I am not a woman who turns her nose up at some residual sugar (RS, if you want wine-geek talk) in a wine.
This doesn’t mean I get excited by a run of the mill Moscato, or an overly sweet and confected rosé or indeed any wine which has been crafted with the 18-24 ladies in mind.
But RS can be such a clever and beautiful thing in wine and I, for one, am so happy that the Riesling pendulum is regaining some equilibrium. Yes, those austere, limey Clare Valley Rieslings are lovely in their vaguely terrifying way (I say that affectionately) but leave a touch of sugar in the wine and it can transform what is in your glass.
It’s not surprising I am a fan of German Rieslings and many of the Australian Rieslings which are embracing this (the RieslingFreak No 8 is a standout on this front). The Pewsey Vale Prima has been at the vanguard of what is hopefully a trend.
This was the very first wine I used in a WSET course when I needed an off dry Riesling. Before ‘off dry Rieslings’ attempted their moment in the sun. It is consistent – consistently good. I’m a fan.
Riesling ages beautifully, dry or not. But the off dry Rieslings have the added bonus of being very light on the alcohol. Yeast converts sugar to alcohol. The grape juice has all that sugar in it. If you ferment it all out – you have a dry wine with higher alcohol. Don’t ferment it out and the chances are you have a slightly lower alcohol wine. This baby comes in at just 9.5% alcohol with ~ 25g/L of residual sugar.
Given the human tongue starts to detect sugar around 4g/L that’s quite a lot for our tongues to deal with so the wine needs to have some serious acidity otherwise we’ll feel like we’re drinking golden syrup. And, of course, acidity is what Riesling does well.
Can you tell how excited Riesling makes me?!
Very pale in the glass with a reasonably, but not excessively, pronounced nose. Very typical Riesling – rosewater, Turkish delight, honeysuckle with some lemon/lime in the background. Super appealing.
To describe this wine in one word, the word we choose is ‘sherberty’. Whether that is an actual word is irrelevant, as it captures the awesome combination of acidity and sugar we find in the wine. It’s a combination of crisp green apple, that green apple skin, some slices of that apple that have had a good dunking in lemon and lime juices. This all means that the sugar is not immediately apparent or overt. The mouth feel is amazing and the wine has great length.
My wine tasting note does actually include the words ‘absolutely delicious’ and ‘bloody excellent’.
$26 a bottle. I don’t get it. I really do not get why Riesling is never the ‘it’ drink. I don’t get why people pay the same money (or even more) for wines that are less exciting.
Anyway, I suppose that is a good thing – Riesling stays ludicrously cheap and there is always a hefty supply of it (much of it in my cellar).
Pewsey Vale Prima Riesling, sample. RRP $26.