David Pike has drawn big red circles around February 9 and 10 in his work diary, as that’s when the best of the world’s rieslings will be at Frankland Estate’s international tasting.
NEXT week I am heading over to participate in the Frankland Estate bi-ennial international riesling tasting, which should be one of the most fascinating looks at rieslings many of us in Australia will ever have experienced.
With an emphasis on the greater appreciation and enjoyment of riesling wines, Frankland Estate has once again put together a comprehensive two-day event delving into the world of riesling.
This year’s event, to be held in Melbourne on February 9 and 10, provides a unique opportunity to taste and learn more about riesling wines from all corners of the globe in the company of many of the world’s leading winemakers and producers.
Tickets are still available for Monday’s tasting but they are running low.
Joining internationally respected wine writer and riesling authority Stuart Pigott, who returns to chair the event and tasting, is a number of leading exponents of this delightful variety.
Aficionados such as Ernie Loosen from leading German producer Dr Loosen, Bernhard Breuer from George Breuer wines, and the UK’s Jasper Morris will be in attendance and will take master class workshops.
Here’s a taste of what you can expect.
2001 Niederhäuser Hermannshöle, H. Dönnhoff (Spätlese trocken)
Helmut Dönnhoff is one of Germany’s most revered winemakers, with an intense passion for riesling. In 2002 Herr Dönnhoff was named ‘white winemaker of the year’ by two renowned German wine guides.
It is often suggested that Dönnhoff wines are similar to their maker in that they show depth, complexity, and are reserved.
The Niederhäuser Hermannshöle vineyard is one of the Nahe region’s most famous. Its soils are primarily grey slate and melaphry/porphyry. The wines display an intense mineral and spice aromas which are reflective of the site. Dönnhoff dry rieslings need several years to reach optimum harmony.
2001 Rüdesheim Berg Schlossberg, Georg Breuer
Bernhard Breuer employs traditional artisan’s methods of vinification that include fermenting and ageing in old oak. This process, combined with the time spent on lees, means the wines have an almost creamy roundness to balance the tight acidity. His wines are typified by their minerality and complementing acidity.
The Berg Schlossberg site is regarded as one of the best vineyards in the Rheingau.
The exposed site runs down an extreme slope to the banks of the Rhine River.
The vineyard is planted on weathered slate and quarzitic soils, producing wines that are refined and slow to develop.
The wines are characterised in their youth by delicate yet distinctive peach-like aromas, that gain subtle mineral overtones from the slate soils as they evolve.
Herr Breuer is widely regarded as one of Germany’s finest riesling producers.
2001 Jesuitengarten JL Wolf
Ernst Loosen bought the languishing JL Wolf property in 1996 and immediately introduced organic principles to the vineyard, lowered yields and began selective harvesting. The results speak for themselves.
The mountain ranges surrounding the region protect the vineyards from the harsh Atlantic weather, allowing for warmer conditions that invariably mean ripeness is seldom a problem. The Jesuitengarten site produces wines that have remarkable natural acidity and ripeness stemming from the predominately sandstone and basalt soils.
The winemaker employs a cool fermentation in stainless steel before transferring into old oak for maturation.
The wines are given a light Kieselguhr filtration before bottling. ‘Let’s concentrate on taste, tingle and texture of the wines’, Herr Loosen once proclaimed.
2000 Cuvée Frédéric-Emile, Trimbach (Ribeauville)
The house of Trimbach, based in Ribeauville, is a family tradition that has been maintained for 12 generations.
It all started with Jean Trimbach, who in 1626 created the now world famous brand. Trimbach is among the Alsacian producers recognised for their quality and fanaticism in producing dry riesling wines.
This wine comes from the Ribeauville vineyard that overlooks the Trimbach winery.
Its soils of clay limestone with a high proportion of fossil-flecked muschel-kalk feed vines that average 30 years of age. These wine have a remarkable ability to age with an intense backbone of flinty, mineral characters, yet generous fruit structure.
2001 Dürsteiner Kellerberg, Smaragd, FX Pichler
In spite of their huge concentration of fruit and extract, the Pichler family’s rieslings are also very pure and clean, enabling them to pull off one of the most extraordinary balancing acts in the world.
The Kellerberg vineyard is situated on a terrace hillside near the historic town of Dürsteiner and has the poorest soils of all Pichler’s vineyards. Yet it consistently gives them their best riesling wines.
Aromatically they can be quite left field. White chocolate and ripe gooseberries are often associated with their rieslings.
However distinctive they are, these wines are continually rated among Austria’s most renowned wines.
Needless to say there will be keen debate on Australian styles verses the German and Austrian styles at the Frankland Estate bi-ennial international riesling tasting.
Details are available from Judi Cullam on 9855 1544 or email info@ franklandestate.com.au
This year’s event, to be held in Melbourne on February 9 and 10, provides a unique opportunity to taste and learn more about riesling wines from all corners of the globe in the company of many the world’s leading winemakers and producers.