Australian Riesling Round-Up
I felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day every time I wrote an Australian Riesling tasting note. “Minerals, acidity, lemon-lime, dry as a Brit’s sense of humor”—yes, most of the wines had some or all of these qualities. If you like this taste profile, try these wines. I found them to be very good to excellent in quality, and aside from one bottle, extremely reasonably priced. If any of the wines are sold-out through my links, try wine-searcher to check for bottles around the country, or the next vintage if the one I reviewed is no longer available. Unfortunately, I have looked back on a few bottles I tasted and discovered they are now tapped out completely in the American market.
After tasting 9 Rieslings, I conclude they offer the following:
- Reliable quality and flavor profile. Across the board, these wines are very consistent in palate. For the wine buyer who doesn’t like to purchase brands they don’t know, this is a good thing. I was a little surprised not to find more variation between the wineries or even Clare and Eden Valley, but at least you know what you are getting yourself into if you can’t find the specific bottle you want. This is also good for Australia—their wines need to achieve regional identity to attract more admirers, and this is aided by consistency.
- Good value. I found many of these wines on sale, most likely because the American wine drinker doesn’t value them. Very few people are storming the stores looking for Australian Rieslings, as evidenced by my inability to find them in local shops. I also imagine the casual wine buyer searching online, for say, white wine on sale on wine.com is not aware that for Australian Riesling, older vintages are better—this goes against the norm of white wine; shoppers may be disinclined to order them, mistakenly thinking they are over the hill. Which brings me to the next suggestion:
- Look for older vintages. The fresh-out-of-the-vineyard wines are full of acidity and could use a year or three to even begin to mellow.
- No need to drop a lot of cash. You can reap the rewards of Australian Riesling in the lower price bracket, as they are well-made wines. If you do splurge for prize wines (Grosset), get the oldest vintage you can find or hold it for several years, to really get the most bang for your buck and enjoy the qualities that make aged Riesling special.
I hope this enlightened some of you to the joys of Australian Riesling. Comments or suggestions are welcome, particularly if you have another bottle to recommend or an idea for the next Untapped Region Series!