Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Misha’s Vineyard from the deep south highlights Riesling’s potential

If global politics are leaving a slightly bitter taste in your mouth right now, it might be time to get reacquainted with one of the world’s most underrated and sometimes sweeter wine styles. Before tuning out when the word ‘sweetness’ is mentioned, read on because one of these exceptional Rieslings is totally dry in style – and tastes it. Riesling does have a reputation for being sweet but that’s not always the case, as this pair of great whites from the most southern wine region on Earth show. They are both single vineyard wines and come from Misha’s Vineyard,  planted between 2005 and 2007 at 228 to 315 metres above sea level on the steep slopes above Lake Dunstan in Bendigo, one of Central Otago’s best known winemaking sub regions. The hot days and damned cold nights provide a long growing season there, which suits the late ripening Riesling grape down to the ground.

Here are my wines of the week.

2019 Misha’s Vineyard Lyric Riesling $30, 18.5/20
Dry Riesling is rare in New Zealand and can be one of this country’s most outstanding wine styles. This dry Riesling has body to burn with its modest 4 grams per litre of residual sugar. It’s succulent, juicy and  intensely aromatic with lemon and lime zest flavours.

All the grapes in this wine were hand harvested and whole bunch pressed then divided into two portions; 75% of the juice was cool fermented to dryness in stainless steel tanks to retain varietal purity. The remaining portion went through spontaneous fermentation in older French oak barrels to add complex  characters. A small portion of natural grape sugar is retained to add flesh, without the wine being austere.

This is a delicious and dry white with elegance and power.

2017 Misha’s Vineyard Limelight Riesling $30, 18.5/20
Light in body, big on flavour this Riesling is medium in style and forms the biggest production of Riesling from Misha’s Vineyard, due to its popularity in exports markets in Australia, China and Hong Kong where the distributor preference is for a richly flavoursome Riesling, such as this one, which has 27 grams of residual sugar. This is equally as delicious as the Lyric Riesling and highlights the incredible diversity of styles that the Riesling grape can produce.