Saturday, November 26, 2011

Eden Valley vs the Adelaide Hills: 2011 Henschke Julius Riesling vs the 2011 Henschke Lenswood Green's Vineyard Riesling

Henschke’s own notes indicate that these two Rieslings will age for 20 years. I’m a fan of such a confident statement, but is it a knowing confidence or more a positive optimism?

I lined these two wines up on a Friday night and tasted them over 4 nights. Each wine got better over that period of time. With the Green's Vineyard, I'd suggest the 20 year call is a tad optimistic, however the Julius is an absolute standout, and should age beautifully.

2011 Lenswood Green’s Vineyard Riesling (Adelaide Hills) – RRP: $25 - this is an enjoyable riesling that will drink very well with fish and chips over the next couple of summers, and should age reasonably well also. It’s quite broad through the palate, but is underpinned by prominent acidity, and strong citrus flavours that push through a good finish. It improved nicely over a few days. 3.5 stars +

2011 Julius Eden Valley Riesling – RRP: $33 - On the 4th night this wine was drinking absolutely beautifully, and certainly lends credence to the 20 year cellaring claim. Tasting it next to the Lenswood, it was clear that this was the superior wine, presenting a much more refined and elegant Riesling. It has a classic Eden Valley nose of lime, apple blossom, bath salts and slate. The same flavours flow along the palate in a very linear, refined manner, underpinned by a beautiful unforced acidity. Detail and persistence are there in spades. A special for the cellar. 4.5 stars

The price difference between these two wine is a reflection in the difference in quality between the grapes that go into these two wines, and it sits well with me. The Lenswood is very good, but with a bit more money you get a world class Riesling in the Julius. The wines also fit nicely within my overall impression of Riesling from the two different regions. Adelaide Hills riesling is often very good, but rarely great, while Eden Valley, in my opinion, produces Australia's greatest expressions of this noble grape.


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