We can't get enough Riesling, especially during the summer months (see why in My great white hope), so here is a collection of notes on the most recent ones we have tried, from Germany, Australia, New Zealand and a lone but very good value example from Alsace.
The wines below are grouped by region/country and within each country they are ordered by declining score.
Intense grapefruit notes that I associate with Scheurebe. Intensely sweet, honey and lemon all primary now but with a streak of acidity from start to finish. Amazing value for money with such intensity, purity and freshness. Creamy and viscous, caressing and so decadent. You could probably broach this sooner but better to enjoy the complexity of layers in a few years. VGV (JH) 7.5%
This is almost wonderful, and is certainly great value.I just think it is a little over the hill for perfection. Quite evolved nose. Verging on oily nose. Then really intense flavours and a broad floral array. Long with real grip. Masses of concentration for an Estate QbA. But I think it needs drinking. Pretty substantial! Bone dry grapefruit juice, if you can imagine that. Even a little heat on the finish. Excellent price considering the ambition but certainly not that fresh. 12.5%
Screwcap. Apple-crisp on the nose. Light and vibrant with a streak of lime. Just off dry. Very easy to wallop without food but with sufficient structure to enjoy with a well-behaved light meal. I could imagine this with charcuterie or cold ham. Even goat's cheese. Very precise indeed. Neat finish. Impressive. And it couldn't come from any region other than the Mosel. No hurry to drink this. 10.5%
More delicate and purely citrus-driven than the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen just tasted, not as complex in aroma. There's fine lemon and lime and just a hint of orange zest – remarkable in such a difficult vintage. There's a mineral quality too but you hardly notice it behind the purity of the fruit though it becomes more obvious with time in the glass. Intensely pure citrus on the palate. How can anyone not love Riesling? Rich and full-fruited in the mouth and with the variety's acidity to keep it tense and fresh even though it is has a definite Kabinett sweetness on the finish. (JH)8.5%
More herbal, more sweet, a little more syrupy than the Mosel Spatlese trocken. The balance here is a bit less convincing. Seems a bit too sweet or not sweet enough with a bitter finish. Just a bit too odd, sweet and pungent for me. Grapefruit syrup? Maybe it will reach a more satisfying stage?13%
The late release of this single vineyard wine from Robert Hill Smith's family. 2008 vintage was a time of extremes. Winemaker Louisa Rose says, 'Although it was very dry going into the harvest period, the Eden Valley had received good winter rains and was looking healthy and fresh. As February progressed the weather remained dry, mild and stable and, importantly, the evenings were cool, all of which was perfect for maintaining the fine flavours and natural acids in Riesling.'
Very satsifying, deep-flavoured wine at the peak of its toasty powers. Less nervy than the Florita 2009 but really great for devotees of mature Riesling. Solid. Wouild be great with food. The merest hint of oiliness, but overall VGV.
Lovely evolution on the nose and fresh precision on the palate. This lime-flavoured,, very juicy wine will run and run. I should imagine it was pretty stern in extreme youth but it's already a delightful drink even though I'm sure it has a glorious future too. Bone dry finish. Subtle. 12%
This is the wine made from combining wines made by these two producers with grapes from the same vineyard. Lightly salty with development on the nose and a bit of chew on the end. Passion fruit flavours and a bone dry finish. Quite racy. Very clean and fresh. Just very slightly austere. Gives the impression that it will continue to develop. 12%
Mild nose and gentle texture. Chalky finish. Very inoffensive rather than stunning. Almost oily on the finish. Well made and quite evolved. More substantial than the Lodge Hill 2013 tasted immediately beforehand.
Jim Barry purchased the Lodge Hill vineyard in 1977, as he was sure it would produce some of the best Riesling in Clare. Situated on the eastern ranges of the township of Clare, it is one of the highest vineyards in the Valley at an altitude of 480 metres, and is ideal for producing steely, minerally Rieslings, distinctive to the area. This vintage was treated to particular gentle pressing and juice treatment and has been released a little earlier than some years.
From a single slatey vineyard at 480m elevation. Dense nose that smells a little older than 15 months old.But it has real racy lightness and limey flavour. Really very good to drink already. Bone dry and satisfying. VGV
Own roots – cane cuttings from Felton Road. Single cane, one bunch per shoot, 5,500 vines per hectare. Shoot and lateral thinned, and leaf plucked. Hand harvested on the 20th of April 2012. A good start to the season with healthy well balanced canes being laid on all three vineyard blocks with appropriate bud numbers, but growing then got off to a slow start with cooler than normal temperatures in late spring. The resulting bunches from the cooler spring were of average size but made up of very small berries which, regardless of clone and rootstock, ripened at much the same time after a very warm and dry autumn. March was the warmest March on record. Additionally there was not the normal large diurnal shift in autumn tending much more to range between 5 degrees over night to 25 degrees during the day. This seemed to be the catalyst for even ripening and carried on until harvest at Red Bank vineyard (HQ) on 19 April. 10g/l RS.
The nose is in the herbal/Great Southern spectrum. On the palate it tastes feinherb/off dry. A little chewy on the finish but certainly not uncomfortably phenolic. Pretty, vibrant, well balanced. Impressive persistence. Hint of lychees. I wonder whether the nose might develop into something a bit more interesting with time.
The image above left is the Sybille Kuntz logo, taken from their website.