SuperBOWL 2002 seminar 3

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A world of Riesling

reporters: Andrew Stevenson (AS), Phil Wilkins (PW) and Tom Cannavan (TC)

Tutored by Toby Owen of the Great Grog Company, this tasting had two purposes: to examine the difference that soil type can make to the character of Riesling, and to look at Riesling styles around the globe. The first four wines were all dry Australian Riesling, yet each from vineyards based on different soil types. (TC). x

These wines generously supplied by the following businesses: Raeburn Fine Wines, Great Grog Company, Villeneuve Wines, French and Logan.

Hollick Riesling 2000, Coonawarra (£8)
Attractive greenish straw. V pleasant nose – v fragrant Riesling. Nice light, fresh attack. Good, clean, fresh. Nice minerally notes. Good to VG (AS). Lovely subtle nose of lime, mineral & apple blossom. Good palate with elegant notes of apple, pear & citrus followed by some trim bracing acids. Very user friendly and a good price for the contents as well. Refreshing and with some style (PW).

Plantaganet Riesling 2001, Mount Barker, Western Australia (£8)
Much more open malic nose. V light attack. V fresh, clean. Bit simple (AS). Hints of petrol on the nose here with some odd perfumed seaside/musky(?) notes showing here and a touch of honeysuckle, grapefruit & pear. The palate seemed fine but in some ways restrained in an odd way (perhaps this was way to young) with crunchy green apple, grass and some citrus. Very dry though. However, there was something to this wine which lacked appeal to me (PW).

Gold Dust Riesling 2001, Orange, New South Wales (£10-£15)
Much duller nose, more minerally. Good clean, quite fragrant and oddly orange-y – or is that some kind of weird auto-suggestion planted in my head from the place of origin??? V pleasant (AS). Subtle nose but the overwhelming feel here was Satsuma followed by notes of blossom & mineral. Not seen that (orange note) in an Oz Riesling before. The palate followed with the satsuma zest again, very clean & bright but quite fat in the mouth following with reasonable acidity. Dunno about this, but certainly different. Does make you wonder if they chucked in a drop of Fanta into the blend though (PW).

Logan Riesling 1999, Clare Valley (£9)
Unusual nose – bit closed. Good attack. V full flavoured with an almost slightly buttery mouthfeel. V elegant finish. VG (AS). Good minerally notes here although a touch of petrol shows through with austere notes of pineapple, lemon & sweet guava. A bit simple on the palate with candied fruits, slate & spice glimpsing through but not all that convincing as a bottle of Riesling. Slightly sweet & uncomplicated for me (PW).

Schloss Vollrads Qualitatswein, Riesling, 2001, Rheingau (£8-£10)
Bit of a dull nose. Nice attack. VG fruit. Clean and elegant with a certain richness. Splendid finish (AS). Beautiful slatey / minerally / gravely like qualities on the nose here followed by ripe white fruits & a grapefruit zest finishing wash but with a slight touch of RS here. A full, firm & focused palate followed with limeflower, grapefruit pear and steely minerals and a complex finish. Nicely focused, I loved this, even with the slight RS on the nose (PW).

Marc Kreydenweiss Wiebelberg Grand Cru Riesling 1998 (£13ish)
Medium gold. Remarkably rich colour. Gorgeous nose. Slightly disappointing on palate. Good fruit, but seems a bit thin and simple. OK-ish (AS). Slight touch of petrol here and showing some maturity, but the nose seems quite Austrian plus a touch of RS. Mineral, ripe peach, and wet pebbles are noticeable with touches of other (almost tropical) ripe fruits. The palate seems quite concentrated compared to the rest of this line-up with lovely pure and concentrated fruit qualities showing ripe white currant, spice and other tangy fruits. It didn’t have real appeal to me though as the RS notes were a little of putting for me on the day. A good wine never the less (PW).

Kurt Hain Piesporter Domherr Riesling Spatlese Trocken 2001, Mosel-Saar-Ruwever (£6.29)
Lovely fragrant Riesling nose. V crisp and clean on attack. V attractive. Blast of apricots on finish and after – almost an artificial apricot flavour. Give me a proper Spatlese instead of these trocken variants … (AS). Trocken eh? Not to me. The nose had a blast of sweetness to it, which I find, very off putting. A touch of ripe grapefruit, lemon drops some mineral that seemed slightly confected for me. The palate didn’t score much better in my opinion, but non-soak dried fruits came to mind in a fig, apricot & citrus peel sort of ‘boiled sweet’ way. I’m always a little nervous of most Spatlese Trockens although I’m not sure why, perhaps the ripeness of the fruit may have something to do with this. If you like this style then perhaps this will be a good wine for you. I’ll pass (PW).

Pichler Durnsteiner Kellerberg Riesling Smaragd 1998, Wachau £31
V big nose – creamy richness – v. attractive. Massive attack. V full indeed. V concentrated Riesling fruit – but quite different to the essence that you might find in the finest M-S-Rs. Lovely wine, shame about the price (AS). This isn’t how I remember a FX Smaragd Riesling from this great vineyard although I have little experience with the ‘98’s. I’ve often drunk either side of this vintage (’97 & 99). Just a massive hit of RS here… geez, what a pity as I couldn’t really get past this. The palate showed very, very ripe stone fruit qualities – peach, pear and almost red currant with other rich tropical fruits together with a (thankfully) refreshing cut of mineral and some spice. The acidity seems to have faded somewhat leaving a bit of a flabby, alcoholic & over bearing wine to drink. Not sure how representative this bottle was (PW).

Monchhof Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese Fuder 30, 2001, M-S-R (£13.92)
I always think Monchhof/Eymael is rather underrated and offer good value, but haven’t come across a single cask Auslese from them before. Seems a restrained nose. Fabulous attack. Spicy apricots. Huge finesse and elegance. Beautiful finish Pure Mosel Riesling with Auslese quality. Could easily finish a bottle of this watching the sun go down (AS). This is more like it. Just a stunning, complex & very unusual nose showing bergamot, rose petal and intricate fruit tones and only 8%! Almost in an Old World meets New World sort of way. The palate is incredible with the purest fruit, subtle spice, red bell pepper and mineral transforming this wine into something very special indeed. This seemed ready to drink to me. My wine of the tasting. An incredible, completely unexpected and a remarkable wine with a fabulously delicious long finish. Actually descriptives escape me on this one and I’d love to read others notes on this wine (PW).

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