Summer of Riesling is at full noise. Every year I swear I’m never doing it again, but I keep getting pulled back by the seductive siren calls of some seriously good New Zealand Riesling.
Riesling producers are like Pinot Noir people. They’re not normal. They’re edgy and interesting and just freaking get it. They don’t care that Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or other trendy white varieties are easier to sell. These people are influenced by some of the most diverse, clever wines on the planet. Wines that utterly express where they are from, wines that reject makers tricks, but are simply conduits from the dry, stony paddock to your tongue.
I’m in love.
I console myself with the thought that I’m not alone. I’m organising the National Riesling Tasting this Monday in the Waipara Valley. Despite being only 2.1% of the planted vineyard in New Zealand, 70 producers have put their Rieslings forward for consideration of the palates of 60 international & national media & trade. To put that in perspective, based on vines in the ground, a comparable tasting would be 490 Pinot Noirs or 1960 Sauvignon Blancs to step in front of.
Why does Riesling punch above its weight, what is it that captures our imagination so much? I reckon it’s the sense of the underdog, an act of defiance against the dumbing-down of wine. Embrace the surprise, welcome the adventure.
If you love wine, you just have to love Riesling. It’s a fragrant, eye-dilating, dreamy mouth full of acid and fruit. Riesling is wine at full noise. Summer is life at full noise. Roll on.