Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2004

Perhaps I’m just especially jaded this evening, but after cracking open the bottle and giving it a quick sniff, I thought yeah, it’s that grapefruit-lime rind-citron-whatever thing again. Of course, a second later I realized that that’s exactly the point: riesling generally doesn’t smell like this coming from anywhere else in the world. There’s beeswax and honey, fine talc and stoniness, and no aged characters in general at this point; the wine’s four years old, but it smells entirely fresh. OK, there could be a tiny bit of kero there, but that’s probably just residual dust from last autumn’s wildfires still hanging around the lounge. Finally, there’s just the barest hint of ripe peach there as well, fleeting and somehow atypical for Clare riesling, but distinctive all the same.Wow, this is acidic as hell when you finally get to have a taste, and there’s the suggestion of fruitiness there, but it’s here that you begin to realize that this sweet young thing ain’t sweet no more (with apologies to Mudhoney): it’s all veering away from youthful exuberant fruitiness and into something else more austere, restrained, different. It’s acidic enough to make me scrunch my face up a bit, but it works fine; there isn’t acidity on the exit, only on the entry; once the wine’s gone, you’re left with a lingering finish of lime salt caramels (somehow) and a sense of dry smoothness; it does go on for quite some time, which is remarkable.Like perhaps every great wine, the reason I broke out smiling after five minutes was simple: there’s an entire narrative shoehorned into a single liquid here. It doesn’t smell like it tastes. It doesn’t finish as it begins. As the wine begins, you think you’ve seen it all before, but then it begins shifting underneath your feet, taking you to a few unexpected places before gently fading into the end of the day.If you give yourself enough time, you could probably suss out a dozen different narrative threads here: the smoothness of French caramel, the crack of a fresh Bearss lime, the chalky comfort of talc, the hint of peach, the sea. Of course, what’s amazing here is that you can’t ever pin it down; this, after all, is what you’re paying so much for, and it’s entirely worth it.GrossetPrice: US $32Closure: StelvinDate tasted: April 2008

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