Tag: Canberra International Riesling Challenge

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, but also demonstrates his amazing talent as a portraitist!)

Anyway, back to my other great passion – wine. The tasting itself proved to be quite a challenge. Over 440 wines from 10 different countries were available to try. Wow, where to start? With our Riedel riesling glass in hand, we headed over to the winners’ table.

The overall winner this year was the Waterton Vineyard Riesling 2009 from the Tamar Valley in Tasmania. It picked up four awards: Best Wine of the Challenge, Best Riesling From Tasmania, Best in Australia and Best Dry Riesling. Fruit forward with delicate citrus flavours, its lively acidity was balanced by a slightly silky texture and good length.

When I got home I checked James Halliday’s rating for the wine. Interestingly he had only scored the wine 89 points in the 2011 edition of Australian Wine Companion. But as Chairman of the Tasmanian Wine Show, he re-tasted the wine in January of this year. Here’s his glowing review:

This is well composed and balanced; it has smooth lime/citrus flavours of very good length and balance; a complete wine that has improved out of all recognition in the past 12 months. Top Gold Tasmanian Wine Show 2011. 11% alc; screwcap; 
Rating: 96 points Drink: to Read the rest

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.

Last year James Halliday named Larry Cherubino Wines “Winery of the Year.” The Cherubino Porongurup Riesling 2009 was Halliday’s top-rated riesling (97 points), beating out some serious Clare and Eden Valley competition. (James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2011)

The gloriously picturesque Porongurup mountain range, 30 km south east of Mount Barker, is also home to Castle Rock Estate. Robert Diletti of Castle Rock makes elegant yet intensely flavoured rieslings, admired for their complexity, great length and ageing potential. The 2010 vintage we sampled in the masterclass was excellent – clear, pure citrus fruit characters superbly balanced by a minerally acidity imparted from the rocky, infertile soil of the ideally situated hillside vineyard.

 

 

 

 

Dilletti also makes the wines at boutique winemaker 3Drops in nearby Mount Barker, another Great Southern sub-region that’s developed an exceptional reputation for its delicately floral, elegant rieslings. The beautifully balanced Gilberts Mount Barker Riesling 2010, which we also sampled, won Best Current Vintage at the prestigious Canberra International Riesling Challenge.

X by Xabregas Fig Tree Riesling 2010 was another stand-out wine from Mt Barker. Made by winemaker Martin Cooper for the Hogan family-owned winery, the winery specialises in single vineyard wines that very much speak of their place and are in an off-dry style that distinguishes them … Read the rest

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, with a flinty quality to its brilliant bright but subtle lime on the palate.  Very, very good with incisive length and great precision. (My top five wines of the year: Australia by Sarah Ahmed, The Wine Detective, 28 December 2010)

Recognition for Helm Wines rieslings is certainly growing. The Premium Riesling 2010 won top gold in its class at the prestigious National Wine Show of Australia. Just as Tim Kirk’s Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier focused international attention on cool-climate Canberra District shiraz, Ken Helm may be on the way to achieving the same lofty status for his Canberra District rieslings, which Ahmed regards as among Australia’s best and one of “Australia’s best kept secrets!”

Ken Helm has been making riesling at his family-run Canberra district winery for 34 years

Helm may well have riesling in his blood. He is a fourth generation descendant of German vinedressers from the Rhineland, who established vineyards near Albury and Rutherglen in the 1860s. He has been making riesling at his family run winery in Murrumbateman for over 34 years, sourcing his grapes from four separate terroirs that range for volcanic rocky soils over limestone to volcanic rock soils over red ironstone.

The Premium Riesling, first made in 2004, is a small production (400 cases only) single vineyard wine sourced from neighbour … Read the rest