AUSTRALIA’S UNDISPUTED RIESLING KINGJeffrey Grosset of Grosset Wines is pretty much the undisputed Riesling king of Australia. His two top shelf Rieslings (the ‘Polish Hill’ and ‘Springvale’) are found in most serious cellars (including mine), because they age so well. Recently there have been a few new wines added to his portfolio, which has got wine buffs like myself quivering with excitement and nervous anticipation.
The ‘Polish Hill’ Riesling is the one that most people seek. There’s a lot of power in this wine. It’s dry, but with a lovely acidity and minerality through it. It ages delightfully for up to two decades, but also drinks well young.
The Springvale vineyard is about five kilometres away from the Polish Hill vineyard. The Riesling from here is a touch chalky due to the limestone below the soil, with a lifted bouquet that is more citrus than the floral ‘Polish Hill’. It finishes dry and long.
One of the latest additions to the Grosset stable, the ‘Alea’ Riesling, first appeared in 2012. From the Rockwood vineyard in Watervale, this is an off-dry style. There’s just a touch of sweetness. I often have this with Thai or Vietnamese food.
If you’re a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc drinker, Grosset also has you covered. Quite different to those coming out of Margaret River, this SSB is a serious wine that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
In 2014, two new wines appeared: the ‘Apiana’ and the ‘Nereus’. The ‘Apiana’ is made from an old grape called Fiano. When made by the Romans, wines from this grape resembled honey. The name springs from this honey connection, as an apiary is a place where beehives are kept. I’ve only tried the 2014 vintage of this wine, but genuinely loved it – it’s all about the texture. I am yet to try the ‘Nereus’ (a shiraz-based wine with a touch of Nero d’avola).
The ‘Piccadilly’ Chardonnay was actually my first introduction to Grosset Wines. The Piccadilly Valley boasts a really cool climate, so it produces a subtle style, described by Grosset as “shy and reserved on release”, although the 2016 apparently has a lot more intensity to it. I’ve just ordered mine and I’m looking forward to trying it.
Grosset also makes a Pinot Noir. There’s a lot to this wine – dark berries, brambles. It’s a spicy little number, but the story here is the structure. It’s almost a little bit of a challenge to understand, but once you do get your head around it, you’re hooked. Give it a couple of years to develop, but don’t age it forever.
Grosset’s most famous red is the ‘Gaia’. The tough thing about reviewing wines is that you often see new releases, and many Cabernets are made with age in mind. This is definitely restrained in its youth, but have a mouthful, swallow it, close your eyes and sit back, and note how each exhale thereafter brings another hit of flavour. This is one of Australia’s best reds.
Grosset even makes a Riesling-based spirit now. I’m yet to try this, but it’s high on my to-do list.
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