2015 Steve Wilbin’s Erin Eyes Pride of Erin Reserve Clare Valley Riesling

Not exactly the most on trend packaging perhaps? About as fashionable as this blog. Thanks to Winefront for again reviewing something that probably wouldn’t be a random first choice from the shelves of summer essential Riesling. Density and softness of fruit flavour suggests care, money and time lavished on hand picking and gentle squeezing. Still fresh and full of citrus, that developing lime caramelised in a warm pan and a herby sweetness of coriander and its seed, fennel and a lick of vanilla. Pillows softly but full in the mouth and caries on fine acidity. The best sort of Clare Riesling, books and covers, eh?

12% alcohol. Screw cap. $35 rrp on release, $17 at auction, lucky.

94 points.

2021 Leo Buring Clare Valley Riesling

A new vintage with very good early words. Despite coming to the conclusion that Clare Rieslings only start to taste something like wine in the new year after vintage rather than yeasty fermented grape juice, a 95 point review from an eminence gris of Australian wine writing persuaded me to crack the cap. Oh well, what do I know, this is an inscrutable mess of yeasty smells, not much else, maybe something like Sauvignon Blanc. Nice even flow across the tongue though, fine mouthwatering acidity. Beyond that I’m not much wiser. The second day brings more. Big swell of elemental lime juice and herbs, still a lurking green Sauvignon B ending. Noticed the 11% alcohol but not a huge amount, if any, of residual sugar which does make me wonder if the fashion for picking everything a little less ripe has spread to Riesling in Australia? The weight of fruit and fine acidity are alone more than enough to put a couple away for warmer summer days. Hope the critics are right, crystal balls on the line as it were. A warm dreamy summer evening and a cold glass of mountain stream fresh Riesling are one of life’s affordable joys.

11% alcohol. Screw cap. $14.50 in a six at Dan’s.

Pick a number between 90 and 94 and hope sort of score.

2017 Derwent Estate Riesling

Don’t often buy Tasmanian Riesling but when I do, I always think I should pay more attention. Longer days ripening and cooler places do seem to coax more flavour. Opening with some developed scents of green pineapple, touch of vanilla and sort of petrol but not quite the deep kerosene of sun burnt skins. Rich in extract and flavour in the mouth, limes, honey and more of those exotic developing tropicals. The sort of sliding weight Alsace seems to do. Ends well too. Sweetly ripe acidity and a lingering perfume. Maybe a smudge of residual sugar or just deep sweet fruit weight, not sure. There’s the trick.

13% alcohol. Screw cap. $18.30 from auction, nicely done for once.

93 points.

2005 Heggies Vineyard Eden Valley Riesling

I must confess to taking risks when old Australian Rieslings come up at auction. The reliability of screw caps and their remarkable ability to develop rich, intriguing flavours provided the fruit’s there in the first place can make the odds lean in the punter’s favour. Boy, did I get lucky with this. Glorious perfumes of vanilla bean, lime marmalade, honey and beeswax fill the nostrils. Just as positive in the mouth, straight ahead and unswerving with enough stuffing to carry a deliciously scented finish. So rich and still fresh. Perhaps not the chiseled poise of the best hand picked, free run juice sorts but it’s really churlish to compare when a big company can produce such good wine for not much money. Need a Tardis to go back and buy more of these and other 2005s.

12.5% alcohol. Screw cap. $24 bargain.

93 points.

2012 Frogmore Creek Riesling

From a Tasmanian creek with more frogs therein, perhaps? Having gone nuts buying 2012 Australian Rieslings, it’s good to still keep finding them lurking amongst the dusty bottles. Riesling from Tasmania seems to produce some flavours not usually tasted in the mainland versions. Perhaps sort of a hybrid of Alsatian and the warmer bits of Germany if comparisons have to be made? This opened with exotic citrus, beeswax, then some mandarin and a honey richness. All clinging well as it passes through. With a bit more air, white peach like some of those Germans. Pithy grip, positive but not assertive acidity, any brittle edges knocked off by a well judged tickle of sweetness. Should explore Tasmania more, frogs, vineyards and wine, cool in both senses.

12% alcohol. Screw cap. About $20 to $25 a while ago.

93 points day one, loosened up to a simpler 91 day two.

2019 Crawford River Young Vines Riesling

From a very long drive away vineyard in rural Victoria, young vines now middle aged by some measures. Concentrated, full of ripe limes, autumnal apples and something exotic like guava juice? Such intensely ripe fruit dances on beautifully modulated acidity, it tugs then lets go as the fruit swells and then pulls harder to a delicious end. There’s a comforting warmth and a latent hint of some of those hard to describe old stones and herby Riesling flavours to come with time. Great growing and making. Just gets better each year.

13.5% alcohol but carries it well. Screw cap. $34 less a bit for a drink local discount. May be a long drive for a local but it’s relative in big ancient Australia

93+ points.

2015 Jim Barry The Veto Riesling

Riesling loving neighbours to dinner, fine taste in wine and generous too. The veto seems to refer to the Barry patriarch trying to keep some control when his two clever sons took over the business. Based on recent deliciousness, he should leave them to it. Rich and dry with an appealing savouriness. Mandarin, limes and stones of good weight for the lively acidity which dances on light feet. I get the feeling this is going to be extra good in time. It’s starting to loosen up but the power’s there for that rich lime marmalade on toast built on ancient chalk soil to emerge in many years to come. Wish I was as confident in my own outcome.

12.5% alcohol. Screw cap. Thanks for sharing your last bottle, D and Y.

92+ points.

2007 Heggies Vineyard Reserve Riesling

Some still think Riesling a sweet oddity, some prefer it fresh and new, some softened by age, being soft with age myself, I like it all if the grapes were good and the making careful. Thanks to the screw cap, this opened well with exotic lime fruit starting to look more cordial, in both senses, and marmalade smooth and tart. Lavender honey. Good toast for the marmalade and a pithy bitterness to cut. Acidity just right, not hard or demanding. Just lovely, ahh.

12.5% alcohol. Screw cap. $45 at auction.

94 points.

2012 Jim Barry The Florita Clare Valley Riesling

An admission, after a thirty year love affair with Riesling from the Clare and Eden Valleys this is my first bottle of Florita from a Watervale vineyard planted in 1946. Despite several years in a bottle, the first sniff was one of surly reduction in the form of that odd gum derived Indian spice, asafoetida. As it clears with air the curious direct memory link between nose and brain elicited a familiar warm pleasure without being able to put a name to recognised parallel smells. As limited intellect coped with the sensory input, things like lime, wax, old stones came to mind. Leaving half the bottle for a second day proved a good move. Any shyness gone, a glorious example of all the best Clare flavours, chiseled and distilled on the freshest laser beam of pristine fruit, all controlled by the most mouth watering of perfect ripe acidity. No raw power, just precision. What have I been missing all these years?

12.3% alcohol. Screw cap. $50 or so.

Started 94 on day one, 96 day two!

2019 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling

A retro label indulging TWE’s marketing department’s love of even more new bottles to range. This was happily part of mystery six pack from a recent clearance. Opened as an apero at a family gathering thinking it might please those lucky not to be so obsessed by wine, it was avoided in favour of more familiar spritzes and gins. Getting most of the bottle to myself over a couple of days, it turned out to be delicious. Beautifully made without the clatter of artifice Penfolds save for their red wines, my guess would be a pure expression of Eden Valley Riesling, not that a Penfolds label would let you know. Googling reveals past Autumns were indeed such with a small percentage of gross Gewurztraminer which would have been enough to suggest a pass. Prejudice aside, what was in the glass was attractive and intriguing to sniff. Sweet lime zest and exotic citrus like bergamot and yuzu perhaps. Wet chalky soil and a real depth of quality grapes. An edge of mystery perfume, fleeting and judicially applied, Gewurz maybe? The acidity is settled and counterpointed by a lick of residual sugar, just enough to add a delicious glide. The big machine that’s TWE is easy to criticise but the way incoming grapes are sorted, graded and so carefully turned into a drink is damn impressive. Preconceptions are just daft, sometimes.

12% alcohol. Screw cap. RRP low $20s normally?

92 even 93 points.