The endless festival of Riesling


The 2013 Riesling Festival has not stopped. Indeed it smoothly merged into the 2014 season.

I make no excuses; Riesling is the fuel that supports my search for taste and flavour. Many know already, the Queen of Whites, like no other wine varietal expresses terroir, its origin, soil, flavour signature, climate and vintage more distinctively.

In all modesty, my cuisine or at least what I am striving for in cooking is like Riesling. It starts with a perfect produce, minimum handling, just being the conductor allowing nature to happen, to express itself, of flavours to develop. Riesling is pristine, honest, composed, noble and full of depth. Riesling ages well, (so here we differ). Riesling consequently develops ever more character and greatness. In comes in many different styles and grades, a fact that only heightens its appreciation, so can be confusing to tasters.

I am going to write much more about the ‘greatest white wine grape in the world’ (according to Jancis Robinson, MW). In the meantime here are some tasting notes for those interested.

I am the apprentice here, but rest assured, and as I suggest to interested readers in the subject of cookery, practice, practice and more practice will make us ever more consummate cooks and tasters.

My tasting notes 2013


Hard work, as anyone can imagine. Unlike James H, I don’t spit. And no free lunch for me either, but I did go to numerours tastings. (Keeps the budget in check and the missus happy. As in happy wife, happy life).


Clare Valley

2008 Jim Barry ‘The Florita’
Lemon and lime with a floral lift. Complex layers of citrus with allusions of mandarin and kumquat, perhaps tangelo. Palate of mineral and bath salts, honeydew + banana.  Animating acid structure. Smooth and lustruous final.

2012 Skillogalee
Aromatic lift of kaffir lime and white blossom florals. Focused palate, citrus, like lime and grapefruit. Lean tight minerality and natural acidity. Dry, lingering finish.

2010 Pikes ‘The Merle’
Floral and delicact Zesty citrus and musky spice. Savoury steeliness. Pristine varietal/ regional personality. Concentrated, yet fresh and light with fine texture and dry powdery finish.

2005 Twofold
Cis-rose, candied lemon, white blossom, rich and minerally, plenty of secondary characteristics unfolding, savour and fine linear acid

2006 Pauletts
Complex honey and toast, yet youthful and balanced with purity of fruit showing lemon and spice and lively acidity, great length, soft finish

2012 Jim Barry
Slatey, grapey with tangelo, kaffir lime and pink grapefruit, mouth filling, precise and grippy mid palate showing  guava + papaya notes.

2012   Grosset
There can’t be more cis-rose and white blossom in a single bottle. Lime + lemon pith, savoury and slatey. Linear, pristine and balanced with great finesse.

2012   Knappstein ‘hand picked’           
Aromas of lemon peel, lime juice and distinct sweet spice, focused, citrus palate. Textural, complex and smooth drinking ,styled to be ueber-approachable upon release. Other Clare’s are more austere, perhaps this wine is not for cellaring.

2005 Mitchell ‘McNicol’
Preserved lime and hints of sweet spice plus some infinitesimal white pepper. Fine minerality and acid structure allowing for delicious drink flow. Magnanimous and multi-layerd mid palate. Refined Intensity that comes with determent length.

2006 Mitchell ‘McNicol’
Austere, acid back-bone, flat finish

2008   Knappstein ‘hand picked’
Citrus fruit and floral aromatics. Musk and talc, a bit of honey suckle showing. Care Valley mineral structure, lemon & lime. Textural through aging, showing juiciness and purity.

2012 Matchbox Wine Co
Lime blossom fragrance, explosive lemon punch, fresh and minerally driven. Pure, balanced and energetic. Hand-picked, wild fermented, matured on lees for eight month to gain food worthy texture.

2011 Leasingham Bin 7
Bouquet of fresh lime juice and talcum. Vibrant, juicy and very frizzante with lemon and lime flavours. Wet stone mineral. Refined and focused

2012 Clos Clare  
Thrillingly vibrant and floral, a riot of citrus blossom, pink gfruit and spice. Racy and linear in the mouth, long, fresh and refined right through the finish

2007    Tim Adams           
Pristine, crystal-clear, slightly slatey note, delicious, a bit reductive, , linear with nicely integrated acidity and complete finish.

2013  Rieslingfreak No 5
Expressive nose of citrus salad, minerals and spring garden. Off dry in OZ terms, delicious drink flow, dry powdery finish.

2008   Leaingham ‘Magnus’
Citrus and floral aromatics, toastiness and linalol.  Crisp juicy acidity adding vibrance to some underlying signs of maturing. Richness through minerals at the finish.

Eden Valley

2006  Peter Lehmann ‘Wigan’
Rarely have I opened an R that seemed  so unapproachable, maybe faulty without detecting a fault except thinking that the Stelvin was defective, but no dis-colouration. It showed age, faint kero, plus honey and toast. It kept improving until gone on day three and got ever more delicious. Expansive layers of flavours and textures, it had shape and definition.

2007   Pewsey Vale ‘The Contours’
Developed fruit and age,  honeysuckle and toastiness, fruit-driven, long and concentrated.

2012     Mesh 
Crystal clear, light straw, faint hey. Floral, flint stone and smoke followed by dry herbs. Zesty citrus incl. lemongrass + grapefruit. Herbal. Steely, talc with salty mineral aftertaste. Stylish, balanced and elegant + long dry finish.

2011    Steingarten by JCW
Very pale green hues. Slender if not austere throughout. Crushed lime leaves and jasmine. Precise, steely acidity + fine minerality providing shape and length.

2013   Head
Bitter lemon pith and rind, phenolic grip balanced by somewhat creamy texture.

2013 Woods Crampton
Clean, lean and brilliant in all aspects. Lemon zest, lilac and minerals dominate a slightly herbaceous nose. Subtle flavours, lime flesh and white peach, steely acidity. Like to drink this in 12 to 15 years.


2013  Best’s Great Western
Lime and lemonade somewhat elevated by white blossoms on the nose. Lime and melon, some minty-ness, lush and full with a chalky textural finish. Superb!

2012    Valere
Citrus and a hint of baveuse camembert leesiness. Chalky, with lemon fruitiness and pleasent acid balancing residual sugar. Creamy and smooth final.

2013     Dal Zotto
You think if they can make great prosecco they should be able to produce decent R. And yes, they do. A seemingly more developed, riper style powered by tangy acidity. Exuberant nose showing flowers, citrus, honeysuckle and talcum. Minerality that shows KV terroir I believe. Energetic, rich but light on its feet.

2012    Best’s Great Western EVT 51
Eric Vivian Thompson at his best! That should not require further tasting notes. But for non-believers, here they are. A wine with riper flavours and softer acidity. Displays a perfume of rich fleshy grapes adding dimension to the palate. Some interesting concoction of spice, not from terroir I suspect, but from oak. Exuberant flavour facet’s throughout. Like most superb wines it gets better after a day of being opened and even better the next should someone has such discipline.

2001    Pizzini
Everything you expect from an aged R. And more. Honeysuckle, depth of fruit dominated by baked apples. Toasty deliciousness and medium weighty viscosity supported by well-integrated acidity. No sign of loosing fruit and vibrancy throughout drinking.  Superb!

2013   Pizzini
Style and elegance! Refined nose of lime and green apple with lifted floral and mineral aspects. Vivacious yet linear, tight energetic and fine-textured, finishing with well-defined racy acidity. Cellar plenty for the next 15 years.

2013    The Story, Henty
Off-dry. Lemon sherbet and honey dew. Creamy texture with impressive extract. Citrus driven mid-palate balanced by stimulating acidity mineral dryness.

2006     Chrismont     
Golden and pristine, varietal, pink grapefruit, soft and juicy with savoury intensity, toast, honey and linseed, refined acid structure

2005   Crawford River
Concentrated minerality and matured ripe fruit nose. Apple aroma, citrus with mandarin expressing freshness and immediacy. If there is perfect balance in a wine, the CR 05 has it. And savoury elegance and softness with complexity. After sound is uplifting and suave.

Canberra District

2008       Shaw ‘premium’
Golden, delicious nose of honey, toast and shy aromas of kero. Smooth, a bit textural. Settled acid structure, delicious long finish


2011 Kate Hill
Apple blossom aromatics (seems to be very TAS) fresh cut apple a bit of ruby grapefruit provide delicacy. Finishes with a nice zing driven by balanced acidity and minerals

2012 Bay of Fires
Is there a smell of fermented fruit? Apple, like in German R, lean and tight, rampant mineraliness, dry citrusy finish, musk, luscious, a bit residual. Bit of a Kabinett!

New South Wales

2012 Angove Long Row Riesling
Floral nose, tropical notes.  Lime and citrus palate, soft and somehow one-dimensional

Western Australia

2011 Xabregas ‘Figtree’
Peach and apple custard, spice, steel and citrus layers. Palate is ripe, fruity and lingering, a bit residual, yet firm acid backbone

2009     Cherubino ‘The Yard’              
Zippy and zingy. Voluminous preserved lemon and floral bouquet. Fruit-driven, acid-structured and rich with tropical undertones. Great length.

2012    Castle Rock Estate
Citrus driven nose with uplifting orange and white bloosom aromas. Slatey, with focused acidity displaying variatel definition. Somewhat tropical, slender, yet terrific extract.

2013   Duke’s Vineyard ‘Magpie Hill Reserve ‘
White peach, flowery and faint bubblegum, delicious and restrained nose. Soft and juicy mid palate. Pleasant and delicious with underlying soft acid and a clean soft finish.

2012   Jamshed ‘Garden Gully’
Seriously off dry (some 20gram RS), concentrated with a clear line of acidity and a pleasant mineral structure.

Neuuve Zealand

2012 Spy Valley
Marlborough is good Riesling country, honeysuckle and somewhat aromatic, smooth and textured, soft acidity (is there some barrel fermentation?) apple there is.

2010    Pyramid Valley ‘The Body Electric’ Sparkling Riesling
Not a Sparkling (to me) but highly frizzante. Feral note, sulphur and copper. Slighlty phenolic. SO2 subdues nose of kaki and gooseberry. Elevated acidity providing an austere finish. Clever drink, really!

Germany / Plalz

2011    A. Christmann ’Langenmorgen’ GG
Savoury and mineral notes, apricot and mirabelle dominate. Citrus and wild herbs secondary, yet intriguing. A piquant palate of red currants, grapefruit, salt and caramelelized pear. Concentration and finesse. Assertive mineral-driven, long finish.

2009 A. Christmann ’Idig’ GG
Citrus, mirabelle and dominating minerals providing olfactory amazement. Noticeable extract, reneklode, dried fruits and candied citrus with orange and tropical notes. Refined acidity and tiefgruendige mineralic. Impressive finish.

2010    Dr. Bürklin-Wolf ‘Wachenheimer’                                       
So elegant and smooth drinking, fresh acidity of lime and citrus salad, layers of minerals, saltiness and tropical notes, super long finish

2010   Dr. Bürklin-Wolf                                                                                    
A mouthful of Riesling, so Germanic, and so characteristically indefinable. Taste rape-juicey, as they often add most. An amazing balance of fruit (residual) and acidity. But what exactly am I tasting here? 


2010   Schloss Schönbaum                                                                                     
Tropical, pine and frangipane, rosewater, spice. Layers of flavours unfold. Remarkable!

2010   Robert Weil ‘Kiedrich Gräfenberg’ Spätlese
Riesling of this style is unique to G. Fragrant and exquisite aroma of honey, mandarin and lemon. Generous fruit and lifted acidity with real nervy tension delivers depth and structure. Highly aromatic, pristine and full of allure. 8.5 % A


2006   Gunderloch ‘Jean-Baptiste’ Kabinett
Juiciness and fruit tarnishing underlying structure and mineral. Too residual. Yet lovely and otherwise balanced.


2007   Reinhold Haart ’Piesporter Goldtröpfchen’ S
Yes, this is Spätlese, juicy and relentless. Nose of yellow peach, apricot and limoncello. Honey with subtle tropical notes plus a hint of sweet spice. Restrained RS, yet luscious with an everlasting finish.


2010   Trossen ‘Madonna’ S
Parfum of green apples and freeze-dried lime. Crisp acidity and mineral backbone in a concentrated wine. Spice and kumquat complementing the palate. Lustrous final.

2011  Egon Mueller ‘Schwarzhof’
A nose of peach and reineclaude with some tropical notes. Concentrated with great balance juiciness and purity. Gooseberry tangy acidity, lingering lemon-twist.

2010   Clemens Busch ‘Marienberg’ S
Peach orchard, some biscuit and interesting earthy elements. Juicy, pure and rich in extract. Complex body and animating acid structure with good length.

2009    Heymann Loewenstein ‘ Uhlen Roth Lay’ GC
Sour-sop and yeasty notes dominate. There is enormous fruit intensity and concentration, yet its all smooth, feather-light fluidity. Tropical flavours with mandarin and tangelo, some spice supported by refined acidity and integrated minerality are the recipe for ultra delicious drinking


1996  Solomon Undhof ‘Pfaffenberg’            
Honey suckle and raisin zopf, faint pear, dry, salty ocean spray. Greatly aged, no kero.

2008   Bründelmayer ‘Kamptaler Terassen’
Youthful and zingy, full of supreme fragrance and citrus, balanced acidity powering through.

2008    F.X. Pichler ‘Urgestein Terassen’ F  
Vibrant golden colour and nose that suggests older age. Preserved lemon, honey and toast. Seriously delicious, lively yet mellowed acid structure and fruitiness with a composition of lemon, pear, linseed and faint spice. Piquant and dimensional.

1998    Nikolaihof ‘Steinriegler’                         
Sweet forest notes plus roses and white blossoms. Hoeneysuckle, ripe melon and peach dominating the mid-palalte. Clean, refined acid, minerally and nutty finish.

1986 Nikolaihof ‘Im Weingebirge’ F
Apricot and reineclaude, a hint of kero. Parmesan rind. Dense, fruity acidity, still very vibrant and crisp. Pure, soft finish.


2011   Meyer-Fonné ‘ Vignoble de Katzenthal’   
Subdued nose initially, yellow stone fruit, thyme and a whiff of spice developing. Opulent, ripe and silky, with a good grip of integrated acidity. Beautiful, somehow understated.

2009  Josmeyer ‘Le Kottabe’
Fresh fruity notes, airing developed citrus fruit, white peach and mandarin. Intense middle palate, re-enforced by salinity. Dry, straight, racy and very flavoursome.

2003   Josmeyer ‘Le Kottabe’
Melon and prosciutto, subdued honey notes. Delicious signs of age displaying walnut, linseed and kerosin. Fresh acidity, exciting savoury structure with mineral dryness and finesse

1998  Kuentz-Bas ‘Pfersigberg’ GC      
Super deep-golden brilliance. Feels quite aged for a young wine, so no kero to be detected. Pfersigberg terroir displays salinity. Grape delivers apple and yellow peach plus toasty and nutty notes. Initial impression is: a bit short of fruit, so holding up very well. Fine-boned animating acidity and savoury finale.


2001  St.Michael - Eppan
Freeze dried lime, grapefruit. Basil and chives. High phenols. This is an all different R again . Lean, gravely and grapefruit bitter, but than it really opens and develops. Italian flamboyance maybe, intense with great fruit and good acidity. Another day and the wine turns more balanced, delicious and delicious.

Dining Out

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