Nine vintages of Greywacke Riesling

Kevin Judd of Greywacke and friend. (Photo: Greywacke Vineyards)

Vertical tastings are very revealing. As I’ve said on other occasions they are like an archaeological dig. We learn how a wine style responds to bottle age, how a wine style has evolved over the years and learn something about vintage variation. I am grateful to Greywacke founder, Kevin Judd for sending me nine vintages of Greywacke Riesling from 2009 to 2017.

I found surprising conformity of style across the entire nine vintages.

I had previously tasted the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 vintages, all of which are on The Real Review twice (curiously I had failed to include a score on the 2010 Riesling when I first tasted it). New to me were the 2012, 2016 and 2017 vintages.

How do they age?

Riesling is a schizophrenic wine. I often find that the youthful, tangy, punchy, citrus-laden Dr Jekyll transforms into a rather mellower, toastier Mr Hyde that can often develop a whiff of kerosene. The oldest wine in the line-up, 2009, was as fresh as a daisy. The 2010 Riesling did reveal a hint of kerosene and was probably close to peak, but will continue to deliver pleasure for many more years.

Winemakers’ estimate of the drinking window of wines sealed with a screwcap tends to be fairly conservative, which is understandable because they don’t know how their wine will be stored. I estimate that screwcaps expand the drinking window by two-and-a-half times when compared to cork. My own estimates of a 7-8 year drinking window for Greywacke Riesling are very conservative. I would expect the 2009, for example, to be delicious after 20 years – given good storage conditions.

How has the style evolved?

I found surprising conformity of style across the entire nine vintages. I certainly couldn’t detect any significant changes in style. The variations that did exist appeared to reflect seasonal differences rather than any change of fruit source, viticultural or winemaking practices. Residual sugar for the 2014 and 2015 wines is shown as 20 g/l. The remaining vintages won’t be too far away from that.

I like the style very much. It has good sweet-and-sour tension, shows excellent concentration and impressive purity.

One thought on “Nine vintages of Greywacke Riesling”

  1. Michael Law says:

    Hi Bob, I concur with your view that screw tops extend the drinking life of wine well beyond winemakers’ conservative estimates. We had a gorgeous Pegasus 2009 Riesling the other night. We won’t be opening the remaining (sadly, only two) bottles anytime soon.

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