The Great Southern Wine Producers Association held a festival to all things Riesling last Sunday. We had bought tickets to the event some weeks ago and had been waiting with anticipation for the day to roll around. The crowd that turned up indicated that a lot of Perth felt the same way. In any event, our anticipation was well and truly justified.
Fifteen or so tables had been set up in a large marquee at the Royal Perth Yacht Club in Nedlands, with each producer having a number of their wines on display. The generously sized Plumm glasses supplied allowed those tasting to get the full benefit of the wonderful bouquets of the wine, something not always the case when smaller tasting glasses are used.
Jerry Fraser, oyster man extraordinaire, was also there frenetically shucking his way through dozens of Albany Rocks; while excellent finger food circulated among the happy sippers.
About 50 different wines were available, with vintages ranging from the most recent 2014 releases to the oldest I spotted, a 2002 from Trevelen Farm.
There were a few off-dry wines (slightly sweet) including those from Plantagenet, Ferngrove and Gilberts, a botrytis affected drop from Castelli and a sparkling from Oranje Tractor, but overwhelmingly the wines on display were what you would expect from Great Southern Rieslings – the young ones full of lime and lemon, crunchy green apple, with lovely acidity, and older vintages exhibiting developing honeyed characteristics showing how well they hold up with some bottle age.
Time, unfortunately, precluded me from tasting all available, but among those I did were some absolutely outstanding wines. Among the many highlights were……
Trevelen Farm – John Sprigg consistently turns out excellent Rieslings and his 2014 is no exception. It has a wonderful floral bouquet, with light mineral and citrus notes on the palate, with a hint of aniseed. He also had on show a 2004 and a 2002, the latter of which was a stunner – golden in colour, it had pronounced honeyed notes on the palate, but with sufficient acid to indicate it had many more years in front of it. It was a beautiful example of ageing gracefully – like me, and of course John.
Abbey Creek – Mike and Mary Dilworth’s Porongurup vineyard has won many a show award in its relatively short history, with outstanding Rieslings their flagship.
Their 2013 had spice and lemon notes on the nose, with zingy citrus on the palate. A 2008 vintage indicated how well these wines cellar, with well balanced acid and lingering honeysuckle hints on the palate.
Castle Rock – three beautiful examples of the Diletti wine making magic; the 2014 Porongurup exhibited spice and lemon on the nose, with a lovely long and clean finish.It is a fabulous wine.
Frankland Estate – the three labels on display were great examples of the difference terroir can make – all quite different, all quite lovely. The 2013 Poison Hill (love the name too!) had a soft, spicy nose, with great lime and lemon elements on the palate; crisp long finish.
Kerrigan and Berry – the 2014 announced itself with a lifted floral bouquet, and followed up with some delicious lime and lemon notes on the palate, balanced with clean acid.
Oranje Tractor – home to one of the nicest cafe/restaurants in the Great Southern, the 2014 had a soft, lime blossom filled bouquet, and a lovely, well balanced palate.
Murray Gomm was on hand to explain his wines, and also to sell the story of the winery – This Tractor Life – a great little book which I bought and plan to review very soon.
Three Drops – their 2014 continues the excellent track record of this winery. Fresh lemon notes on the nose, with loads of green apple, lime and acid on the palate; finishes with a lovely crispness.
West Cape Howe – the 2014 exhibited lifted apple and lime aromas, with lingering acid, moving to a long satisfying finish.
Castelli – the Great Southern 2014 has good, clean acid which supports an array of lime and lemon flavours, with some green apple hints, to a wonderful crisp conclusion.
La Violetta – I had tasted the 2014 Das Sakrileg at Temporada in Canberra last week, and it again impressed. An aromatic and spicy nose followed by a palate full of sharp green apples and citrus tones; beautifully balanced with delicate acid.
I didn’t have time to get to all the wines on display, but for those I did I managed to scrawl a few notes, some of which are replicated above, but also gave a score on my usual 100 point scale, and here those are:
To view wine rating system, click here: http://perthcafeculture.com.au/about/
|Great Southern 2014||95|
|A&W Reserve 2013||94|
|Isolation Ridge 2013||94|
|Netley Road 2013||94|
|Poison Hill 2013||95|
|Kerrigan and Berry|
|Das Sakrileg 2014||96|
|West Cape Howe|
The Great Southern region turns out some wonderful wines, across a whole range of grape varieties, but for me the Rieslings stand apart – they are spectacular, stating emphatically that this region, alongside the Clare, produces the best Riesling in Australia…maybe I am being a touch parochial, but for me the Great Southern just edges out Eden Valley, with the Canberra region a tad behind that. The wines are brilliant drinking when young but the structure, winemaking skill, and fantastic fruit all go to ensuring these wonderful wines live long, cellar well, and age beautifully. Try them, visit the region….as well as the wines, there is stunning scenery and a host of other things to do, as well as great places to eat.