It's often been said that if you want something done, get a busy person to do it. As counter intuitive as it sounds, it can be true everywhere from the workplace to the sports field, to the kitchen, the garden and even to how people relax.
The theme of busyness has been top of mind for those who work with wine this month. It may be autumn and things may seem to take on a slower pace due to cooler temperatures but, for those working with wine, this is the busiest time of year. It is when grapes are picked and wine is made and stress runs high, but so, too, does the thrill of the ferment and the unknown outcome of what Mother Nature has given to us to turn into a delicious, sometimes intoxicating, sometimes infuriating alcohol-containing liquid beverage called wine.
The following four wines were the stand outs this week at a dry Riesling tasting hosted by yours truly at Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington, New Zealand. There are two New Zealand wines, one Austrian and one from Alsace, France.
Wines of the week... Dry Rieslings
2021 Hiedler Riesling Langenloiser Kamptal Urgestein RRP $39.99
This wine blows all preconceptions of Riesling out of the water. Dry, full bodied, completely beyond fruit descriptions while retaining freshness to burn, this wine is an exceptional dry white from the town of Langenlois in the Kamptal appellation of Austria. It is made from grapes grown on terraced slopes northwest of the town. The wine was made from hand picked grapes, was stainless steel fermented and spent over six months ageing on lees (decomposing yeast cells). It tastes of ripe lemon, tangerines, a hint of peach and pineapple and is gorgeously dry from the first sip to the last.
2019 Rene Mure Calcaires Jaune Riesling Alsace RRP $35.99
Organic and biodynamic wine with a full body, refreshing lime aromas and a full bodied, waxy texture with richness and dryness held together in a great structure with smoothness. There is less than one gram of residual sugar in this wine, which is is Riesling as we Riesling devotees love it from a producer with a long history.
Michel Mure settled in Rouffac and planted his first vineyard in the 17th century, starting this now 12 generation winery, which remains in family hands and has 28 hectares of vines planted in six varieties, most notably, Riesling, Sylvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir which represents 10% (and rising).
2020 Pegasus Bay Dry Riesling Bel Canto RRP $41.99
The Donaldson family members are the owners of Pegasus Bay winery and are big fans of Riesling; the more concentrated the wine, the better. This wine is the queen of their vast range and typically contains less than five grams residual sugar but the extended hang time (how long the grapes remain on the vines) and the development of noble botrytis both add depth and body to this wine, making it full bodied and rich in flavour as well as dry. A little touch of natural carbon dioxide makes this wine zingy and spritz in the mouth, which adds extra liveliness.
2021 Craggy Range Te Muna Riesling Martinborough RRP $32.99
Here's an outstanding Riesling from a wine region dedicated almost entirely to making Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc; Martinborough. This relatively small region at the south east tip of the North Island is so fiercely windy, which reduces crops of grapes in the vineyard that whatever remains tends to be extremely flavoursome. This wine epitomises that. Fermentation was in an adventurous combination of stainless steel tanks, French oak cuves and French oak barriques with a mixture of innoculated (commercial) and indigenous yeasts.
Residual sugar is 7.9 grams per litre and this wine is, in the words of its makers, a salivating wine that celebrates the freshness of this variety and the Te Muna site.