This is a delicious grand cru riesling from Domaines Schlumberger in Alsace. Towards gold in colour, its aroma reminds of steel and lemon zest. The palate is firm with a rich body, racy acidity and good length on the finish. You can approach it now, but this wine has years of cellaring ahead of it. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $50. Website: https://www.domaines-schlumberger.com.
If you wish to know about the wines of Wachau in Austria, the Austrians make it particularly easy to learn. Their website is terrific and here is the link: www.austrianwine.com/our-wine/wine-growing-regions/niederoesterreich-lower-austria/wachau/. This wine is from FX Pichler in Wachau, and is a “Federspiel” which is a classification in Wachau and means that its alcohol is 11.5% to 12.5%. In the glass, the wine has a delicious aroma of green apples, stones and apple skins. Resolutely dry on the palate, the body is fullish and the acidity searing. The acidity pierces without remorse through the fruit flavours, which otherwise have a plumpness to them. The finish is balanced and has a subtle length to it. A classic Austrian dry style, this riesling should drink well over the next decade or more. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $60+. Website: fx-pichler.at,
Schlossberg is an 80 hectare grand cru in Alsace that is situated eight kilometres from Colmar, overlooking the Weiss Valley. The Vins Alsace website actually has a lot of further information, including some very cool interactive maps that highlight the region’s stunning beauty. You can find it here. This wine from Paul Blanck is a very good wine. A yellow gold in colour, it has aromas of lemon and touch of honey. The palate is rich and mostly dry, with flavours reminding of lemon, stones and tropical fruit, supplemented by fresh acidity and long length on palate. Ready to drink now, this wine can be approached over the next decade or more. Rating: Very Good. Abv: not recorded. Price: $60. Website: www.blanck.com/en/
Despite some slightly ungainly labelling on this BWS private label, this wine presents as a good quality varietally typical Clare Valley riesling. In the glass, there are aromas of stones and lime. The palate is dry, the acidity fresh and the length a little short, but this is nonetheless sound drinking at $15. Books and covers. Rating: Good. Abv: 12%. Price: $15. Source: Sample.
This is a somewhat unusual white blend that finds semillon, riesling and gewürtztraminer together. In the glass, it’s a pale yellow in colour, and has aromas that remind of grass and apple skins, perhaps explicable by the 7 day ferment on skins. The palate is fresh and the acidity apple like. Some CO2 and a light body complete the picture, whilst the abv is only 10%. Suitable for current drinking. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 10%. Price: $18. Source: Sample.
A second wine from Patina. This time a dry riesling from Orange and the 2016 vintage. The aroma of this wine is quite muted with earth, stones and minerals evident with effort. The palate reminds of lemon, yellow grapefruit and is bound together with high acidity. Austere in bearing, this wine will reward time in the cellar. Rating: Good. Abv: 11.1%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
This wine from Patina has very pure aromas of candied lemons and lime. The palate is clean in bearing and style, off dry, the acidity high and the balance in the glass very good. Overall, this is a very good riesling. The label doesn’t in my view make the geographic indication (GI) claim obvious but I presume the region of origin is Orange or the broader Central Ranges Zone. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 11.1%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
From the Watervale subregion of the Clare Valley, this wine from Mitchell Wines (no relation!) is quite aromatic, with aromas of lime, jasmine and a herbaceous note. The palate is dry, with mouth watering acidity, a youthful touch of CO2 and a medium body. It provides delicious drinking now and will also suit long ageing. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.0%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
Robert Stein makes this riesling in Mudgee, not a riesling hotbed. It works regardless. In the glass, there are aromas of musk, florals and stone. The palate is off dry and the residual sugar is tempered by high and fined boned acidity. Quite linear in impression, this is a balanced and enjoyable riesling with mid range length on the finish. The photograph is last year’s vintage. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 11%. Price: $35. Source: Sample.
I recently tasted through Yalumba’s new 2017 vintage of “Y Series” whites. All the wines are $15 and all five wines from different single varieties. As a group, these wines evidence the new modern Australian style – lower alcohol, more medium than full bodied and no discernible oak influence. The sauvignon blanc for example weighs in at only 11.5%. The search for restraint in warmer climates can lead to a loss of varietal character, but the viognier and riesling shone through as good examples. The chardonnay and pinot grigio were more neutral and dry whitish. Overall, this is a well made set with an evenness to the wines and provides sound drinking at a modest price.
Yalumba Y Series Sauvignon Blanc South Australia 2017
Mid range aromatics of florals, gooseberry and grass with air. Dry, some raspy sauvignon blanc acidity and fresh style. Rating: Good. Abv: 11.5%. Price: $15.
Yalumba Y Series Riesling Barossa 2017Attractive aromatics of stone and florals, with a slight savoury roundness. A floral, dry, medium bodied palate with not quite fully linear acidity and nice length. Rating: Good. Abv: 12%. Price: $15.
Yalumba Y Series Chardonnay South Australia 2017Muted aromatics of pear and quince. No discernible oak. Medium bodied, dry and mid range acidity. A little neutral and dry white in expression. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $15.
Yalumba Y Series Viognier South Australia 2017Richly aromatic, all talc, ginger and apricots. The palate is towards full bodied, dry with a phenolic impression and good length. Recommended. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $15.
Yalumba Y Series Pinot Grigio South Australia 2017Muted aromatics of stone. Nectarine and stone characters on the palate with a between medium to full bodied impression. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $15.