(2017) Another classic, a bone-dry Riesling from the Clare Valley, there's a nice hint of the floral and beeswax side of Riesling to the otherwise fresh and limey fruit, even a hint of exotic lychee. Rippling with salt and chalk acidity, there is nevertheless plenty of lime, sliced apple and juicy Mandarin orange fruit to balance, in a long, shimmering wine.
(2017) Another delicious Riesling this, off-dry and peachy to the nth degree, it comes from one of the oldest vineyard blocks that regularly develops a little botrytis. As well as peach, a touch of candle wax and lime skins, there's a hint of smoky minerals and a hint of floral top-note in quite a complex aromatic profile. The palate is grapefruity and tangy, the hint of sweetness offset by lots of pithy citrus cut, finishing with lots of zest and bittersweet grapefruit in a hugely quaffable style.
(2017) The hallmark of all of these Riverby wines is a lovely blend of restraint and elegance, with more vivacious and ebullient fruit character, and so it is with this Sauvignon: make no mistake, this is vivacious and bears its Marlborough signature of green bean and asparagus pungency along with tropical fruit exoticism, but there's a rounding, lightly savoury aspect too. Cropped low so that it is intense, 4g/l of residual sugar adds some mouthfeel and fat but not perceptible sweetness.
(2017) Austria's Grüner Veltliner is gaining some traction in southern hemisphere vineyards - I reported recently on a small enclave in Australia's Adelaide Hills - but Marlborough has also taken to the variety. Only the third vintage for Riverby, this has succulent pear on the nose, limey citrus and a hint of mineral salts. There's a delicious weight to the fruit on the palate, texture and silkiness, the sheerness of the citrus acidity sweeps through, cutting rather more tropical fruit flavours to finish dry. A really very good expression of Gru-V. Note: price and stockist quoted at time of review is for the 2014 vintage.
(2017) The blend is 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon, the Semillon (and a small portion of the Sauvignon) fermented and matured in new French oak for eight months. Oak does not show on the nose, in fact it is the asparagus and green bean pungency of the Jacksons Road Sauvignon from Kevin's best block that sings out, just a hint of custard and delicate spice beneath perhaps. In the mouth the Semillon certainly adds texture, and flavour, creaminess, spice and butter layered with the bold Sauvignon gooseberry and grapefruit. Long and intensely concentrated.
(2017) Another beautifully realised expression of its variety, this is more Alsace than Veneto in style certainly, with ripeness, weight and texture, but Riverby has done a great job in tempering that spicy, ripe, succulent pear weight of fruit with cleansing and accurate acidity, pithy and apple-core dry, which against the burgeoning sweetness of fruit is absolutely delightful.
(2017) Riverby Estate's Chardonnay block was planted in 1989, making it one of the oldest Chardonnay blocks in Marlborough. Like all the wines in this range there's a joyous blend of restraint and approachability in this lovely wine: only 12.5% alcohol means it is crisply focused with excellent acidity, yet the fruit is ripe and bountiful, 12 months fermentation and ageing in French oak plus three more years in bottle giving nutty, golden-hued depth. It is indeed 'Burgundian' in many ways, a hint of flintiness in there too, and is supremely enjoyable.
(2017) Would I class this as semi-sweet or fully sweet? It's probably somewhere in upper Spätlese to Auslese territory (in fact, Kevin tells me it has 38/gl of residual sugar), but is a truly glorious Riesling, brimming with sweet nectarine and mango, a definite touch of Botrytis honey and barley sugar, and a zesty touch of lime peel. It has such luscious fruit sweetness on the palate, more of that peach and apricot flesh juiciness, tropical notes, and a riveting core of grapefruit acidity. It's easy to over-mark sweeter wines, but this is incredibly well done and utterly delicious.
(2017) A delightful cherry and clove spice-scented Pinot, made from various clones, some planted more than 20 years ago. A year in French oak barrels (though only around one-third new) has softened the wine without dominating, allowing a free-flowing juiciness to take centre stage, with a touch of briary, woodlandy earthiness and a nicely taut and elegant framework of tannins and more cherry in the acidity.
(2017) A selection of the best barrels of Pinot, made with fruit from the best blocks, is given a little extra time in barrel and a higher proportion of new oak. Although also a different vintage to the regular Pinot, the family resemblance is clear, with a similar profile of cherry and exotic spice, just a little extra touch of tobacco and briar from 15 months in barrel. The colour has that lovely transparency of Pinot that has not been over-done, the palate the same winning combination of agile fruit and briskness to the structure, just a touch more concentration and creaminess. At time of review Blackdog Wine Agency only has magnums at £55 on sale.