Best Australian Riesling 2012 – I need to try harder

February 7, 2013

Dr. Loosen Riesling

Author with a Dr. Loosen Riesling from the Mosel

As a man from the Mosel, I love the Riesling wines grown on the steep slopes of the valley. This is not to say that there are no other good Riesling wines elsewhere.

I also love the Rieslings from Rheinhessen, the Rheingau, the Pfalz and Alsace of course. When it comes to Riesling wines from my adopted home Australia, I still had not the necessary exposure which I very much regret.

Recently two Australian Rieslings won the top awards at two major wine shows in Australia. The ‘2012 Ravensworth Riesling’ a single vineyard wine produced by Ravensworth Wines, was the best wine of the 2012 Canberra International Riesling Challenge.

And the ‘2012 The Lodge Hill dry Riesling’ by Jim Barry Wines was awarded the honor of best table wine at the National Wine Show of Australia.

This is something. This is big. But what is even better is the pricing of these wines. The Ravensworth Riesling retails for A$ 20 and the Lodge Hill Dry Riesling for A$ 22. This is quality for money, I assume, and you need to buy now, because who knows how long this will last.

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2010 Steingarten Riesling by Jacob’s Creek

June 12, 2012

2010 Steingarten Riesling by Jacob’s Creek

The other day I picked up two bottles of Australian wine at Beijing International Airport. I was in transit and browsed through the duty free shops when I saw them. First I thought them a bit pricy, but then I decided to take two, one white, one red.

The white wine was a ‘2010 Steingarten Riesling’ by Jacob’s Creek. Some wine critics call this wine a ‘benchmark of Australian Riesling’.

Usually, I avoid buying Jacob’s Creek because my wife hates the brand. For her it stands for cheap mass-produced wine. During our time in Beijing in the early nineties there was only cheap Jacob’s Creek available in some selcted shops. Ever since she does not like the producer.

However, I had heard about “Steingarten”, maybe one of the best Riesling terroirs in Australia. And because I am still searching for my favourite Australian Riesling, I thought to give it a try. The original Steingarten vineyard is located at Trial Hill in the Eden Valley, South Australia.

“Steingarten” is German and means “garden full of stones”, but in the case of Jacob’s Creek its a brand name. The wine is “cool climate” and the grapes come from selected locations at higher altitudes of the Barossa Valley.

The bottle had even an individual number (I bought bottle number 22947); and it was low in alcohol (12.5 %). I paid about 25 EURO for it which is not cheap. In my native Mosel valley there is plenty of first class Riesling around for such a price.

The wine was not bad. It had the normal Riesling aromas (lime, citrus and green apple in this case), a solid structure, fine acidity and a good finish. However, I must be spoiled by the German kind of this wine so that also this one did not trigger my enthusiasm.

Needless to say, the search for an Australian Riesling which satisfies me is going on.

The bigger disappointment was to come: the food.

Of course we had the wine with food. Shakespearean cuisine was the go, which is a rather sweet affair with lots fo figs and raisin. Every individual dish tasted interesting. But we made a basic mistake: the various dishes did not harmonize at all with each other. I will just show some pictures and spare you the details of the dishes.

Here is what we had:

The fish

The raisins

Raisin-onion dish

Other veggies

…and the fish with jam


Lunch at the University Cafe in Melbourne

March 6, 2011

University Cafe on a glass of wine

According to the Trip Advisor website visited today, the University Cafe in Melbourne is ranked 665 of 2,131 restaurants in the second largest metropolis of Australia.

When on the farm and vineyard in Glenburn we rarely come to town. This was an exceptional day.

We had visited Melbourne University to inform ourselves about the place since both our daughters, Lucy and Charlotte, intend to enrol their after they have finished their IB in Bangkok. The university people were very friendly and we had an appointment for lunch in Carlton with some very old friends.

Without further ado we jumped into the University Cafe, an eatery right in middle of Lygon street in the heart of Carlton. Before even considering food, we ordered a bottle of crisp Riesling from Delatite Winery, located near Mansfield in the Upper Goulburn Wine Region.

Ah, wine from Upper Goulburn, our wine region. Our own little vineyard is located at the most southern tip of this new wine region of Victoria. Delatite Winery, near Mansfield, planted in 1968 is one of the oldest vineyards there.

Delatite is committed to organic practices in the vineyard and winery. The winery was established in 1982 by Robert and Vivienne Ritchie. Today, their son David is running the family business. Delatite is famous for its aromatic wines. Their Riesling has won many international and national awards. The ‘2009 Delatite Riesling’ was a natural choice.

2009 Delatite Riesling

The wine went beautifully with the food, mostly fish and other seafood dishes. The crisp apple and citrus aromas with its finely balanced acids is a great refreshment during a warm summers day. Frankly speaking, I think the Delatite Riesling is the best Riesling the Upper Goulburn has to offer.

Mixed side salad

Ruccola with parmesan

Seafood risotto

Delicious mussels

Seafood pasta

The happy diners: Joe Mauch, Anthony Arthur, Charlotte, Lucy, Rainer and Margit Adam

Overall, the service was good, the quality of the food decent, and the atmosphere despite the lunchtime crowed, to our liking. It was good to meet up with friends and relax.

Address:
The University Cafe
255 Lygon Street | Carlton,
Melbourne 3053, Australia
Te.: +61-03-9347 0328


Red snapper with Sevenhill Inigo Riesling

January 5, 2011

What a beautiful red snapper

My friend Brett Travis had given us the above red snapper before leaving on a fishing trip to Samoa. This was a wonderful opportunity for another wonderful lunch at our vineyard. We prepared the fish for a six persons meal.

Yummy veggies

It was a beautiful summers day. The fish was “crying” for a white wine too. We took the opportunity to open one of the recently acquired bottles from Sevenhill Cellars in the Clare Valley in South Australia where our mate Neville Rowe is the general manager.

The ‘2009 Inigo Riesling’ is a typical Clare Valley wine. It is young and fresh and lively. Of course I prefer German Riesling wines, and it is my view that Australian Riesling cannot reach that ultimate Riesling level which I love so much.

Sevenhill Cellars is the oldest wineries in the Clare Valley. It was founded by Jesuits in 1851 to produce sacramental wines. We enjoyed the “sacrament” with the delicious fish, and thank all our benefactors. Cheers mate.

2009 Inigo Riesling by Sevenhill, Clare Valley


Top Australian Riesling wines

December 21, 2010

Riesling grape

I admit that as a German Riesling aficionado I have my problems with Australian Riesling wines. I try them again and again but, and to my great chagrin, I have not found what I am looking for.

Australian Riesling wines from the Adelaide Hills, the Clare Valley, the Eden Valley, Tasmania, Canberra District and from Great Southern in Western Australia enjoy a good reputation.

Also our own wine region, the Upper Goulburn Wine Region, produces some beautiful Riesling wines.

The September/October issue of the Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal summarised the tasting of 26 Australian Riesling wines. All of them were under crew caps! Impossible in my native Germany.

Only one of them came from Victoria (Paradigm Hill 2009 Riesling from the Mornington Peninsula). The price range was from A$ 22 to A$ 45 (16.75 to 34.2 EURO). The four top rates wines were:

– 2010 Jacob’s Creek “Steingarten” Riesling (it is German for “stone garden”), a tank sample, Barossa Valley, South Australia

– 2009 “The Florita” Riesling by Jim Barry Wines, Clare Valley, South Australia

– 2009 Premium Riesling by Helm Wines, Canberra District, New South Wales

– 2009 Riesling by Plantagenet Wines, Mount Barker, Western Australia

The magazine carried also a photo of the vineyard where the Jacob’s Creek “Steingarten” Riesling is produced. It reminded me of my home region along the Mosel and Saar river. Here every vine has a single “stick” and is “wrapped” around it with no wire between the posts, nothing.

The “Steingarten” vineyard is entirely worked by hand because of it’s steepness. Also this reminds me of the Mosel with its ultra-steep slopes. The stones are of red colour, though, whereas the Mosel has blue and grey slate.

And believe me these Australian wine producers are not modest. At the recent International Riesling Challenge in Canberra they gave the top wine the title: Best Riesling in the World. Can you imagine. Modesty used to be a virtue which must have jumped out of the window down under.

The trophy was given to a ‘2005 Pauletts Aged Release Polish Hill Riesling’ from Polish Hill in the Clare valley, South Australia by Paulett Wines.

I cannot even try this wine because it is sold out. My search continues. I keep you posted.