Aged Australian Riesling can be amongst the best white wines in the world. Few have tasted them, mainly because almost no one cellars Aussie Riesling in North America. Luckily top producer Pewsey Vale releases a Museum Reserve aged at the winery. Shipped across the Pacific, this is perfect for your summer drinking.
The Eden Valley: A Place for Riesling
Pewsey Vale is located in the Eden Valley of south Australia, with vineyards at high altitude site about 500 metres above sea level. Soils are light sandy loams over light to medium clay. According to the winery, the vineyards are difficult to farm. Compared to its neighbour the Barossa Valley, the Eden Valley (which is home to the famed Hill of Grace vineyard) is windy, cold and often low on water. Thus, young vines can have a tough time surviving without irrigation. The climate has made the Eden Valley an outstanding place for Riesling and it rivals the Clare Valley for quality, though I find the wines quite distinct in character. Whereas Clare Rieslings are high in clay, petrol and extreme acidity, Eden Valley is more focused on lime, grapefruit and occasional tropical fruit flavours. They tend to be somewhat broader than the Clare Rieslings, but just as intense.
Pewsey Vale is historically important, being the source of an original Riesling clone imported to Australia in the 1800’s by the Englishman James Busby and used by founder Joseph Gilbert. Pewsey Vale was one of the first wineries in South Australia, established at the same time as the Germans were settling in the Barossa Valley below. .
When great Australian Riesling ages it loses some of the austere intensity and gum rending acidity of its youth, gaining texture and breadth. The Counters is from Pewsey Vale’s top single vineyard, which has the estate’s oldest vines. The winery bottle ages The Contours for 5 years before releasing it.
This ‘06 is just entering maturity, and though it can age much longer, is open knit and expansive in its citrus and petrol, honey and subtle orchard fruit suggestions. This is great for most asian foods (particularly Vietnamese and Japanese) and is a prime example of what aged Aussie Riesling can do. I recommend you pick it up and, for the uninitiated, expand your palate.
Very Good+ to Excellent
~$45 at Kits Wine