At first glance, "Riesling" and "Australia" seem unlikely consorts. The former is the archetypical white grape of high-latitude Europe, producing wines of bewildering delicacy, impalpable alcohol, the freshest of fruits, gossamer enchantment. The latter, for most wine drinkers outside Australia, means generally red wines of lavish ripeness and unqualified exuberance, throbbing with flavor and enchanting by their lack of delicacy -- in other words, everything Riesling isn't. Drinkers making their way up the lower rungs of the wine ladder are often surprised to discover Australia produces any Riesling at all.
Andrew Jefford joined Stephen Brook and Stephan Reinhardt to taste Australian Rieslings, and while they found the styles varied widely from region to region, the honors were evenly shared. Their top scoring wine from the tasting is our wine of the month.
Henschke Julius Riesling
Eden Valley 2012 (11.5% ABV) 17
Stephen Brook | Bright appley nose with considerable zest. Rich and concentrated, but has drive and energy, with a tangy underlying minerality. Manages to have the delicacy of Riesling combined with considerable force. Youthful and very well balanced, with some appealing piquancy on the long finish. | 17.5
Andrew Jefford | Pale gold. Fresh, pure, doughy, and very elegant: gorgeous aromatic finesse here. It is shy, but apart from that, everything is right; all the notes are there in bonsai or primeur form. On the palate, this is a super, super wine: wonderfully subtle fruits and a brilliant mineral spectrum, too. Despite its lightness and finesse, it is very complete on the tongue; such a delicate wine, yet so arresting in its rightness, poise, and finesse. Another wine I could sit and drink all day. If you're a fruit twitcher, look out for orange, tangerine, and a richer style of nectarine than many -- maybe even a hint of passion fruit. Brisk, clean finish; totally mouth-cleansing. Bravo to all concerned. | 18.5
Stephan Reinhardt | Pale silver-gold. Somewhat powdery on the nose, reductive style, some hints of leather. Rather lean and firm, very pure, well-balanced, reductive style, the wine is still shy (yet quite powerful) and drying at the moment. Citrus aromas on the finish. | 15.5