As good as they are, I often find myself seeking out expressions of Riesling that are different from our classic Clare and Eden Valley wines. Canberra and Henty are two regions that show distinctive styles in their own right, and I’m excited to think that yet more regions may have some surprises in store for us. While not to the same extent as with Chardonnay, local producers seem to be playing with Riesling style too, and it’s more common than it was a few years ago to see some wines with a bit of residual sugar, or more complex handling in the winery. I’m not sure I’ve found any such wines that I’d place above our long established benchmarks, but one ought to keep an open mind in such matters.
This wine comes from a site in Mudgee that sits 1100 metres above sea level. If Riesling likes cooler weather, then that sort of elevation is not a bad place to start. The nose suggests a good deal of austerity, with aromas that are fruity but with a good layer of chalk dust sprinkled on top. There’s an interesting contrast at work, as the fruit is quite full (think citrus flesh rather than pith) and the dryer notes quite prominent.
The palate allows this tension to play out. An apparent touch of residual sweetness plumps up fruit flavours, suggesting some tropicals alongside citrus juice. Running alongside are dashing streaks of acidity and equally prominent minerality. The structure of this wine is quite breathtaking in its severity, which would be fine except that it never quite reaches out to the lusciousness of the fruit, leaving the wine to flip-flop between fruit and acid then back again. This impression of a disconnect between two halves persists for most of the line, until the finish almost, but not quite, unifies the components in a sherbet flourish. I don’t think this is a fully achieved wine, but its angularity and genuine difference keep me coming back for another taste.
I’ve no idea how this will age, but it might be worth chucking a couple in the cellar for interests’ sake.