by Cameron Malouf
Riesling is a variety that for many is very familiar, even common, but to dig into the history and myriad styles of this German favourite, it becomes increasingly apparent there is more to our summer go-to wine than meets the palate…
And so we’re excited to be sharing in the joy that is October Month of Riesling, celebrating Eden Valley Riesling across our great region!
The history of Riesling
Originating somewhere in the Rhine Valley in Germany, Riesling has been around for about 600 years and in Australia for more than 190 years. Up until the late 1980s it enjoyed tremendous popularity being the most planted white variety in Australia, until it was overtaken by Chardonnay.
At times Riesling has suffered some bad press for the somewhat simple and sweet offerings over the years, leading to some seeing it as not for serious or considered consumption. These days, the quality and variety of Riesling styles from Australian producers rival those from the finest Riesling houses anywhere in the world, and the rich tapestry of soils, climates and regions across Australia makes for stunning diversity of character within our wines.
The Riesling journey of discovery can be quite engaging and rewarding!
Dry styles are many and varied but with a very fine scope. Eden Valley and High Eden Rieslings count amongst the prettiest examples of these dry styles and move from sharp and pithy citrus notes through more juicy lime and lemon complexities into hints of stone fruits and tropical flavours.
In my opinion, the most attractive of the off dry or semi-sweet styles from any region, are those that capture and retain purity in the acid and show impeccable crispness alongside generous fruit.
The noble and sweet styles carry a wonderful complexity often with aromatic botrytis characters fleshing out a deliciously cloying and sipping style of dessert wine.
The vast majority of Rieslings have solid potential for cellar ageing due to their naturally high acid levels and/or residual sugar. The mystical petroleum note that is renowned in Australian Rieslings provides a level of complexity that is not often achieved in European examples. It usually develops after 2-3 years in bottle and is dependent on many variables as to how prominent it becomes.
Thanks to ongoing research, we know it is a reaction by the vine to protect the fruit from UV light in warmer climates like those found in the Barossa and over time in the bottle, the TDN (acronym for a very long and unpronounceable compound) or petroleum character develops as an integral part of our aged Riesling styles here in Australia.
We love putting some Riesling aside in the museum, to watch it develop. The beauty of this is that we can then share some aged Rieslings with our customers. We look forward to sharing some examples over our Shucking Good Riesling weekend at Cellar Door.
Shucking Good Riesling at Elderton Cellar Door
As part of October Month of Riesling celebrations, from Friday, 22 October til Sunday, 24 October, we are hosting Shucking Good Riesling tastings at Cellar Door.
Join us for an indulgent seasonal trio of oysters paired with Eden Valley Riesling. Each oyster will be presented as an “amuse bouche” to complement an individual vintage of Riesling, featuring the 2021 vintage and select museum release vintages.
Pairing plates are $29 per person and spaces are strictly limited. All bookings are to be made before 19 October, so get in quickly! For more information or to book – https://eldertonwines.rezdy.com/460209/shucking-good-riesling.
The heavenly combination of delicious fresh SA oysters and Eden Valley Riesling is so decadent, it’s amazing that it is still legal!
October Month of Riesling
There are a number of events being planned by Eden Valley Riesling producers, both in the Barossa and in Adelaide. For more information check out https://www.barossa.com/events/octobermonthofriesling or @rieslingedenvalley on Facebook.
So relax with a glass of Eden Valley Riesling this October!
Cameron – your Cellar Door host (not the big boss!)