A trio of impressive rieslings
After a day tasting 50 or so rieslings, three stand-out wines made their way into my fridge for a second-stage review, this time with food. I have a policy of not amending tasting notes or ratings after the first review. It might tilt the playing field.
An important feature of my riesling tastings is to taste them in ascending order of sweetness. I’ve seen too many dry rieslings suffer when they follow sweeter samples at wine competitions. I ask wineries to indicate grams per litre of residual sugar. Most are happy to comply. I have to guess the rest.
The driest of the three wines was the 2016 Two Rivers Altitude Riesling from Marlborough. 11 months in French hogsheads barrels has added weight and complexity to the wine, giving it an edge over other wines in the ‘dry’ section of my tasting. This really is a distinctive and appealing riesling. I enjoyed the wine very much with salmon that had been baked with slices of lemon. The dish seemed to make the wine taste richer and softer. (NZD $36)
The 2016 Black Estate Damsteep Riesling from Waipara has just 5 g/l of residual sugar, which in technical terms puts it on the upper edge of dry. In fact, the wine is mouth-wateringly dry thanks to assertive, but not at all hard, acidity. Like the Two Rivers wine, it has good weight and richness with a slightly riper flavour profile. Roast chicken was a little too rich for the wine, a seafood dish might have been better, Bluff oysters with a squeeze of lime would have been perfect. (NZD $27)
Finally, the 2013 Seresin Memento Riesling from Marlborough is technically medium-dry with 23 g/l RS. This is my favourite style of riesling. I like the acid-and-sweet contrast that develops a thrilling tension. A few years in bottle has obviously done the wine no harm, in fact, it could get even more interesting with further bottle age. Savoured without the complication of food – delicious! (NZD $24)