Hardly a discovery this, for Jeffrey Grosset (pictured here at the Landmark Australia tasting of Riesling attended by Julia last year) is Australia's acknowledged king of Riesling (and pioneer of screwcaps). But I tasted this new vintage twice during my recent few days in Singapore and was particularly impressed. This magnificent single-vineyard bone-dry wine would make great current drinking or provide a real long-term classic for your cellar.
Grosset's style of Riesling can be uncompromisingly austere in youth - so much so that I think an increasing number of fellow practitioners copy it too slavishly, to the detriment of their wines, leaving them almost painfully hard and fruitless, rather like the early German trocken wines but with more alcohol. But 2009 turned out to be a great vintage for the best producers of the world's greatest white wine grape in its Australian home, the Clare Valley. (See Kerri Thompson of KT & the Falcon's 2009 vintage report.)
There is much more fruit, juice and obvious ripeness in the
Jeffrey Grosset, Polish Hill Riesling 2009 Clare Valley at this early stage than most years and, as Grosset himself points out on www.grosset.com.au, 'the 2009 Polish Hill is a surprise packet with quite exuberant, lifted floral aromatics providing a departure from the norm. On the palate, there is a brightness and youthful tang that is rare in young Polish Hill Rieslings. As ever, there is intense, pristine lime juice flavour made more complex by slatey, minerally characters all compressed and coiled by the wine's tightness of structure. There's characteristic finesse, power and a steely quality before the taut natural acidity highlights its lingering, dry finish. While the 2009 Polish Hill should age as well as other vintages, it may provide more joy in its youth. He recommends drinking it now or cellaring it for six to 15 years, and certainly the longevity of past vintages from this very special site does nothing to dispel this optimistic prediction. (See this 2003 report on a Grosset Riesling vertical tasting.)
It's still young and steely and has no perceptible sweetness, but was quite delightful the other day at an outdoor lunch organised by Singapore wine writer Curtis Marsh for me and fellow wine writers Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Sarah Mayo, Suzanne Brocklehurst and Henry Hariyono of Artisan Cellars. Served glistening cool it was just the job as an aperitif in the sweltering humidity and heat of Singapore, but tasted even better, fruitier, with Mrs Marsh's crisp pork salad with tangy leaves dressed with a mixture of lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar and sambal. Mmmm. This wine is impressively persistent. I'm tempted to order some for my summer rustication in the Languedoc and gave it 18 points out of 20 for what it's worth.
It is widely available (see Find this wine) and, rather gratifyingly for non-Australians, tends to cost more in Australia than abroad - as is the way with most Australian wines that are highly regarded. This wine for example, made from the famous vineyard shown below, is one of Matthew Jukes' 100 Best Australian wines 2010 - in fact I'm surprised that Grosset didn't make it into Jukes' Hall of Fame.
The best current price seems to be in the UK, £17.95 from www.Slurp.co.uk (from whose website I learn that Decanter magazine gave this wine a perfect 20 in their April issue). Majestic meanwhile are asking £24 for a bottle but the Australian Wine centre in Adelaide is asking Aus$42.99, the equivalent of £26.05 a bottle.
You can also find it (at ascending prices) in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore, according to www.wine-searcher.com. The US still has the more austere 2008 but will presumably move on.