(2017) The New World's makers of Viognier have got it right, after early renditions of this Rhône grape variety were almost inevitably too alcohol and so ripe as to be blowsy and lacking in acid. This is a fine example of when Chile gets the variety right, grown organically and fresh with scents of wild flowers, juicy peach and lemon peel. In the mouth there is abundant fruit sweetness, a free-slowing peach juice clarity, but there's fine acidity to balance, a lick of salt and squeeze of lemon, giving a crisp, moreish finish.
(2017) One of the stars of this excellent range, a prime example of the 'new' Australian Chardonnay eschewing the excesses of ripeness and oak, but at the same time avoiding becoming too lean or ungenerous. The pitch is perfect, with ripe pear and juicy melon aromas, a touch of sour green apple to give bite, and the gentlest creaminess of oak. In the mouth there's fine fruit sweetness but balanced by a great core of acidity, a lick of salt, and a balanced, long finish.
(2017) Another outlier variety from the King Valley, this is Garganega, the grape of Soave, here given extra oomph (though only 12.5% alcohol) in the Australian sunshine. It has some youthful pear-drop aroma, centred around orchard fruit, a hint of lemon and some light floral background notes. On the palate it is pure, dry and zippy, just ripe peach and apple, and a hint of drying (and welcome) saltiness in the finish.
(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) 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) 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) 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) 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.