Wine tasting: 3 Australian rieslings for cool, summer drinking
During these hot, humid summer months, a perfect wine is fun, cool, refreshing, and not too rich, oaky or alcoholic. The grape variety that ticks all the boxes is riesling. Although it's considered unfashionable, MW Jancis Robinson says, "I suspect that riesling will worm its way into the affections of a new generation of wine drinkers, not in German but in Australian form".
Riesling is an aromatic grape variety originating from the Rhine Valley in Germany and Alsace. Its aromatic profile is wide — apples, citrus, floral, honey and apricots. It is a versatile variety and can make wines from bone dry, to a luscious, rich dessert style.
Riesling was transplanted to its new home in Australia by German settlers. The grape is known for its chameleon personality and the wine is able to adapt and convey a sense of origin in its taste. In Australia it has transformed into a completely different animal from its German counterpart. Usually fermented to dryness, the classic Clare Valley riesling is mineral-like, replete with lime flavours and quite austere in its youth. Nowadays, some less orthodox winemakers have been experimenting with riesling, producing an array of styles to fit every taste for any occasion from the irreverent to the more serious wine.
Jamsheed Le Blanc Plonk 2013
Jamsheed was set up in 2003 by Gary Mills from Western Australia, who received extensive wine training in Australia, California and Oregon. Not a typical blend, with 90 per cent riesling, 5 per cent gewürztraminer and 5 per cent chardonnay. Citrus, hints of lychee, floral notes. Medium body with refreshing acidity and light fruit intensity. A fun, playful summer wine to enjoy by the pool. Approachable and easy-going but definitely not plonk as the label suggests. HK$210
Rieslingfreak No. 2 Polish Hill River Riesling 2014
As the name states Rieslingfreak is all about riesling. The winery is about one man's obsession for the grape and his mission to make it from different regions and styles. Owner John Hughes grew up surrounded by old riesling vineyards in Penwortham, Clare Valley. Hughes says, "I was educated on the riesling grape". His father had a cellar full of riesling from around the world. Later in life, Hughes followed his passion and started making riesling from different sites in South Australia. Each wine is identified with a number which represents both the region and style. Intense lime, jasmine, petrol and stony notes. Medium body, dry, with steely acidic backbone, good fruit intensity and long finish. HK$360
Rieslingfreak No. 8 Polish Hill River Schatzkammer 2014
The German word schatzkammer means treasury. It was used by German winemakers for the cellars where they stored their prize wines. Mineral, citrus, floral aromas. Intense lime notes on palate with crisp acidity balanced with some residual sugar. Goes well with summer pudding and mango pudding. HK$360
Wines are available from www.continentalwines.com.hk