Felton Road riesling rocks

Felton Road (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

Felton Road was a high performer in a recent tasting of Central Otago riesling occupying three out of the top four places (Mt Difficulty Target Medium Riesling 2016 was my third pick).

Central Otago is best known for pinot noir but in my view, riesling can scale the heights of the region’s best pinot noir.

Felton Road has always made some of the region’s best riesling but vine age and, to some extent, winemaking and viticultural experience, has added flesh, complexity and power to their three riesling labels taking them to new heights of quality.

The Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2016 (NZD $39 – 98 points) is the high performer. Although it has a fairly generous residual sugar of 66 gms/litre the wine tastes much drier than that figure might suggest. Winemaker, Blair Walter’s likes to serve wine knowledgeable visitors a glass and ask them to guess the residual sugar. “They usually pick a figure between 15 and 20 gms/litre” revealed Walter. I’ve enjoyed a vertical tasting of Block 9 stretching back a decade. The wine develops beautifully.

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling 2016 (NZD $29 – 96 points) is another brilliant wine that is closer to Block 1 than the price differential suggests. It carries a similar level of residual sugar and develops similar tension with a backbone of taut acidity. A serious riesling at an affordable price.

Felton Road Dry Riesling 2016 (NZD $29 – 95 points) offers a more austere version for those who have an aversion to sweetness or perhaps plan to match it with a sweetness-intolerant dish. I miss the sweetness tension while acknowledging that this wine is a great match with raw oysters served with a squeeze of lime.

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