Grapevine: Revel in the versatility of Riesling
Riesling is beloved the world over for its versatility, both in the vineyard/winery and at the dining table.
From bone dry to lusciously sweet dessert wines, it can be paired with foods from fish and chips, to fiery curries and everything in between.
In the winery, the high natural acidity gives a winemaker the structural rails to build upon with their full basket of tricks. You can safely put away the preconceptions of sweetness; if the sweetness is so obvious and sickly as to detract from the wine then it is just as bad as a poor example of any other grape variety – over-oaked Chardonnay or pungently sweaty Sauvignon Blanc. Not to mention the fact that many wines labelled as Riesling in the past weren’t even made from Riesling. Here are just a few examples worth trying for summer.
Adelina Watervale Riesling 2019 ($26)
This wine has 5g/l of residual sugar, but if you weren’t told that, then good luck guessing it. The high natural acidity is merely moderated by the unfermented sugar, helping to balance a wine that may otherwise taste a little too sharp and racy. It’s full of juicy, ripe lime and lemon, exotic spices and blossom. The sugar helps to give the wine a rounder mouthfeel and approachability in its youth before a crisp, dry and mouth-watering finish.
Dinny Goonan Riesling 2019 ($24)
Dinny employs the use of malolactic fermentation for a small portion of the wine. Being in one of the cooler parts of Victoria means that acids can be high and particularly sharp at times. Converting some of the harsh Malic acid to lactic acid. softens it, in this case giving the wine a soft feel to the finish. Driven by lively citrus acidity, green apple and melon flavours, you don’t see as much of the floral or spicy notes typical in the classic South Australian regions.
Sons of Eden Freya Riesling 2019 ($25)
Sons of Eden target the mid-palate with their use of winemaking technique. Leaving the wine in contact with its lees for a few months after fermentation helps to give the wine some texture and breadth in the middle of the mouth, compared for example to sugar which tends to be perceived first at the front of the palate. Lime and blossom tend to dominate Riesling from the Eden Valley and this wine displays them clearly, it’s a wine of elegance and finesse with crunchy acid that carries on a long dry finish.
Crawford River ‘Young Vines’ Riesling 2018 ($33)
While the vines are a mix of plantings from the early 2000s and 2010s, the quality of the site and producer is clear here. Stoney/slatey mineral acidity underpin plenty of juicy citrus and blossoms, some lees contact builds some texture to fill the palate out and allow for drinkability at a young age; the early-drinking Riesling from one of the country’s finest Riesling estates.