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Riesling - the Cultivar - 1st April '23

On the 18th of April we decided to have a look at the cultivar Riesling. It is interesting that in the rest of the world Riesling is slowly on the rise once more or in a “Renaissance” so to say. Twenty years back people were ripping their Riesling out to plant grapes that were more in vogue or popular. Five or six years ago, Riesling labels started to re-appear once more. There are quite a few, really good ones out there. And so we decided to have a look at a few of the more widely known Estates, that have produced excellent Rieslings in the past, as well as one or two newer ones. For this tasting all wines were tasted cold and together. Each wine taster received a full set of notes for the wines being tasted documenting the chemical analysis, vineyard information, oenology and winemakers notes (these are available upon request). The tasting order, tasting notes and scores are as follows.

1. Paul Cluver Village Riesling 2022 (Grabouw- Elgin, oaked)

Colour- light green. Nose- citrus blossom, ginger, apples and spice. Palate- crisp acidity, soft, Starkling apples, spice, ginger, lemon, lingering spice to the finish.

Score- 16.31, liked by most present.

2. Catherine Marshall Riesling 2022 (Elgin Valley, unoaked)

Colour- light green. Nose- shy, with apple, honey and apples. Palate- crisp acidity, apply, with soft spices, a little honey, but quite shy.

Score- 15.46, one taster scored 13 (the taster felt the wine was thin, 15.67 without the 13), top score was a 17.

3. Nitida Riesling 2022 (Tygerberg Hills, unoaked)

Colour- light green to golden rim. Nose- apples, nettles, honey, spices and lemon. Palate- crisp acidity, Starkling apples, spice, honey and lemon, lime, with lingering lime and honey to the finish, the wine has length, most felt it needed food.

Score- 16.43.

4. Oak Valley Stone & Steel Riesling 2021 (Groenlandberg- Elgin, unoaked)

Colour- very light, tinge of green. Nose- shy, with flinty minerality, sherbet and greener apples. Palate- crisp acidity, sherbet, apples, very acidic, shy, slightly watery, apples on the finish.

Score- 15.00, one score of 12, top score of 16 (15.25, without the 12), most tasters felt that this wine was not typical, very shy, almost, thin.

5. Jordan The Real McCoy Riesling 2020 (Stellenbosch Kloof, unoaked)

Colour- light green to golden rim. Nose- forthcoming, lanolin, honey, savoury, apples, spice, almost smoky. Palate- crisp acidity, lanolin, apples, lots of honey and spices, full mouth feel, with lots of apples, spices and honey lingering to the finish.

Score- 16.15, one score of 12 (this same person thought the wine was not good), high score was a couple of 18’s (16.50, without the 12), most tasters liked this wine and that it was well made.

6. Verde en Lust Early Mist Riesling 2020 (Casey’s Ridge- Elgin, unoaked)

Colour- light green to golden rim. Nose- forthcoming, orange blossoms, citrus blossoms, lime and lemon, green apples and spice. Palate- crisp acidity, fresh, lemon, citrusy, Starkling apples, spices, which linger to the finish with the apples, lovely mouth feel.

Score- 16.79, everyone’s favourite wine.

Interesting tasting with a couple of very low scores, don’t know when last I was at a tasting with 12’s scored for wines of this pedigree. But, that just is wine tasting, not everyone has the same palate and thank god! Most tasters enjoyed the range of wines. The only one that was almost out of balance was the Oak Valley, most people didn’t like it and thought that it was sharp, acidic, thin? So the winner was the lovely Vrede en Lust, followed by Nitida and the Paul Cluver. Fun tasting, with lots of discussion and comments! Thanks to all who attended!

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