If my latest riesling tastings are an indication, the Clare Valley had an exceptional riesling vintage in 2014.
The number of superb wines to already emerge on the market is impressive: Pikes (tastings), Wilson Vineyard (tastings), Leo Buring (Leonay – tasting), Grosset (tastings), Mt Horrocks (tastings), Kerri Thompson (Wines by KT – tastings), Jim Barry (tastings), Clos Clare (tasting), Vickery (tasting) and Richard Hamilton (tasting) have all made superb wines. They appear to have the finesse and tightness to age long-term as well as the fruit to charm immediately.
So did the Canberra District, where Mount Majura (tasting), Clonakilla (tasting), Helm (tastings) and Ravensworth (tasting) hold the standard aloft. Helm has produced rieslings from Orange and Tumbarumba this year as well as Canberra. All are very good.
The aforementioned notwithstanding, it’s a little bothersome to have to mention that a ring-in towered above everything Australian. Rheinhessen royalty Keller had just one wine in the line-up, its 2013 Von der Fels Riesling (tasting), and this was my pick of the lot – an extraordinary wine. It’s not even one of Keller’s famous, super-expensive bottlings, but it takes the riesling grape to heights that simply aren’t seen in Australia.
Just a whisker behind this was a wine from our old mate Bert Salomon in Austria: Salomon Undhof Pfaffenberg Riesling 2011 is a cracker (tasting), with a level of density and extract that we seldom if ever achieve in Australia.
Oh, there was one other ring-in, but it came a sad last. A cork-sealed Alsatian wine ruined by cork-taint.