It’s a rizza-fest

Riesling grapes (Photo: Wine.com)

Riesling is one of those white wines that really appreciates a bit of time in the cellar. It’s nice young, for sure, but even three or four years can add an extra layer of character to a good wine.

Several semi-mature rieslings popped up in my latest riesling tasting, much to my delight. Naked Run Place In Time 2012 took top honours, with 97 points, but Mesh 2012 Classic Release, and Pauletts Aged Release 2011 weren’t far behind. A little younger but still showing the benefit of some development were Charteris The Hunt Vineyard 2015 (from Central Otago), and two 2015 Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyard wines: the Langi Riesling and the Cliff Edge, both of which showed an intriguing, exotic struck-flint character.

The three oldest wines are only available in tiny quantities and then probably only at cellar doors – the Naked Run is just 64 cases! It’s produced by Steve Baraglia, the winemaker at Pikes. Say no more.

These wines left me wondering why the great Clare and Eden Valley producers don’t routinely re-release their top wines the way several Hunter semillon producers do. Henschke does have a museum release program, and now it seems Mesh has started one, as the 2012 is their first issue.

There are many more superb rieslings in the latest batch. The Pooley Margaret Pooley Tribute 2017 is another cracking riesling from this top Tasmanian winery. (The back-label says the Pooleys are Tasmania’s first third-generation family wine company.) It’s made from the old vines on the original property Cooinda Vale and is only produced in the best vintages.

Henschke’s Julius 2017 is right on form. So is Ferngrove Cossack ’17 and Naked Run’s ‘17 wins a gold-ribbon as well. So too another Taswegian, Sam Connew’s Stargazer, and Frank van de Loo’s Mount Majura, from Canberra. I could go on.

Special mention must be made of a batch of German rieslings from the importer Heart & Soil. These included some Von Hövel wines from the Saar (Von Hövel is almost as famous as Egon Müller for its Scharzhofberger wines), a couple of Keller 2016s (the Pius Beerenauslese is extraordinary) and a newie for me, Joh. Bapt. Schäfer, in the Nahe region. Schäfer’s trockens, 2015 and ‘16 vintages, were superb, especially the wonderful Pittermännchen ’15 Grosses Gewächs (AUD $115).

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