First taste: Clos Clare & Shobbrook 2011 Rieslings, plus other cracking Aussie Rieslings
I arrived in Tasmania yesterday, my first visit since 2004. Really looking forward to exploring this great natural beauty over the next week in and amongst sessions at the International Cool Climate Conference.
This week I’m based in Hobart (harbour pictured), so visiting southern producers, yesterday, Craigow, today Pressing Matters among others. Jeffrey Grosset selected wines from both as Tasmanian benchmarks for his Landmark Seminar on Riesling (see my report here).
In anticipation of a bit of a Riesling-fest this week I sought, and found, some cracking Rieslings at last week’s Australia Trade Tasting in London. Here are my notes:
Jacobs Creek Steingarten Riesling 2002 (Barossa, South Australia)
I’m a huge fan of Steingarten, especially in cool vintages like 2002. This wine kicked off the Old Vines & New Wines seminar – what a start! Gold but still showing youthful green glints and, sure enough, a fabulously fresh, poised, tightly focused palate. A ripe but mouthwatering, mineral sluiced palate shows great concentration and purity of fresh lime with subtle hints of lime oil and is underscored by a tight seam of slatey minerals and more expressive, perfumed bath salts. Very long and fine; an exquisite, powerful classic dry Aussie Riesling.
Shobbrook Wines Riesling 2011 (Eden Valley, South Australia)
Tom Shobbrock has been making waves with his low intervention wines and scooped the Gourmet Traveller Young Winemaker of the Year Award in 2010. This wine is fermented with natural yeast in old 600l barrels. In 2011, a cool, wet year, it displays whip sharp acidity on the attack – bracing, but utterly invigorating, with tase bud etching lemon pips/sherbert lemon and a balancing trace of sweet lemon puff. Long, tight and lean on the finish. Bring on the oysters!
Shobbrook Wines Riesling 2010 (Eden Valley, South Australia)
Much less linear, broader, textured and spicy with an attractive greenness for balance and and bite. Lots of interest here; finishes long and limpid with a saline edge.
Larry Cherubino The Yard Ad Hoc Wallflower Riesling 2009 (Mount Barker, Western Australia)
Cherubino makes a number of different Rieslings and this, his off-dry entry level wine, is designed to tempt those who find the likes of his more classic tight, mineral Porongurups Riesling too austere. It’s a total charmer, the nose nicely evolving with hints of honey, petrol and apple sauce which follow through on a juicy, long, precise finish, with minerals, honey and a lick of salt.
Clos Clare Watervale Riesling 2011 (Clare Valley)
When the Barry brothers (Jim Barry’s sons Peter, Mark and John) acquired the historic Florita vineyard (from whence came John Vickery’s famous Leo Buring Rieslings), they sold off a small 5 acre corner of it to help finance the purchase. Jeffrey Grosset made the wines on behalf of owner Ian Sanders. In 2007, Peter and Sue Barry reacquired it for their children, Sam, Tom and Olivia. I reckon Jim Barry would be proud of his grandchildren’s wine. With its brown flute bottle, it’s got a distinctly retro look and I could have sworn it had been made with a touch of lees and a bit of splashing, but apparently not. At any rate, it has a really attractive talcy/soft mineral quality cut with a tight and bright squeeze of lime with sorbet-like clarity; taut acidity lends gravitas. A cool customer – not as generous (fruit overt) as many a Watervale. Very good.