While Riesling is never going to threaten Chardonnay’s white wine dominance, there are signs that this varietal is reaching a new and younger audience. Millennials are on the lookout for full-bodied dry alternatives to Chardonnay. And they are just becoming aware of how good Riesling can be.
The simple, sweet, mediocre days of the 80’s are long gone. All that remain are the foggy recollections of our parents who’s introduction to Riesling was mostly drinking “Australian Rhine” out of the bag in the box or the German liebfraumilch in the form of Blue Nun. The lasting perception was unfortunate.
Today, however, is a completely different story. Riesling is well and truly on the rise. And Mudgee is perfectly situated to take advantage of its’ increasing popularity. The region has many similarities to the Clare Valley, famous for producing exceptional Riesling styles. Clare Valley is 33o89’S and Mudgee is 32o35’S. Both falling within the distinct ‘temperate’ latitudes of 30o and 50o from the equator. Clare Valley’s altitude varies from 190m to 609m as Mudgee’s does from 450m to 1100m. Both have a continental climate and large daily temperature change where temperatures at night can plummet. This combination of elevation, cool afternoon breezes and cold nights produces Rieslings with well integrated acids and ripe flavours.
Mudgee has a great ability to produce Riesling styles ranging from dry to off-dry to sweet botrytised wines. Winemakers are totally at the mercy of the season when making decisions on what will be the best outcome. But whatever the option, the quality of the result will be determined by the fine sugar and acid balance in the finished wine.
As Riesling lovers, not only do we enjoy drinking young examples of the variety where the fresh lemon and lime rind and florals abound but also when age has taken effect and we see the development of a golden colour; with lanolin, kerosene and honey aromas. Palate structures become more unctuous with age and the best wines retain fresh acid on the finish. You will rarely see an Australian Riesling bottled under cork as screw caps ensure longevity in the cellar for 30 years.
Currently, we have both off-dry and dry base Riesling juices fermenting in the winery. Vintage 2021 has delivered Riesling fruit with vibrant natural acid and perfumed lemon, apple and white peach aromas. Due to the mild Summer, flavours have developed at lower sugar levels than normal and we are looking forward to lower alcohol European styled wines this year.
Continuing the renaissance of Riesling in Mudgee is an exciting prospect. Be part of the journey with us to progress the variety. Wines that will be remembered for the right reasons, and not the fashion faux pas of the past.