Sunday, February 20, 2011
1998 Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling (Clare Valley) - Cellar Release
This wine is as good an advertisement for screwcaps as I’ve tasted.
James Halliday’s review of the wine back in 1998 gave the wine a score of 90 points and a drinking window until 2008. He described it as a “classic in the making which is quite certain to achieve significantly higher points when mature”. I’m not sure it has quite reached classic status, but time has indeed been good to this wine and its travelled well beyond 2008.
I tasted this at Glass in the Hilton Hotel in Sydney. I rarely care about the colour of a wine, but this Riesling had a beautiful bright golden hue. The nose was appealing, yet reasonably restrained with some toasty marmalade like notes, and just a whiff of petrol. On the palate the first thing that struck me was the vibrant acidity. It defines the wine beautifully. This acidity is balanced by developed, toasty, citrus flavours along with a touch of honey. Lovely drinking. The balance and structure of the wine suggests it could go on for another 5 years at least, though as it’s not a Riesling of amazing complexity I think it’s probably drinking at its mature peak now.
The thing that excites me is that this is typically a safe and sound Riesling that can be picked up for under $20 upon release, and hasn’t typically had any claims to greatness. And yet under screwcap it is showing beautifully at 13 years of age. What this means for many of the more premium Rieslings that have been under screwcap since the early to mid noughties will undoubtedly be a joy to uncover in the coming decade.