August 2, 2009

Two Australian Rieslings

By In Food and Wine, Wine Notes

What is the big deal with Riesling? I’ve never quite understood the fixation many a journalist has with it. Not exactly a high great selling point is it when described as having “whiffs of kerosene”. If I wanted to drink lighter fluid I’d be down the underpass with the tramps. Maybe its as Simon Hoggart writes in his latest book
“Rielsing is probably the favourite grape variety of wine writers. This may be because, like rock critics, they like to demonstrate how distant they are from mere punters”

Do take a punt on these two however; they rock.

Wine Tasting Note: Howard Park Riesling, 2008, Western Australia.

Stockist: Bibendum Price: £12.49 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
The latest release from the cracking Howard Park stable. Oily lime skins explodes from the glass, mirrored on the palate too. Add a heafty dose of citrus acidity and a crisp, spritzy finish and mingle in some delicate, tropical fruit notes and a sherbet finish and you have a delicious whole.
“The 2008 season has delivered us fine and linear Riesling fruit flavours: lime juice and some white flowers from Mount Barker and tight minerally and lime skin characters from the Porongurups. A small component of Frankland Riesling of outstanding structure and acidity was included for the first time. This wine has been made with an eye to cellaring and so it will greatly reward the patient enthusiast. Secondary characters will start to develop after three years and will continue to add complexity to this wine for at least ten years. The 2008 is one of the best vintages for the Howard Park Riesling.”

Scribblings Rating – 92/100 [4 out of 5]

Wine Tasting Note: Jacobs Creek Steingarten Riesling, 2002, Australia.

Exclusive to Selfridge’s Price: £17.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
Age brings that petrol/kerosene edge that so many delight in. Australian versions demonstrate this at a more youthful stage I find than those from Alsace or Germany for example. Here, a limited release Jacobs Creek (bottle number 0873), carries a little more age and is resplendent with a smoky dimension that melds well with the lime, the creamy apple flavours and delicate spritz. Excellent long length. Delicious.

This is a museum release, exclusive to Selfridges, production limited to 3,000-4,000 cases from exceptional vintages only.

The Steingarten Riesling vineyard was first established in 1962 on the Western edge of the Barossa Ranges. It is still in use today, despite the tough and challenging growing conditions. There has been a series of additional plantings at the site over the last 45 years to increase harvest volume to a more viable level, and significant vineyard improvements to enhance final grape quality.
The Riesling grapes from this now-famous vineyard form part of the final Steingarten wine, with highest quality parcels of high altitude Eden Valley Riesling also included to finesse the style. Using sites of similar terroir ensures that Steingarten Riesling maintains its classic signature style, piercing lemon-lime fruit aroma with dry, minerally flavours finishing with great structure and length.”

Scribblings Rating – 94/100 [4.25 out of 5]

In comparison the Jacobs Creek is a little weightier than the Howard Park; both though are deliciously drinkable and accompanied a simple supper dish of pan fried mackerel with a sorrel sauce beautifully.

I’ve a clump of sorrel in my window box; no idea what else to do with the ever spreading leaves to be honest, apart from making this sauce to accoopany mackerel: after frying the fish in a little oil melt 50g butter in the same pan, add 200g of washed, de-stalked chopped sorrel which will wilt quickly. Give it a swift stir and remove from the heat. Cool for a minute. Mix in an egg yolk and a tablespoon or two of double cream. Serve. (For two people. Recipe from Delicious magazine September 2009 issue).

« :Previous Entry / Next Entry: »
Top :: Comments

  1. bibliochef August 9, 2009

    So, do you ever review (I know, I know, they are not great) Finger Lakes wines? There are some acceptable rieslings.

  2. wine_scribbler August 9, 2009

    In a word bibliochef, no. Simply because we don’t get them round these ‘ere parts…

  3. David Kelly September 23, 2009

    Great to see a write up about Riesling and nice to see that it is not only Jancis Robinson and myself who rate this extraordinary grape; but who wouldn’t when;
    1) It is one of four ‘noble’ grape varietals
    2) It is hard to grow thus not easily produced en mass
    3) It matures beautifully (yes, white wine can mature!)
    4) It has a variety of flavours, sweetnesses and characteristics.
    This really is a versatile grape to be tried and tested. Forget about the awful imports from the 70’s people and please, I beg of you, give this king of grapes a try!
    David Kelly


Go on... leave a comment...