Thursday, February 9, 2012

Riesling Tasting

I attended a Riesling tasting which was part of the Frankland Estate International Riesling Tasting. As I mentioned in my last post, I don't drink sweet Riesling, but for those who do, I am reliably informed, you can't go past Framingham Wines, a New Zealand specialist producer of sweet Rieslings.

I started off with the 2011 Polish Hill and Springvale from Grossett, which I though would set a good high benchmark. So they did. The Polish Hill shows lemon and lime fruit, is dry and very linear (94 points). The Springvale, as expected, is a bit more for forward, dryness beats fruit flavour in this year, though (92 points).

The other exciting producer to me was Crawford River. The 2011 Riesling is a bit softer, but has great length (93 points).  The Young Vines Riesling is dry and quite vibrant (91 points).

Frankland Estate produces three dry Riesling, which come from vines grown on different soil. It was interesting to compare the Isolation Ridge, Poison Hill and Netley Road Rieslings, but they did not grab me. They are well made, with good acidity. I found the wines quite perfumed and battling with their dry status (90-92 points).

Other Clare Valley wines (Knappstein, O'Leary Walker, Mt. Horrocks) were a little weaker, still acceptable, but no doubt impacted by the wet 2011 vintage. Major disappointments were Petaluma and Pewsey Vale.

I tried a few German wines, but found them too fruity. The best was an 09  Gunderloch Rothenberg from the Nahe district. The Austrian Rieslings are a little different: They leave solids in the juice to increase mouthfeel and complexity. This style works for me. The Bruendlmayer  Heiligenstein showed attractive minerality (93 points), Pichler was almost as good, but the 2010 Salomon Undhof was too fruity for me.


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