(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) Riverby's Riesling vineyard is one of the oldest in Marlborough, and this 2011 wine is in a perfect place, the nose showing a gentle waxiness, pollen, and a lime peel touch of both citrus and exotic fruit. In the mouth it brims with apple fruit, definitely on the dry spectrum, but not the austerity of Eden Valley Riesling for example with just a touch of sweetness and a more waxy and generous, quite broad texture too.
(2017) My first tasting of a Gewurz from Riverby and it is a very good one. Cicada is an occasional brand used by Kevin Courtney when a wine is made from purchased, rather than estate-grown, fruit. This is made in an unashamedly opulent style, all about aromatics, sweetness and full, fat texture in the mouth. Classic aromas of Turkish delight and talcum, rose petal and some waxy exotic fruit peel lead on to a mouth-filling, spicy wine where the expansiveness of the flavour and texture is matched by very good acidity as the spiciness of the variety powers through. A banker for spicy Szechwan or Thai food, maybe even light fruity desserts.
(2017) A few rows in one of Riverby's prime Riesling vineyards have a track record of developing 'The Noble Rot' and so are left on the vine long after the regular harvest. This is unoaked, the full aromatic panoply of beeswax, nectarine, more exotic mango and intense honey and barley sugar allowed to really sing. In the mouth the intensity gives this 11% alcohol wine huge presence: concentrated and sweet with 200g/l residual sugar, the luscious peach and nectarine, sliced through by a delicate but absolutely authoritative lime acidity. Terrific. Price for a half bottle and note: price and stockist quoted at time of review is for the 2014 vintage and if you are lucky enough to fly Air New Zealand Business Class, you can try it there.
(2010) Terrifically clear and pure on the nose, this citrus-scented Riesling also has little nuances of white flowers and wax, and some salty, mineral notes. On the palate it is clean as a whistle, with the sweetness of ripe fruit giving some easy-drinking appeal, but it is all swept up in a decisive acidity as shimmering, intense but delicate flavours linger on the palate.
(2010) This is an off-dry and lovely Riesling, with a nose of beeswax and honey with a lime blossom elegance. The palate has a touch of residual sugar sweetness that makes this quite rich and mouth-filling, but the zestiness of the lime fruit and orangey, grapefruity acidity is retained, giving a long finish balancing that sweetness nicely.
(2010) Pinot Gris is very much on-trend amongst Marlborough's winemakers, and this example, weighing in with only 12.5% alcohol, has a suggestion of tangy fruit on the nose with orchard fruits and a touch of straw-like character. On the palate this is off-dry, with a nicely medium weight and quite mouth-filling fruit. The citrus acidity is well-balanced, in a very fresh, appetising style of Pinot Gris, that nicely balances sweetness and savouriness.
(2010) >From 19-year-old vines, this wine was fermented in barrel and aged in French oak for 11 months, though only 35 % of the barrels were new. A depth of brazil nut and coffeeish toast marks the nose powerfully, with ripe orchard fruits beneath and a hint of exotic spice. On the palate the fruit is packed and ripe, with lots of lemony juiciness and the toast and opulence of the oak broadening the finish. The ripe, sweet fruit core pushes through in a stylish, well-balanced Chardonnay.