Category Archives: Australian Riesling

Nov 11 2015

Masterclass: Billy Button and Mayford Wines – Putting the Alpine Valleys Region on the Map

Posted on November 11, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Two very talented winemakers, Jo Marsh of Billy Button and Eleana Anderson of Mayford, are neighbours and good friends in the beautiful Alpine Valleys wine region, an area that covers the foothills of the Victorian alps and borders with King Valley to the west and Beechworth to the north. Last week the pair shared the stage at a very interesting masterclass at Different Drop in Pyrmont.

We were welcomed with a glass of the 2015 Billy Button ‘The Torment’ Riesling (King Valley) on arrival. This is the only wine from Jo’s extensive range made with fruit not sourced from the Alpine Valleys.

Jo said that she couldn’t resist the opportunity to put her own stamp on one of her favourite varieties when offered a parcel of grapes from an excellent well-established vineyard in King Valley’s Whitlands.

Fermented with indigenous yeasts, the juice was given time on full solids to add texture and flinty, savoury notes to the wine. But the fuller bodied style didn’t detract from the pristine citrus flavoured fruit, which was buoyed by a laser-like acidity. An unusual style of riesling and one of my favourite wines of the night.

Another highlight was the 2015 Billy Button ‘The Feisty’ Friulano.  Jo explained that she first came across friulano, a grape that originates from the Friuli-Venezie-Giulia region of North-East Italy, when she took up the position of Head winemaker at Feathertop, one of the Alpine Valleys oldest wineries. (Jo was previously head winemaker at Seppelt.)

 

‘The Feisty’ Friulano is made in a style which also lends texture and complexity to a very fruity variety. Approximately two-thirds of the wine, for example, was barrel fermented in old French oak. When the 2014 inaugural vintage of this wine was released it attracted a number of standout reviews.

In contrast to Jo, Eleana Anderson only makes wine from her own vineyards, which were established with a modest planting of shiraz in 1995… [Read More]

Jun 06 2014

Australian Riesling: The Best Value Wine Variety/Style in the World!

Posted on June 06, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown considers South Australian riesling one of the world’s best value wines

The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown recently wrote that “If I had to name a best value wine grape/style from Australia that readers will find hard to beat with competition from anywhere else is the wine world, it is undoubtedly South Australian riesling.” (Lisa Perrotti Brown, Australian Wine Values: Everyone Loves a Bargain, Wine Advocate, May 2014)

Her thoughts must have seemed like music to the ears of South Australian riesling producers at a time when the high Australian dollar and heated competition from lower priced competition have hurt Australian wine exports… [Read More]

Aug 08 2013

50 Wines to Try in 2013: Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling

Posted on August 08, 2013 | By merrill@cellarit.com

With all the interest at the moment in rieslings from Australia’s cooler climates – WA’s Great Southern region, Tasmania and the Canberra District, in particular – critics and consumers alike may be tempted to overlook the fact that South Australia is still the epicentre for Australia’s finest quality rieslings, and the region responsible for putting Australian riesling on the map. Indeed, when the Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker rated Australia’s top riesling producers back in 1999, not surprisingly all of them were from South Australia, with the standouts almost exclusively from the Clare Valley and including such legends as Clos,.. [Read More]

Oct 10 2011

Tasmania Shines at Canberra International Riesling Challenge: Waterton Vineyard Riesling 2009 wins top honours

Posted on October 10, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

On Saturday I attended a tasting for the 12th annual Canberra International Riesling Challenge at the Albert Hall in Canberra. The tasting was a great excuse to make the trip from Sydney to Canberra with one of my oldest friends and it also gave us an opportunity to squeeze in a visit to the Fred Williams retrospective at the National Gallery. (A quick aside – Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons is on until 6 November 2011. Not only does it confirm Williams’ place as one of Australia’s greatest landscape artists,.. [Read More]

Aug 08 2011

Wine Education: The benefits of the Screwcap Closure

Posted on August 08, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

When I was researching my post on Australian aged rieslings, Buy Wine Ideas: Australian Aged Reislings: Beautiful Expressions of Terroir 28 July 2011, I came across a very good explanation about the merits of bottling wine under screwcap on the Pewsey Vale website.

James Halliday notes that Pewsey Vale was the first winery to bottle its riesling under Stelvin screwcap in 1977. Unfortunately the screwcap was not well received by the public and the initiative was put on ice for almost 20 years… [Read More]

Jul 07 2011

Buy Wine Ideas: Aged Australian Riesling – Beautiful Expressions of Terroir

Posted on July 07, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

As the Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman notes “Australia makes a unique style of Riesling that shows off the lovely stone fruit character of the grape, often weaving in floral, citrus and mineral flavors, hanging them all on a dry frame.” (Tasting Highlights: Australian Riesling by Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 23 February 2005)

Australia’s reputation as a great producer of dry riesling was forged in the 1980s and 90s with the emergence of wonderful rieslings from the Clare and Eden Valley, produced by top names including Grosset,.. [Read More]

Jun 06 2011

Great Southern, WA: The New Centre for Australian Riesling?

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

On Tuesday I attended the Wine Industry of Western Australia’s Taste of Western Australia at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. Rieslings of the Great Southern wine region were the focus of one of the very insightful masterclasses with wine critic Peter Forrestal.

The majestically scenic and wildly remote Great Southern is the largest wine region in Australia.  So large, in fact, that the five already designated sub-regions of Frankland River, Mount Barker, Porongurup, Albany and Denmark only cover 50% of the land mass… [Read More]

Jan 01 2011

Putting Canberra District Riesling on the Map

Posted on January 01, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

“Ken Helm’s Rieslings took my breath away – why hadn’t I heard of these wines before?”

UK Wine Critic Sarah Ahmed of The Wine Detective recently named Helm Wines Premium Riesling 2010, Canberra District, New South Wales, one of the top five Australian wines of the year. Here’s her glowing description of the wine:

Ken Helm’s Rieslings took my breath away – why hadn’t I heard of these wines before?  This, his flagship single vineyard Riesling, is positively tensile ‘n tightly coiled,.. [Read More]