Wine: Petaluma Riesling Grape: Riesling Region: Clare Valley, South Australia Vintage: 1996 THERE are three outstanding regions in the world for riesling: Alsace in France, the Rheingau in Germany, and the Clare and Eden Valleys in South Australia. Each has its own distinctive style but regrettably, none of these rieslings is fashionable. It is legend that many wine writers and sommeliers actually like to drink riesling as their preferred white wine but do not extol its virtues in order to keep prices low. Petaluma has provided a yardstick for Australian riesling since its first vintage from the Hanlin Hill Vineyard in 1979. The Petaluma style is a late harvest, concentrated but bone-dry wine. Petaluma riesling 1996 is a brilliant pale yellow. On the nose are intense mineral and lime citrus aromas. The wine has good structure, with rich floral, citrus and mineral flavours and a dry lingering finish. This wine can be drunk fresh now or, as with all top rieslings, cellared for at least five to 10 years for additional complexity to develop and for the wine to take on toasty, honeyed flavours and acquire a characteristic kerosene nose. Where To Buy: From good wine shops or direct from the importer Jebsen (Tel: 2926-2240) at a retail price of $177 a bottle.