Sunday, April 13, 2008

Toast & Honey on an Autumn afternoon: C1999 Eden Valley Rizza

The weekend has come and gone but what a pleasant one it was. Firstly, our favourite Melbournian friend Terence ( visited with some of his family again. Despite having a sick teenager (bronchitis) and a large pot of home-made chicken noodle soup cooking (for said sick son!) I did manage to sit and chat with our guests for a little while, and even have the occasional sip of shiraz with them over a platter of Maggie Beer pate', cabernet paste, cheese and crackers.

Prior to Terence's arrival, during a short husband/wife/business partner discussion, James decided to open one of our 1999 Eden Valley Rieslings (not made under Karra Yerta Wines, but during our "hobby" days). It was superb!!! I am not usually a fan of aged rieslings (I prefer them young) but what a surprise I received on the first mouthful. As we only have one case (12 bottles) left, it is a rare event indeed that we open any of our rieslings from that era. I expected something that had a kero aspect to it, and it did oh so slightly, but I was very surprised at the first sip - it was one of the smoothest textured rieslings I have ever tasted.

The clarity was impressive - still very clear, not the least bit murky like other aged rieslings I have seen and the colour itself was still relatively pale, although there was some yellowing as to be expected from a riesling of this age. The flavours of toast and honey were amazing. Very slight notes of grapefruit and straw (cannot quite work that one out!) and a lovely acidity still even after eight years. The bottle was our last vintage sealed under cork and the cork itself was in excellent condition still. For dinner we had fried rice, satay steak, stir fried vegetables, and honey-soy chicken pieces and the riesling went very well with it indeed.

Amazingly we did not finish the bottle; I specifically asked James to leave some for me to try today to see how it opened up: tonight it presented just as beautifully as last night - it is just so smooth, almost silky.. the toast and honey is there; just as predominant and yet a little different, more depth/length perhaps..? It makes me even more optimistic about what our allocated museum stocks will turn into over the next five to ten years. It just goes to show that riesling is truly one of the best varieties to cellar long term; the rewards are certainly worth the wait!

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