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A PASSION for wine – riesling in particular – and the unique Eden Valley in South Australia have combined in the creation of what is believed to be an Australian first.

Its creators can’t say for sure but Jeffrey Grosset, from Grosset Wines, and Yalumba’s Robert Hill Smith believe Mesh Riesling is a unique product.

“It has been a fantastic concept and we have come up with a great result in the first Mesh Riesling,” Mr Smith says.

The idea for Mesh Riesling grew out of several chance meetings between the two respected producers, both of whom were independently looking at sourcing fruit from the same two Eden Valley vineyards.

Mr Grosset says the reason he became involved in the project was that: “Apart from my passion for riesling, this was an opportunity to produce a wine without budgets.

“It was great to really focus on a bigger picture; no accountants were invited to participate in this wine, and we had no sales budgets. We were free to explore all options with the only aim being to produce the best wine possible.

“It may take some time to create the ‘best wine’ from the two vineyard sites, but we are very happy with this first effort. We learnt quite a lot from the experience and have produced a wine that we believe is distinctive of the Eden Valley.”

The two vineyard sites were chosen because they display delicate distinctions, yet remain beyond doubt typical of the Eden Valley.

Aromatics and flavours from each of the vineyards produced “pure expression”, according to Mr Grosset.

“Differences in the citrus characters, perfume, complexity and depth of flavour within the two sites was fascinating,” he says.

Both wineries teamed up to develop the viticulture aspects and will develop that relationship further with regard to the two sites over the next few years to further understand the fruit they are working with.

The joint venture went to quite unusual lengths to achieve the final outcome, which is now in the bottle. Hand-pickers were sent in to the vineyards and divided into two groups. The pickers harvested along alternate rows according to the colour of their bucket. After meticulous hand harvesting the blue fruit went to one winery and the yellow fruit headed to the other. The fruit from both teams was picked at the same time so that, when it entered the two wineries, there was no difference in the fruit. To this stage you would have had an identical wine.

Each of the wineries then employed its own winemaking techniques to process the fruit, the end result of which showed differences in the vinification techniques undertaken in the two operations.

Mr Grosset says most of the differences are quite subtle.

“[There were] different yeast strains, slight variances in the fermentation temperatures and approaches to lees,” he says. “However the result has been very positive. Teamwork created this wine; it has been an empowering team result from all involved.”

This wine is well worth looking out for and for my mind it would be a good idea to tuck some away.

A very relaxed Mesh Riesling launch was held at Wine Australia recently. The wine, bottled entirely under a Stelvin closure, had only been in the bottle for a few days. It will be singing after it gets over its bottle shock, have no doubt. Only 2000 six-packs were produced of this wine and these should be available in Perth liquor stores within weeks.

Mesh Eden Valley Riesling 2002 rrp $28.00 rating 18.5/20

Perfect with a shucked oyster. Although only bottled a few days before the tasting, there were citrus-lime aromas with a touch of mineral perfume. The palate showed amazing depth of flavour and weight, an intense acidity that is pretty lively at present and a touch of ginger spice with mineral undertones. Quite a stunning wine, but what else would you expect from these two producers.

And the winner is …

Confusion reigned over the awarding of the 2001 Jimmy Watson Trophy at the Melbourne wine show recently. First up, the award was given to a non-existent wine – a cabernet merlot from Rosemount Estate in the Mudgee district of NSW.

The Rosemount representative realised the error as he stood on stage, and notified the authorities.

The award was then presented to the Rycroft winemaking team at McLaren Vale, with winemakers Charles Whish and Matt Koch acknowledged for their efforts with a wine that closely resembles Rosemount Traditional 2001.

Although it is still listed on the official website as Rosemount Hill of Gold Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2001, one wonders what this ‘winning’ wine actually was and where it will end up.

A number of Western Australian wineries collected medals at the Melbourne show but only a handful picked an elusive gold.

Houghtons grabbed a haul of gold with its Regional Pemberton Sauvignon Blanc 2002, Reserve Rhine Riesling 1995 and Jack Mann 1999. The Vasse Felix Classic White 2002 collected gold and Driftwood collected a gold gong with its Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2001.

The list of silver and bronze winners is ample proof that our wines are stacking up against all comers.

Rush for riesling

For those of you who, like me, love riesling, then the upcoming tasting of rieslings from around the world – held in conjunction with the Porongurup wineries on Saturday August 31 at the Hyatt Regency – will be the place to be.

You will able to compare the best of the 2000 rieslings from the Great Southern with selected rieslings from around the world in what promises to be an enlightening look at one of the world’s great varieties.

To book tickets for the Hyatt tasting and dinner, contact Jingalla Wines on 9853 1023.

Hot for Cinzano

As of September 1, one of the world’s icon brands, Cinzano, will have a new home. Distributed by wholesale wine and spirits company Swift & Moore for the past 14 years, Cinzano has moved its alliance to Tucker Seabrook. Managing director Rob Hirst was delighted to be taking on the famous brand. I wonder if this move could ignite the introduction of a range of Cinzano-based cocktails to the market.

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