Crabtree Watervale Riesling 2001


The facts

Watervale Riesling from Crabtree.
Purchased at auction
Closure: cork
Alcohol: 12.0% abv

The waffle

None – because it’s been so long since I posted. But nonetheless – shame this wine wasn’t under screw cap …

The wine

In the glass, a really quite intense gold. If you didn’t know better you might think it a dessert wine.

The nose is quite pronounced and has more than a touch of sherry about it. I was a bit worried at first – but there’s a touch of toast and honey that comes through and a fine line of citrus, so I held my breath (metaphorically) and took a taste.

On the palate – toast, honey and grapefruit and even lemon sherbert, and a really pleasing pithy character. The acidity is lithe and persistent, pulling all those flavours along with it. The wine has a really nice textural quality. It is showing a touch of (what I suspect to be) oxidation but not enough to annoy more or prevent me from enjoying this wine.

Coming from Watervale, it goes without saying this wine is bone dry and rather steely in character.

Yet again, proof that Riesling ages splendidly. It might be an acquired taste but it’s a taste worth acquiring. And one that your wallet will thank you for.

Pewsey Vale The Contours Riesling 2010

Pewsey Vale The Contours Riesling 2010

The Facts
Eden Valley Riesling from Pewsey Vale
RRP $34
Closure: screwcap
Alcohol: 12.5%
Release date: 1 Sept 2015

The waffle

Right – after a brief flutter with regular posting, I lapsed back in to old, poor habits.

So I’ve decided the only thing I can do is write a blog post as I write a tasting note. This might mean greater brevity but maybe less waffle is no bad thing. In fact, I suspect fewer words and more posts will be a good thing.

This wine has been in the wine fridge for a while – you’ll note I received it as a pre-release sample – but it is released with five years bottle ageing. As someone who loves Riesling with age (I just added a 2001 wine to my ‘to drink’ list) I approach this wine with those biases well and truly intact.

The wine

In the glass the wine is starting to show a little gold but it still looks young and fresh.

The nose is reasonably pronounced and shows plenty of the rich kero character for which aged Riesling is renowned. There’s toast, honey and lime too.

The palate is a little more austere – acidity is vibrant and persistent and it shows lots of lime topped off with lemon curd with a medium-light mouthfeel. There’s a touch of honey about it – something I can’t quite put my finger on but along the lines of honey on slightly burnt toast. The palate is really dominated by the citrus and the length is excellent. The acidity really pulls on the flavours of the wine and draws them out so it does evolve in your mouth. The finish also has a really interesting textural element – somewhere between (the over-used) minerality and lemon pith.

Of course, there is no need to drink this wine in a hurry. Store it correctly for another 5 or 10 years and if you love aged Riesling you’ll most likely be rewarded. It’s a sad fact that if you wait 5 years you may well be able to pick this wine up for a song at auction.

Pewsey Vale Prima Riesling 2015


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?!

The wine

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.
9.5% abv.

Rhythm Stick 2012 Red Robin Riesling


As summer rolls around and the silly season kicks off I always ensure that I have a good stash of wine around the house that I can drink, share and take out and about with me without worrying about it. It might make me a bad person, but I’m not too hot on sharing my really good wine. I’ll usually crack something special on significant family occasions (only if it can be drunk before my rellies have worked their way through too many beers and reds!) but if I’m in a large group, I like to share good wine which over delivers for its price point.

I first came across Rhythm Stick Wines at least year’s (2014) Cellar Door Festival. I enjoyed the wines then and was going to buy some except that they weren’t accepting cards. I’m lucky if I have 20c on me at any one time so that was something of a deal breaker …

But when I was on the hunt for some bargain summer drinking – obviously Riesling was on my mind – and I saw that the Red Robin Clare Valley Riesling was available at Dan’s, I popped a bottle of it in my cart and placed my click & collect order.

I was really pleased when I picked it up to find that it was a 2012 Riesling. 2012 was a cracking year for Clare Valley Rieslings and it’s always good to come across one. Note to Dan’s though – really, you need to get your attitude towards vintage together – for ALL your wines. There’s a good chance I’ll buy more of this wine but no chance I’ll do it online through you since I can’t control what vintage I get. However, it’s very worth noting that you can buy direct from the producer …

My apologies for two Riesling posts back to back – however, at under $20 a bottle, this is more affordable and definitely in the every day drinking category (for those of us who can’t routinely splash $70 on a bottle of wine).

Pale gold in the glass – perhaps starting to show a little age and development.

The nose is pronounced with the distinctive rubber and kerosene characteristic that some Rieslings take on with age. There’s lemon and pineapple with a hint of both spice and flowers.

The palate is dry and citrussy with plenty of acidity and the wine shows off a really pleasant top note of honeysuckle. The wine has good length and texture. It’s very enjoyable to drink and provokes just enough thought. However, I’d avoid serving this too cold – I found that straight from the fridge the palate was a little narrow and fell short but the wine really opened up given some time out of the fridge.

As with almost all young(ish) Riesling, you need not be in a hurry to drink this.

This was purchased from Dan Murphys, $20 a bottle but you can purchase (vintage specific and even back vintage) wines direct from the winery.
Screw cap.
12.5% abv.

Loimer 2007 Langenlois Terrassen Riesling


This wine was a generous gift from a friend. I swapped a baby seat for this and a bottle of Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir (not yet drunk). Based on the Riesling alone I definitely got the better end of the deal.

The friend who gave this to me is not a particularly big wine drinker. However, unlike a lot of people who get slightly freaked out by my outside the norm interest in wine – and who promptly spend a fortune on giving me things like flowers, he did the sensible thing.

It might be a bit late to be handing out wine gift buying advice now but if you are buying for a wine lover (any time of year) don’t be intimidated by what you perceive to be either their knowledge or enthusiasm and buy them something other than wine. Even wine paraphernalia can miss the mark (seriously, do you know how many corkscrews we have? more than one for every room and that includes my favourite one which lives in my handbag). But a bottle of wine will ALWAYS hit the mark.

What you need to do is set yourself a budget and head to a serious (and most likely independent) bottle shop. You need to be in a wine shop where all the staff are enthusiasts and who will know their stock – so now is the not the time to head to the local.

The chances are you already know something about what the recipient likes or doesn’t like when it comes to wine (if you really have no idea then a voucher from the bottle shop might be the best idea but you can always ask the recipient for a few favourite wine suggestions) and armed with this, the bottle shop staff should be able to point you in the right direction.

And so … my good friend arrived with two classy bottles of wine. If the second is anywhere near as good as this, I am in for a treat!

While most of us have formed an association between Austria and Grüaut;ner Veltliner, it is hardly surprising that it should also produce quality Rieslings. I can’t pretend to be familiar with aged Austrian Rieslings but any lover of aged Riesling would be happy with this wine.

A striking pale gold in the glass with a pronounced nose.

The oily, rubbery, kero characters of older Riesling dominate the nose, but there are very subtle floral characteristics, including a touch of rose water.

The palate shows off more of the floral characters, along with a slight honeyed characteristic with a ton of acidity which pulls through a crisp, tart green apple, almost sherberty finish. Definite green apple skin, with plenty of texture, lovely mouthfeel and good length. A very moreish wine that delivers plenty of interest and very much a style of Riesling that I enjoy.

Most people will detect a hint of RS (I couldn’t find any tasting notes for the 07 which specified this) but this is more than balanced by the stunning acidity. In a sentence – green apple skin with a touch of honey and rosewater.

A gift – but it is available from East End Cellars where it retails around $70.
I failed to note the alcohol content of the wine but the internet suggests it’s 13.5% abv which I find surprisingly high. So don’t quote me on that one.

Robert Oatley 2012 Great Southern Riesling

I have a massive backlog of tasting notes, so in order to work my way through them in a timely fashion, I’m going to aim for some short(ish) reviews. Wish me luck.

I’d have to say that I’m not as familiar with the wines of Western Australia as I should be. Something I’ll have to try to rectify!

This Robert Oatley Signature Series Riesling comes from WA’s Great Southern region. If you believe the hype, it’s Australia’s new high quality Riesling region.

With Larry Cherubino Director of Winemaking at Robert Oatley, expectations should be high, even though this wine retails at under $20.

Pale straw in the glass, the nose was very restrained: unsurprisingly citrussy with just a slight floral characteristic.

In the mouth, the wine was nicely balanced: mostly citrus with some crisp green apple. The acidity was not the searing, racy acidity that regular Clare Valley Riesling drinkers will be accustomed to – and I wonder if that is going to be a characteristic of Rieslings from Great Southern.

I found the wine pleasant enough and a good reminder that I clearly drink far too much Clare Valley Riesling, but given how much I love Riesling, I also found it a little disappointing.

I wrote my tasting note on the second day the wine was open (and, apparently, after a couple of days being hit in the nose by my toddler!). I can’t for the life of me find the photo I took of the bottle, hence the use of a stock image.

The wine was purchased from Cellarbrations, Flagstaff Hill, for $17.
Closure: screw cap.
Alcohol: 12% abv.