(2020) A little more subdued aromatically compared to the vibrant 2019, a touch of a yeasty character, then more of the florals developing. The palate has more sugar, much more of a Kabinett feel than the 2019, the sweetness set against quite pithy lemon and lime, and a long, clear finish. Price for previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Lovely sweetness suggested over the limey pure fruit. A tiny bit of a kerosene or waxy character in the background, some floral notes. Beautiful fruit, luscious and peachy, but then the tension of apple cores and citrus, a fantastic acidity streaming to the finish. Price and stockist is for a previous vintage at time of review.
(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) 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.
(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) 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.