It’s the Summer of Riesling, according to riesling lovers – or at least riesling winemakers and riesling merchants.*

Riesling commands the respect of the greatest experts as well as the love of thinking white wine drinkers everywhere. It’s a great wine to drink young or aged, or at any stage in between, and it’s a great food wine.

This is demonstrated to me regularly. Most recently, it happened at a dinner at Home Hill winery restaurant in Tasmania where the awards for the 2015 Tasmanian Wine Show, which I chair, were presented.

We had before us two rieslings and a pinot gris, gold medallists all. The dishes were firstly a freshly-shucked oyster with salmon roe and champagne dressing; and secondly the scallop ceviche with a remoulade and watercress purée – pictured elsewhere in this week’s newsletter. The rieslings went superbly, especially the young one (Frogmore Creek 2014), whereas the pinot gris lacked the acid cut and structure to go with the food. 

Back to the riesling tastings. The 2014s are very good: I’ve recently uploaded 38 tasting notes for 2014s to add to the 58 uploaded back in November and a scattering which have been tasted at other times and places, lifting the total to over a hundred.

Leo Buring Leopold (tasting), Cherubino Porongurup (tasting) and Great Southern (tasting) bottlings, Hewitson (tasting), Erin Eyes (tasting), Riesling Freak (tastings), Mr Riggs (tasting) and Howard Park (tasting) have all fielded excellent wines.

But there’s no need to be hung up on the ‘14s: the 2013s are also delicious and, especially in cooler climates such as Tasmania, an extra year or two’s bottle-age makes a big difference to the drinking pleasure of young, dry riesling.

There are rieslings from other countries as well, and my biggest discovery here is the Mosel riesling which Aldi supermarkets are selling exclusively: Peter Mertes Gold Edition Mosel Riesling 2013 (tasting). At an absurd $10, this is truly a steal.

*Summer of Riesling is an annual event, now in its sixth year: a mix of riesling-related activities such as dinners and tastings, culminating in a Summer of Riesling Festival at the Cell Block Theatre of the National Art School, Sydney, on the afternoon of February 15.

There is a fair bit of zealotry about riesling, witness this from the web-site: “The world’s only true noble variety”. Uh-huh? Lovers of chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz and cabernet might not agree.

We love riesling, but we don’t need to be riesling extremists.


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