The annual celebration of the Great Southern Wine Producers Association promoting their wonderful Riesling was held on Sunday 6 December at the Royal Perth Yacht Club.
Lady FWO and I were kindly invited by the Association to attend – thanks to them, and particularly to Dr John Gates, the Executive Officer for the opportunity.
As in the past it was a splendidly organised event – in a large marquee overlooking the river, in the grounds of the Club. Despite the unseasonal inclement weather with rain and wind, inside the explosion of summertime flavours from all of the wines on display kept the clouds at bay.
A duo played soothing music, Verity James enlivened the crowd with her antics and commentary, Jerry Fraser shucked oysters – 55 dozen being despatched over the course of the event;
and the finger food provided was a credit to the caterers – simply delightful.
It was also good to catch up with people – John Sprigg from Trevelen Farm is one of the great characters of the industry; indeed he dragooned me into taking over his stand for 20 minutes or so while he went to pick up more wine, so I was able to give the wine lovers my take on his wines.
Lorraine from Pandemonium Wines was there also – I attended the opening of her winery in the Swan Valley the previous weekend (review coming soon!); it was also great to have a chat with Jim Gilbert who established Gilberts Wines outside Mt Barker 30 year ago.
And of course, the main event – the wine.
17 wineries were on display (a couple were unable to make it at the last minute) with around 50 wines to taste – try as I could, not all were sampled, but I did my best.
I should also make mention of the excellent Plumm tasting glasses – these are so much better than the smaller ISO glasses used at many events – the larger bowl and depth of the glass allows the aroma of the wine to better develop and concentrate at the top, and with aromatic wines like Riesling I reckon this is essential in appreciating them to the full.
Jo Bradbury was on hand to provide information about her wines and of course the fabulous olive oil produced by 3 Drops.
2014 Riesling – Bright and pale, with fresh lemon and citrus blossom notes on the nose; green apple, lime and acid on the palate; finishes with a lovely crispness.
2015 Riesling – Floral bouquet, with mandarin and talc notes; palate is crisp and clean, with lifted lime flavours, and fine acidity.
A favourite winery of ours, they also produce excellent Pinot Noir and a great rosé; they are well worth a visit to the cellar door on the Porongurup Road if you are down that way.
2013 Riesling – spice and lemon notes on the nose, with zingy citrus on the palate, crisp and elegant.
2015 Riesling – Lemon blossom and lime bouquet, intense lime flavours, fine acidity leading to a long and sustained finish.
2015 Riesling – pale straw in hue, lifted lemon aroma, with distinct lime intensity on the palate.
This fine producer turns out some amazing small batch wines that are worth seeking out – their Ice Wine Viognier which I tasted at the Wine Show on the Bay is of particular note.
2009 Porongurup Riesling – aromatic lemon and lime bouquet, slate and mineral notes on the palate; exhilarating acidity.
2015 The Sum Mount Barker – lifted aromas of orange and crushed petals, while the juicy and limey palate was underlined with hints of nectarine.
Clos du Tertre
This was one of my highlights of the day; Clémence Haselgrove had on display her 2014 Riesling from the Frankland and it was a stunner.
2014 Riesling – Lifted lemon and lemon blossom aromas, and a palate of intense lime and lemon flavours, beautifully balanced by fine acidity. Elegant and long, sustained finish.
Estate 807 have a pretty little café on Scottsdale Road near Denmark and also produce a couple of different, but both very good, Rieslings.
Frankland River 2014 Riesling – floral aroma with green apple and citrus flavours and a hint of tropical fruit
Mount Barker 2014 Riesling– very light and pale, hints of apples and pears on the nose, lemon, lime and mineral notes on the palate.
I have long been a fan of the Cossack Range from Ferngrove, and the 2015 did nothing to change my mind; the 2006 is another example of just how well Riesling ages.
Cossack 2006 Riesling – yellow with honeysuckle aromas; developed palate, with good acidity keeping it fresh and clean.
Cossack 2015 Riesling – a bouquet of aromatic floral and citrus notes, with fresh lime, lemon zest and minerality on the palate.
2015 Off Dry Riesling – pale green, lemon blossom and tangerine notes, with a palate of lemon and lime balanced by some residual sugar; sustained finish
Dry Grown Reserve 2015 – lifted lime nose followed by intense juicy lime on the palate; some flinty characters and very long, sustained finish
2015 Riesling – lifted lemon nose, fine acid and excellent depth of flavour.
2015 Porongurup Riesling – lemon blossom and crushed leaf aromas, ripe citrus palate, with pithy notes on the mid palate.
2014 Laissez Faire Porongurup Riesling – juicy citrus aromas, lime and mineral notes on the palate.
2015 Cherubino Porongurup Riesling – floral, lemon blossom bouquet; touch of talc on the palate, intense lime and lemon flavours.
2015 Riesling – lifted lemon aromas, lemon and lime on the palate, with some minerality making it a complex and distinctive wine.
2015 Juxtapose Wild –citrus and honey suckle with some herbal notes on the palate; off dry.
2009 Botrytis Riesling – honey and spice on the nose, with rich flavours of juicy apricot and palm sugar.
2015 Mount Barker Riesling – very pale, lifted citrus aromas and intense chewy lime on the palate; excellent finish, crisp and clean.
2015 Porongurup Riesling – very floral bouquet of green apple and lemon blossom, crisp, elegant palate.
John Sprigg has been producing outstanding wines for years from his vineyard at Cranbrook, and I have been buying them; when I taste his older vintages my predilection for drinking them young comes back to haunt me.
2005 Riesling – golden in colour, lifted honey nose, luscious developed palate, still with good acid indicating it still has years yet. Amazing example of aged Great Southern Riesling.
2014 Riesling – very floral and aromatic, with light mineral and citrus notes on the palate, and a hint of aniseed.
2015 Riesling – lemon and lime aromas, pithy lime on the palate; fine acid leading to a satisfying finish.
Lady FWO’s favourites of the day were the Clos du Tertre and the Trevelen Farm 2005, both outstanding wines, one so youthful and the other a brilliant expression of aged Riesling.
Unfortunately I didn’t get around to Castle Rock, but they produce some of the best the region has to offer; and a new one to me, Brave New Wine, have a quite different take on winemaking – I will have to spend some time trying their range – the one I did sample, well to paraphrase Scotty, “it was Riesling but not as we know it, Jim”. Definitely one to come back too.
Raising Riesling is over for the year, but the Great Southern beckons for a trip to try many more. It is a great place to visit, so with holidays coming up it is a perfect opportunity to get yourself down there.