for (mostly blind) tasting at a recent Wine Australia Ireland event in Dublin. Stepping into the bottle-filled room, it seemed like a good idea and difficult to resist. I'd also had an early start, so 20-odd lively Rieslings were a great pick-me-up for my palate. As you'll see, it goes to show the standard for Riesling in Australia is pretty high with only one or two wines not showing so well (but still good anyway). Certain regions stood out in particular - Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills (both in South Australia), Great Southern (Western Australia) - and certain wineries e.g. Grosset, Petaluma, Lehmann, Plantagenet, Mt Horricks, Leasingham. And there are wines here for anyone who likes their dry whites with a bit of quirky character, from easier drinking now to serious austere styles destined for bottle-ageing and Riesling die-hards. Prices (euro) and distributors are for Ireland, but most of these wines will also be available in the UK, USA etc. I'd imagine.

2009 Peter Lehmann, Barossa Valley - Honeysuckle peach and zesty citrus notes, quite delicate with subtle lime fruit vs steely bite vs oily texture. Drinking nicely. €10-€12 Comans, Dublin.
2009 De Bortoli Windy Peak, Victoria - Floral and oily with zesty lemon, fairly complex with elegant lime and zingy mouth-feel then oily development on its quite soft and attractive finish. €12-15 Febvre, Dublin.
2010 Yalumba Y series, South Australia - More closed up, floral and 'chalky' with tight zingy palate, has white peach and citrus edges with crisp length and a bit of weight too. €12-15 Cassidy Wines, Dublin.
2010 Wirra Wirra Lost Watch, Adelaide Hills - Limey vs 'chalky' nose and palate, pretty intense with it showing nice crisp vs concentrated combo, tasty and vibrant with some oily maturity as well. Fair class. €20+ Tindal Wines, Dublin.
2010 Plantagenet, Great Southern - Floral with lime and peach tones vs oily 'chalky' edges, reasonably soft and delicate yet crisp and intense, refreshing citrus vs oily finish. Classy. €15-18 Liberty Wines, Dublin.
2010 Thorn Clarke Milton Park, Eden Valley - Similar lime, orange peel and peach flower profile; oily mineral mouth-feel with enticing zing and 'chalky' finish vs lively fruit and some roundness too. €12-15 Febvre.
2010 Grant Burge, Eden Valley - Lively lime fruit vs oily Riesling development, not sure if it's very subtle or lacking something, a tad 'hot' too in the end? €18-20 Gilbeys, Dublin.
2010 Pewsey Vale, Eden Valley - Slightly richer and more exotic style with ripe kiwi and lime, soft yet mineral palate with tangy fresh length. Cassidy's.
2009 Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa, Eden Valley - Limier vs oilier and maturing too vs ripe green fruits and lime, 'chalky' oily texture and attractive fruit to finish. €15-18 Febvre.
2009 St. Hallett, Eden Valley - Quite full-on honeysuckle and lime vs developing oily tones, almost toasty and nutty even vs crisp mineral and delicate finish. €12-15 Gilbeys.
2007 Peter Lehmann, Eden Valley - Similar profile, quite oily and mature, a touch blowsy and fading maybe although again it's subtle and elegant too. Drink now. €15-18 Comans.
2003 Peter Lehmann Wigan Reserve, Eden Valley - Ripe oily and developed with underlying floral lime fruit, taking on toasty nutty edges with understated concentration; lovely mature Riesling fruit, delicate 'chalky' touches and elegant acidity still. Yum. €20+ Comans.
2010 Jacobs Creek Steingarten, Barossa - Tantalizing oily vs limey nose, 'chalky' zesty mouth-feel vs maturing notes, restrained vs developing flavours, very crisp almost clunky acidity but overall has nice style. €20+ Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, Dublin.
2011 Wakefield Estate, Clare Valley - Herbal lime hints vs 'chalky' and mineral, maturing oily vs zesty flavours/texture; again fairly fine with delicate acidity, drinking well now too. Findlater Wine & Spirit Group, Dublin.
2011 Knappstein Handpicked, Clare Valley - 'Sweeter' more exotic style vs lime aromas underneath, tighter crisp mouth-feel vs a little weight and oily roundness; good although a bit short perhaps. €15-18 Gilbeys.
2011 Mount Horricks Watervale, Clare Valley - 'Reductive' lees edges, moving on to steely tight crisp and dry mouth-feel, unrevealing with intense mineral bite and long zingy citrus finish. Promising. €20+ Liberty Wines.
2011 Grosset 'Springvale' Watervale, Clare Valley - Zesty floral nose, intense steely palate, 'stoney' with eye-watering acidity vs delicate juicy citrus and very crisp very long finish. Wow. €20+ Liberty Wines.
2011 Grosset Polish Hill, Clare Valley - Lees-y reductive notes, very 'chalky' and zesty, lively intense crisp austere style with almost salty tang layered with juicy citrus. Needs time! €20+ Liberty Wines.
2008 Leasingham Bin 7, Clare Valley - Fragrant floral vs intense lime notes, lively acidity vs oily mineral characters, concentrated zesty citrus vs towards toasty tones on its long finish. Good stuff. €15-18 Barry & Fitzwilliam, Cork.
2006 Petaluma, Clare Valley - Perfumed and floral with peach and lime flower, intense zesty palate vs lovely oily maturing characters, rounded texture vs crisp bite; beautiful wine, still young even. €18-20 Gilbey's.
2005 Wakefield Jaraman, Clare & Eden Valley - Yeast-lees tones vs Riesling oily vs perfumed with white peach and lime aromas/flavours, builds up to toasty maturing linseed oil finish vs very crisp bite, subtle concentration too; fairly stylish, although the acidity jars a little in the end. €20+ Findlater's.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.