I know that plenty of people dislike these larger roundup style posts, but following on from my list of the Chardonnay hits of the summer, it seems only natural that I present 10 of the Riesling hits of the summer (with thanks from Simon Colwell on twitter for the prompt).
Again, this is a self explanatory compilation – full of Riesling highlights that have passed the desk in recent weeks. What sets this assortment apart is the sheer quality as every one is a keeper.
A special mention, though, to the superb quartet from Harewood – a super foursome which showcase the beauty of fresh, pure Riesling fruit. They’re well priced too.
F.X Pichler Ried Kellerberg Riesling Smaragd 2016
A more perfect ripe Riesling you’d be hard pressed to find. There’s an open juiciness here that is the first impression – peach skin and mango. But it’s not a heavy wine at all, no heat, no sense of fullness. Just a careful balance between fruit ripeness, acidity and a peach skin phenolic tang to finish. The overall effect is effortlessly delicious – it feels just so naturally lively, the ripeness just perfect, the acidity soft but not weak. Anyone who likes wine will appreciate this. There’s a whole other layer of complexity to come with another year or so in bottle too (hence the plus). Wonderful wine! Best drinking: Ready to go now, but in 2-3 it will be even better. 18.7/20, 95/100+. 13.5%, $200. Would I buy it? You get what you pay for here.
Harewood Estate Porongurup Riesling 2017
By contrast to the Pichler, this is a wine of purity. There’s this cyclone of taut lime juice flavours here that just flood your mouth, the acidity high but not sharp, the freshly-bottled, pure citrus flavours so perfectly represent young, exuberant Great Southern Riesling. I came back a few times and it just convinces with the controlled flow of flavour. Another exceptional wine. Best drinking: I love this style young and fresh, but it will age well. I’d drink it now though. 18.7/20, 95/100. 11.5%, $28. Would I buy it? In a heartbeat.
Harewood Estate Frankland River Riesling 2017
By contrast to the Porongurup, this has just a little bit more Caprioska-like limey juiciness. Still a tight and grapefruity style with pristine fruit, the expanse tautly controlled by sprightly acidity. It’s not a shy wine, but you’d still class it as lean and acid shaped. The balance is so good though – maximum freshness and vitality. Best drinking: Again, I’d drink this now. 18.5/20, 94/100. 12%, $28. Would I buy it? Absolutely.
Harewood Estate Mount Barker Riesling 2017
With the Mount Barker iteration the flavours take on an edge of green melon, and the fruit sweetness seems more present. It’s probably even more attractive right now than the Frankland River, but you feel that will reverse in time. Such life and energy to this. It’s like a lime juice icy and yet the acid sugar balance is just excellent. Best drinking: Now. 18.5/20, 94/100. 11.5%, $28. Would I buy it? Yes.
Crabtree Hilltop Riesling 2017
Classic Watervale. Bickfords cordial with a tangy palate that is just a little jangly, but finishes with a resounding thump of concentrated citrus flavour. Archetypal style from a cool and classic vintage and long too. Best drinking: Now, or wait for five for a more mature style. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12.8%, $22. Would I buy it? Yes.
Harewood Estate Denmark Riesling 2017
There’s a bit more cooked lime here compared to the other wines. More width. Spritzy green melon and lemon grass here too, the fruit still pristine though it feels more obvious, the acid somehow softer. Still a lovely drink. Best drinking: Open it now and revel in the freshness. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12%, $28. Would I buy it? My fourth Harewood option. Still tasty though.
Tim Smith Wines Eden Valley Riesling 2017
Water clear. A quite lean style for Tim but it feels like its built for the very long haul. It’s almost too slatey and firm but there is a great balance here between grapefruit acidity and concentrated fruit. Here is an Eden Valley Riesling archetype. Nice wine. Best drinking: Now, but it will live for the long term (just wait for five years). 17.7/20, 92/100. 12%, $25. Would I buy it? Yes.
Gundog Riesling 2017
From the Four Winds Vineyard in Murrumbateman. A tight and floral number that is backward and largely locked up tight, the flavours understated and delicate, almost too acidic. A little more ripeness would make it convincing as it is just a bit too dry and acid shaped – I find myself reaching for flavour here. The cool vintage writ large. Fresh though. Best drinking: This would be better later in the year or early next and then it will live and live. 17.5/20, 91/100+. 12%, $30. Would I buy it? A glass now, more later.
Shaw Vineyard Riesling 2017
Another taut 2017 Canberra Riesling. Limey with a liberal dash of celery. It’s just a little bit green edged, though with a super delineation of flavour to the acid lime juice flavour. I want more flesh on the bones, though again this will be better next year (and its a vital wine). Best drinking: Later in the year, then onwards. 17/20, 90/100. 12.5%, $30. Would I buy it? A glass.
Whitehaven Riesling 2016
Medium dry Marlborough Riesling. This is subtle and grapefruity, the acidity versus sweetness tension is quality, but the style still feels a little too subtle and it doesn’t quite flow through the finish. Still pleasant though. Would it have been better last year? Best drinking: Now and it will live no doubt. 17/20, 90/100. 11.5%, NZ$21.90. Would I buy it? A glass.
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Great to hear such enthusiasm for Harewood, they fly a low-ish profile but deserve to have a higher one.