We have been experiencing increased interest in dry Riesling over the last few months, a grape variety that is often overlooked by many wine drinkers. In this weekend’s FT article Jancis Robinson called Riesling her ‘great white hope’, unreservedly averring it as the ‘world’s greatest white wine grape. Not Chardonnay.’ Jancis posits that Riesling is much better with food, preferable to the ‘often oakier Chardonnay’. Riesling is a truly great variety, it expresses very strong flavours, something Jancis credits as characteristics that often ‘puts people off’, along with its perceived sweetness, a legacy of Germany’s QBA system. Germany, Riesling’s greatest wine producing area is so far north it is difficult to ripen berries and as a result the classification system is based on ripeness or sugar levels achieved at harvest. However, today many great Rieslings heralding from Germany are now bone-dry, the region is moving with the times.
Jancis writes that Australia is ‘the world’s second most prolific grower of Riesling, after Germany’. The climate is much warmer, capable of easily ripening Riesling, as such almost all Australian Rieslings are bone dry, discluding any need for sweetness and as a result higher alcohol, leaning towards 11.5 to 13%. In my experience, Australian Riesling exhibits all of the tell-tale and desirable perfumed, aromatic profiles of Riesling, lime and citrus characters with hints of tropical fruits like pineapple and moreover develops the glorious petrol, kerosene aromas earlier than its German counterparts; like their nation, the wine is more gregarious. The two leading regions in Australia are Clare and Eden Valley, which exhibit slightly cooler climates perfect for Reisling and are well known for their ability to age at least ten years in bottle, the best far longer.
In said article, Jancis recommends the superb Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2013 from Clare Valley, a wine she scores a staggering 18.5/20. James Halliday, Australia’s leading wine critic raves about their 2013 effort scoring it a magnificent 98 points.
Jeffery Grosset established the winery in 1981, in the historic town of Auburn in Clare Valley, which is cited 100km north of Adelaide. Grosset selected the site in a ‘U’ shaped dip in the Polish River sub-region, thereby establishing the single vineyard called Polish Hill, which has been voted as one of the 25 greatest vineyards in the world. The eight hectare Estate rests on the U shaped slope, which is over 500 million years old. The site is described as a ‘hard rock’ site, with little limestone, yet the terrior comprises of silt and shallow shale slate, over a thin crust of clay and gravel. This high preponderance of slate and classic ‘hard rock’ means the vines have to struggle for nutrients and therefore the bunches and berries remain small, the fruit flavours are delightfully lean and austere. Polish Hill mimics many of conditions found in the leading Riesling areas of Germany. As such Polish Hill is the benchmark Australian Riesling, bridging old and new world styles; it is appealing to old world lovers who recognise many of the melon, lime and mineral characteristics of German Riesling, combined with herbs, lavender and a wonderful backbone of minerality.
Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2013 is a wine to try, own and savour, it will drink beautifully now and age and improve for a decade. It comes highly recommended by two of the world’s leading Riesling tasters. We are delighted to be able to offer the wine at under £25 a bottle including VAT and duty and after five years of its release the price generally doubles.
Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2013
12×75 – £225 or £299.52 incl. duty and VAT
6×75 – £115 or £152.76 incl. duty and VAT
James Halliday – 98 points
Light straw-green; has a degree of perfumed fragrance that immediately sets it apart from the other ’13 Clare Valley rieslings, and a thrilling burst of hyper-intense lime/slate fruit. Despite these pyrotechnics, the wine has the elegance of the finest china. Yet another example of the riesling mastery of Jeffrey Grosset.
Jancis Robinson – 18.5/20 points
33rd vintage. Ripe, succulent, very very bright and compact fruit. Like an over-packed suitcase – the flavour is just waiting to burst out. Needs a good deal of time. A tangible, undeniable mineral character here – slate, granite.
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