How can a winemaker make a whole range of different wines from just one grape variety?
It all depends on the grape in question but when it comes to Riesling, there’s a seemingly infinite range of wines that can be made from this versatile, expressive and strongly aromatic white grape, as these wines of the week show.
2018 Tohu Single Vineyard Riesling $29.99
Tohu is a big brand with small quantities of Riesling, which punch well above their weight, as this dry wine shows. It’s made from grapes grown in Marlborough’s Puketapu and Sacred Hill vineyards, planted in 2002 in the Awatere Valley. All grapes were hand harvested and the 2018 vintage was warmer than usual with a relatively early harvest. They were fermented in stainless steel to capture and preserve aromatic freshness in this medium bodied, dry (4 grams of residual sugar) and super refreshing wine. Its light body and modest alcohol of 12% ABV add to the freshness of Riesling’s naturally high but balanced acidity in this wine.
There were 4344 bottles produced.
2016 Misha’s Vineyard Lyric Riesling $28
Misha Wilkinson loves aromatic grape varieties and produces two Rieslings from her hillside vineyard above the shores of Lake Dunstan in Bendigo, Central Otago. The winemaker is Ollie Masters and they have made Lyric Riesling since 2009 but most of it has been exported, so it has remained under the radar of most New Zealand wine drinkers. It’s the dry wine of the pair of Rieslings produced by this wine brand and while the 2017 vintage was relatively cool, which makes this wine taste restrained in terms of fruit expression, it is drinking well now, especially with fresh aromatic Thai food.
It will develop in the bottle positively for at least a decade.
2016 Misha’s Vineyard Limelight Riesling $28
Winemaker Ollie Masters makes Misha’s Limelight Riesling in a medium sweet style but it’s balanced well by Central Otago’s cool climate, which means this wine has intensely noticeable acidity, which adds a freshness and balance to the sweet aromatics of the wine. It also provides a long finish to every succulent sip.
It will age for at least half a decade but tastings show it drinks exceptionally well at almost double that age, not least thanks to the screwcap closure, which preserves freshness.