Forever the underdog is Riesling, at least in Australia. In a way, though, it parallels our most successful grape, Shiraz, in its diversity of regional expressions. Within the generally dry style in which it is made here, there is a range of worthwhile variations across the country. Most enthusiasts have added (at least) Tasmania, Canberra and Great Southern to the Clare and Eden Valleys as regions of note for Riesling. In this case, we have a Great Southern example from the 2007 vintage.
A nose that is all about citrus flowers and talc sprinkled on a bowl of more tropical fruit. This latter, richer aspect takes a while to emerge from an aroma that, at first, seems typically austere and very much of the region. It’s one of the things I like about Great Southern Riesling — it can be so uncompromising.
This is definitely a softer expression of the grape, though, and one that is confirmed on the palate. Here, notes of mandarin and paw paw-like fruit flow over a chalky mouthfeel and a structure that is very much about steely acidity. An interesting contrast, I suppose, although there’s something a little jarring about it too. Perhaps it’s a matter of balance; the fruit here lacks the sort of intensity to do the acid justice, so structurally the wine does overreach itself a little. However, the individual elements are attractive and the whole is refreshing and terribly easy to drink. The finish in particular is long and precise.
As it sat in the glass, it seemed to tighten a little, and I found fascinating how this wine’s more generous fruit notes began to interact with its strongly textural mouthfeel. If it’s not quite coherent at this stage, the general style points in an intriguing direction.