Think of Germany and odds are that you’ll eventually think of Riesling. Think of Chile, New Zealand, and Australia, and the odds of Riesling coming to mind are probably much smaller. Even still, all three of these countries turn out their own interesting takes on this classic varietal, and today we’ll be talking about just that.
Our first wine comes from the cold climate Bio Bio Valley in the far south of Chile. The fruit is estate grown and the wine is made in a dry style. Our second wine is nearly the exact opposite, coming from the comparatively warm region of Waipara on the eastern side of New Zealand’s south island and made in the off-dry style. Our final selection returns us back to the dry style with a single vineyard wine from the region of Eden Valley in South Australia.
Wine #1: Porta 2010 Bio Bio Valley Reserva Riesling
Crisp notes of pear, green apple, and hard white peaches introduce this wine’s nose. Lots of lime and lemon tones show through as well with faint hints of white flowers, a very subtle petrol note, and a bit of crushed stone.
Completely dry and crisp on the palate, there is a sharpness to this wine, almost reminiscent of not fully ripe stone fruit. A biting acidity and intense minerality bring the region’s cold climate center stage and offer an incredibly lean take on the varietal that is rarely found. Notes of lime and lemon are the dominant players in this one’s flavor profile, with a subtle streak of very hard white peach showing through toward the end. Clearly not your typical Riesling, but something possibly worth looking into for fans of the crisp, minerally style.
Worth Trying. 86 points.
Wine #2: Waipara Springs 2007 Waipara Riesling
White peach, sliced Asian pear, and lime peel show immediately on the nose with a faint hint of jasmine, petrol, and beeswax coming through shortly after. A pleasant minerality that suggests notes of wet stone also opens up with a spin in the glass.
Endearingly off dry, this wine introduces itself with an enjoyable sweetness that is tempered by a fresh, bright acidity. Lovely floral tones frame a core of citrus fruit in syrup, petrol, and beeswax with a firm stony undertone showing in the background. This is an easy to love wine with nice balance and a lasting finish, a solid effort.
Worth Trying. 88 points.
Wine #3: Pewsey Vale 2010 Eden Valley Dry Riesling
This wine’s aroma reveals notes of white peach, lively tones of lime, and a light hint of cut green pear. Small white flowers and roses make an appearance as well, with notes of green tea, rubber, and wet stone showing through as well.
As the name suggests this wine truly is dry allowing its fresh acidity and crisp palate really to shine through fully. This is a refined wine that offers a wonderful balance between refreshing structure and fully developed fruit flavors. Notes of ripe peaches and pears combine with a floral element at the core and are framed beautifully by a wet stone and petrol edge, giving this wine an impressive amount of layering.
Worth Buying. 91 points.
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The Grapevine: Have you ever had a Riesling from any of the countries featured today?