Sunday, November 29, 2009

Clare Valley 2009 Rieslings

The poll for your favorite summer wine is now closed, and Riesling won convincingly. I have to oblige and talk about Riesling then. Well, I had the good fortune to visit the Clare Valley today, so please read on.

First a confession, however. I like my Rieslings Chablis-style, i.e. very dry and linear, can have some minerality, but basically lime/citrus from beginning to end. As a result, I only enthuse about a small number of Rieslings. And so it was on this tour.

Two Rieslings of the ones I tried stood out for me. The 2009 Pike Traditionale Riesling is from Polish Hill. It is a very straight forward Riesling with citrus/lime pflavours, a zesty feel to it and a dry finish: a great summer seafood wine. The other was the 2009 Kilikanoon Mert's Reserve Watervale Riesling. This wine is a bit more complex and has slightly more weight, but also has a steely character with a linear structure and a lengthy dry finish.

In the next bracket fall the 2009 Paulett Antonina Riesling, a reserve bottling from Polish Hill, which has more floral flavours, also some slate and quite an acidic finish. The 2009 Wilson Vineyard Polish Hill Riesling is not as lean as the Pike, but in similar style. And finally I liked the 2009 Olssen Riesling from Watervale.

I was disappointed with the 2009 Mt. Horrocks and the Skillogalee Rieslings. I have sometimes enjoyed these in the past, but in 2009, the wines are too sweet for me, although they have an acidic finish. Worse was the 2009 Paulett Polish Hill Riesling, which lacked definition and structure and the same applies to the 2009 Wilson Vineyard DJW Riesling.

Overall, a mixed outcome, but if you try hard enough, you find something to like. As far as the 2009 vintage is concerned, it is not bad, but probably not quite up to 2008. I would probably find two or three Rieslings from Eden Valley I would put ahead of those reviewed and I missed out on the Grosset wines, but I think I will buy some Pike.


Chris Plummer said...

I gotta agree about most of your findings here Alontin, especially about the Mount Horrocks and Skillogalee. Kilikanoon is certainly emerging as one of Clare's best makers of riesling too in my opinion.

How'd you find the Polish Hill sub-region? I think it's absolutely breathtaking, some of the most beautiful scenery in Australian wine. The view from Pauletts is amazing, just wish the wine was the same....

Chris P

Alontin said...

We had a partly overcast day, so the view from Paulett was indeed amazing with the green vineyards and wheat fields below you, partly sunny, partly covered by dark clouds. It certainly detracted from the wine - a desirable outcome.