Dan's Blog


Friday, October 19, 2018

This week’s blog is all about the King of white wines – Riesling.

Riesling has long been recognised as the noblest of the white wines, but despite frequent predictions it has not made a resurgency since it was deposed as the best-selling white wine in Australia way back in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Whilst this is indeed the case, I would argue that what has happened is a “market correction” (as the finance Johnny’s call it) when the share market takes a tumble. That is, that the earlier sales figures included all sorts of white wines labelled as Riesling – it got so bad that for three to four decades producers had to call their ‘real’ Riesling, Rhine Riesling, to differentiate it from the swill that was being sold as Riesling at the time.

Those days are well and truly behind us and the aficionados are enjoying Riesling now more than ever. The quality of the top Riesling these days is sublime.

Unlike many other noble varieties where you have to sacrifice your left testicle (no, it is not sexist to say this – quite a few ladies I know have bigger balls than plenty of the guys) or take out a second mortgage to be able to buy a bottle of top quality wine, with Riesling you don’t even have to “Nimble it”! Or go to “Cashie’s”, to be able to afford a great quality bottle of Riesling. If you doubt me just go down to your local “bottlo” and pick up a bottle of Jacob’s Creek 2018 Riesling. A report in last Friday’s WBM Online – TWTW (The Week That Was) stated that the 2018 JC won a gold medal at this year’s Royal Adelaide Wine Show bringing the total medal tally for this humble commercial brand to 478 since inception. Not bad for a sub – ten dollar wine!!! The 2018 joins the 2012 and especially the 2002 as super-stellar JC Rieslings. I can clearly remember the whole room being blown away at the 2015 Canberra International Riesling Challenge (CIRC) Master Class when it was revealed to us that the divine Riesling we had just been drooling over was in fact the 13-year-old Jacob’s Creek 2002 Riesling which had won three trophies, including “Best Australian Riesling” in the 2004 CIRC.

From vintage 2017 and 2018 I have tasted some absolute pearler Riesling from a broad spectrum of producers such as: Claymore Wines (Joshua Tree), Neil Hahn Barossa (Yanyarrie), Paracombe (Holland Creek), St Hugo, Vickery Wines, Reillys Wines, Robert Stein Wines, Warrabilla and of course, Jacob’s Creek.

Also, last week I wrote about the wine show success of Robert Stein Wines from Mudgee – especially with their Riesling. As that blog was being loaded up I received samples of the 2018 Rieslings which are reviewed at the end of this blog.

A great feature that is becoming more prevalent on bottles of Riesling is the “dryness scale” (see the attached image) which when placed on the back label of the bottle shows the consumer, how dry or sweet the wine is. This is brilliant, as it eliminated the gamble of buying what you think is a sweet Riesling only to find out when you open it that it is dry, or vice versa. The scale is free for producers to use and should be used by all Riesling producers. If I could, I would make it mandatory.

Hey! I am probably tasting some Riesling right now in Canberra, because as you read this I am in Canberra attending the 19th CANBERRA INTERNATIONAL RIESLING CHALLENGE.

This year’s Master Classes include:

High Altitude Riesling – The Orange Region: presented by Bill Shrapnel, Colmar Estate.

Chinese Perceptions of Riesling: presented by Chinese MW, Fongyee Walker – which should be fascinating especially if we get to try one of the few Riesling produced in China.

Therefore as you can see, the rule of King Riesling is doing just fine. In fact, quite brilliantly, which proves that the 1970s to 1990s were only a “Momentary Lapse of Riesling” and the King is in fine health – “Thank you…. Thank you very much…” as fellow King, Elvis Presley would say.

ROBERT STEIN 2018 MUDGEE DRY RIESLING: Elegant floral aromas with just a dash of citrus. A lively, zingy, tasty palate with lovely lemon/citrus flavours plus a smidge of apples leading to a smooth, delicious finish. This wine is great for enjoying now, but if you have some patience tuck it away for 4-5 years and it will be truly amazing. Deserves a gold medal or three.

ROBERT STEIN 2018 MUDGEE HALF DRY RIESLING: Enticing floral aromas with a delicate hint of lemon. Beautiful medium sweetness on the front palate that flows ever so well through to the just off-dry finish which lingers and is very appealing making this wine delightfully moreish.

It is great that both of these Riesling have the “dryness scale” on the back label (see attached image).


Have a great week, and like me, enjoy a great Riesling! Cheers!