TIME TO SHINE Kiwi winemakers are producing some superb riesling, writes JOHN SAKER, and consumers here look poised to embrace it.
HAS THE TIME COME for riesling to emerge from the shadows cast by its more popular white cousins, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay? It may be, if trends in Australia are anything to go by. Over there, restaurant sales of riesling have risen over the past year or so. This change has been abetted by sommeliers encouraging customers to broaden their taste experience. What has never been in doubt is the quality of riesling produced in this part of the world.
In keeping with past Cuisine tastings, this year’s riesling entries impressed the panel, with no fewer than 10 being awarded five or four and a half stars (from a field of 51). “These top rieslings have so much going for them – they’re great food wines, they have a sense of place, they cellar well and they’re not expensive,” said panel chair John Belsham. “All we need is for consumers to get behind them.”
For this riesling tasting, John Belsham, an international wine judge and owner of Foxes Island Wines in Marlborough, was joined by Cameron Douglas, New Zealand’s only Master Sommelier, head of the wine programme at AUT University, and senior wine show judge, and John Saker, author and Cuisine wine writer.
A couple of years in the bottle has given this wine remarkable harmony, both in taste and texture. It is medium-dry, round and flows evenly, generously dispensing toast, lime, apple and honey notes before resolving seamlessly with a lingering finish. “A fleshy, quite flamboyant style with energy,” was how John Belsham described it. The judging panel felt fresh sardines grilled with salt, garlic and parsley would be an excellent match.
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