Monday, December 13, 2010

Eden Valley: So Named for a Reason (Henschke Julias Riesling)

White wine is equally tasty as red, yet I seem to forget this every time I buy a wine.  I decided that I have been ignoring white, beyond sparkling, for too long.  Today I asked an Aussie co-worker for an Australian riesling suggestion.  If there is one thing I have learned about Aussies is they are fiercely proud of their nation's wine, and so they should be.  Ask any Aussie for an Australian wine suggestion and they will always steer you in the right direction. 

Riesling is, in my humble opinion, one of the noblest of noble grapes.  There are about six or seven noble grapes depending on who you consult.  I'm not going to give a list of them because every time I look into it there are different grapes on the list, but riesling seems to be consistent feature.  In a few words riesling is robust and complex it is equal parts delicious and smooth, sometimes sweet sometimes dry.  Riesling, when done well, will never disappoint no matter its style. 

Producer: Henschke
Wine: Julius Riesling 
Region: Eden Valley, Australia
Vintage: 2004
Alc: 12.5%
Price: $25

Notes:  Mmmm... I like this wine quite a bit.  It has a smooth creamy texture that will continually entice you to have one last glass.  Banana, peach, honey, floral notes, petrol, lime, and hints of walnut are present in both flavour and aroma.  Really good, inspired me to create a new ranking category, it is Very Nice!

Germans: the pioneers of efficiency!
Riesling can be a tricky wine to buy if you are looking specifically for a dry or sweet wine.  While, generally speaking, many white wines are done in a dry or sweet style dependent on the grape they are made from riesling can be bone dry to sugary sweet.

Australia tends to make dry riesling, buy from them and there is a very good chance you will not be getting a sweet wine.

Germany does their riesling in whatever sweetness level they so choose, luckily the label will usually give you some clues as to the sugar content of your wine.  Germany mandates, for their higher quality wines, that the producer specify the ripeness of the grapes upon harvest.  In order from least ripe to most ripe: Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein (ice wine).

The less ripe a grape is the less sugar content it has, the less sugar a grape has the less alcohol can be produced.  Knowing the level of ripeness along with the alcohol content can help you figure out if the wine is sweet or dry.  A wine marked Kabinett with an alcohol content of 11% is almost definitely dry, in the 7-8% range it is probably relatively sweet.  Spatlese will often indicate it is trocken if it is dry, trocken means dry, if not look for 7-10% alc range for something sweet to slightly sweet, 11% + for dry wines.  Auslese almost always has residual sugar and if not will almost definitely have trocken on the label.  Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein: if you find a dry wine in any of these levels alert the Gestapo. 

Alsace in France also produces riesling usually dry but France doesn't like to be too helpful with these sorts of things so there is an off chance there may be some residual sugar.  

Austria is also known for their riesling but good luck finding one in BC!  I will definitely do a write up if I can find one.  If you have tried one or more please let me know how it or they, was or were.

No comments:

Post a Comment