Calling all riesling lovers! Especially those who like their riesling with a little age. I’ve just tasted five swoon-worthy Aussie rieslings that scored 96 or more points.
Now before you start accusing me of being a sucker for any decent riesling that’s got a few years under its belt, not all aged riesling is that great. I’m not a fan of the kerosene aroma, for starters.The 2015 Florita Cellar Release is a sublime wine, in that beautiful stage of life between youthful freshness and fully mature complexity.
For a wine to improve and develop into something spectacular it has to be an outstanding wine to begin with.
Here’s an example.
The Jim Barry 2021 Florita (AUD $55) is a beautiful wine, a gold-ribbon score from me, but not quite of the same level as those aforementioned wines. At least, not yet. But I’m predicting that it will be if you put it away for five or so years in a cool dark place.
Soon after that 2021 in my tasting, its older sister cropped up: the 2015 Florita Cellar Release. What a sublime wine, in that beautiful stage of life between youthful freshness and fully mature complexity. I’d call it middle-aged and in the full splendour of its life. And only a tenner more expensive than its six-years-younger sibling. The 2015 is a masterpiece of finesse, a dry style that it’s tempting to observe must have been austere when it was young. Not any more.
One of the other swoon-worthy wines was another Jim Barry effort: this time the 2019 LoosenBarry Wolta Wolta Riesling, a cool AUD $120 and like the two preceding vintages of this wine, a wonderful achievement. It has a tickle of sweetness that you barely notice, a nod perhaps in the direction of Ernie Loosen, the Mosel Valley winemaker who collaborates with the Barry family on rieslings made in each other’s countries. This one is pure Clare Valley.
In a similar class to the older Florita was a mature Eden Valley wine: Poonawatta The Eden Museum Release (AUD $45) from the very wet and cool 2011 vintage. Lots of buttered-toast and lime, a sublime drink, just 11.6% alcohol, fully mature but in no danger of fading. A stunning triumph.
So, what were the other two swoony wines?
We next dip way down south to the Derwent Valley in southern Tasmania, to the Hanigan family’s Derwent Estate. It’s more than two years since I first tasted the 2019 Derwent Estate Riesling in the Tasmanian Wine Show and it was a closed book. Too young.
Today? Magnificent. Still very youthful, but now showing glorious aroma and flavour, a faint trace of sweetness and a tremendously long palate. Beeswax, dried flowers, minerals, and just AUD $35 ex-winery. A bargain.
But wait. There’s more!
The 2017 Derwent Estate Late Harvest Riesling, astonishingly also just AUD $35 (and no, it’s not a half bottle), a magical wine that will send you straight to heaven. A family resemblance to the 2019 dry version, but it has a kabinett level of sweetness and wonderfully refined acidity in perfect balance. Peaches, honeydew melon, buttered toast and more.
Derwent Estate is doing riesling lovers a great favour in not only holding these wines back to receive the maturation they deserve, but offering them at such extraordinary prices. I cannot recommend them highly enough.