Advantages Elegant flavours, smooth, long
Disadvantages Only at Oddbins, some may find petrol flavours unusual
If you normally think about a Rieslingwine and envisage a sickly sweet, cloying liquid from Germany then I urge you to think again. The noble Riesling grape is responsible for some very fine wines in my opinion across a full spectrum of styles from the very sweet to tingling bone dry.For dry Rieslings the Clare Valley in South Australia is an exceptional region. These don’t tend to be the cheapest of wines but can provide an alternative to the hoards of Chardonnay et al populating our supermarket shelves. The first Riesling that opened my senses to the dry version of this wine was the Australian Knappstein Clare Valley Riesling found at Oddbins at the price of £7.49 (I tasted it when my local Oddbins was still open, alas it is not any more as many Oddbins countrywide have been shut down). I tried the 2003 vintage but I think the vintages that are available are 2004 and beyond.
I drank Knappstein Riesling by itself and it proved a wonderful companion to a warm, sultry summer’s evening. It came in a long thin bottle which is generally typically of Rieslings produced in the traditional premium Riesling zones of Alsace, France and Germany. The first attention grabber was that it oozed aromas of petrol laden citrus fruit ! A wine smelling like it should have came out of a forecourt pump may sound unusual and off-putting but it is typical for Clare Valley Rieslings that have been bottle aged for a couple of years or more (petrol aromas can be usual for some aged Rieslings) and in the case of this wine it was nicely in balance with the limey aromas. I particularly prize and savour the petrol aromas but I would understand if it took others some getting used to especially if they are usually an vanilla-oaked Chardonnay drinker. Don’t be put off by it !Like a lot of Rieslings it had a medium body with a waxy, mineral, supple texture that generously filled the mouth and in true Clare Valley style it had tangy, lime laden citrus fruit that was expressive without being sharp. There were also well balanced kerosene-petrol overtones on the flavour and the finish was sumptuously smooth, long and relaxed with a few honeyed hints (Rieslings can also pick up honeyed hints with aging).
Happy glugging !
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