Posted on 24.07.20 Wine of the Week

#WOTW: Rejoice in old vine Riesling from Australia

Ask a leading wine figure to name their favourite white grape and the chances are they’ll say Riesling, yet the show a bottle to a typical punter and it is highly likely they’ll run a mile.

When I was growing up, a German wine importer used to drive to the farm on which I grew up and flog my uncle – an occasional, but enthusiastic wine consumer – reasonably expensive, well made bottles of sweet Riesling. A teenager at the time, I thought it was, quite frankly, horrible. It put me off Riesling for years, which is a travesty, as it’s a variety sent from the heavens. In fact, it wasn’t until I properly learned about wine, doing my diploma at London’s WSET, that I realised the extent of what I’d been missing.

Germany is now doing a great job, winning over a new generation of consumers to dry/off dry Riesling and the same is true on the other side of the world, where there was probably less historical prejudice from the likes of teenage me.

Pewsey Vale Vineyard The Contours Riesling 2012 (£24 from Specialist Cellars, or Hedonism Wines) comes from the Eden Valley in South Australia, a region celebrated from its cooler climate varieties. The Pewsey Vale vineyard sits 250m above the Barossa Valley floor, with 50 hectares of Riesling planted back in 1965 in contoured rows, hence the name of this top cuveé.

The wines are aged for 5 years before release, meaning there’s that delicate whiff of petrol on the nose (a good thing, by the way…), with vibrant lime sherbet and a delicious toasty citrus brioche note. There’s complexity and a richness of fruit, but it’s also perfectly poised, with the strident acidity pulling it all into place. Given the prime location, the old vines and ageing that’s gone into this wine, it’s actually really good value and I’d be happy to enjoy it on its own, although it’s the perfect partner for a rich paté, or perhaps a Moroccan Tagine.

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