The Story Wines Whitlands Close Planted Riesling 2015
One of the annoying things in Australia is that we still value wineries considerably more than Vineyards.
To see evidence of this you only need to look at how winemakers are treated like rockstars – even when they don’t have any vineyards – while viticulturists are seen as simple farmers. It’s an odd situation that largely ignores terroir (and is still slow to change).
I had that in mind after trying this superb Riesling, which comes from a close-planted vineyard I’ve never heard of and in a location not known for Riesling. A site that likely deserves more attention, but historically would have been blended away into a wine simply labelled as ‘Victoria’.
Rory Lane calls this wine a ‘regional departure’ as his previously source for Riesling, the Barratt Vineyard in Henty, is no more. On the hunt for cool-clime fruit, he got word of a vineyard next door to Brown Brother’s Whitlands site with some handy Riesling. That led to the Croucher Vineyard – a close-planted block planted on volcanic soils in the mid-1980s at 800m above sea level.
Of interest is the numbers here – pH 2.90 (mad low pH), TA 7.6g/L (shedloads of acidity) and RS 8g/ltr (a dash of sweetness). That residual sugar may seem token, but it is enough to make this bone dry, grapefruity white rather well-balanced. It’s a grippy wine too, yet retains the delicacy of a cool climate Riesling, lifted up by a faint whiff of sherbet. Delicious.
Normally I’d expect a shutdown for an Australian Riesling at the 2yr mark, but this is in wonderful form, the sugar/acid/flavour balance uncommon in domestic Rizza, and just a step behind the best Germanic wines in depth and glory.
Ripper wine. Best drinking: 2017-2040. 18/20, 93/100. 11.8%, $29. Would I buy it? Sure would. Well priced and delicious.