Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Valere Riesling 2012

Dom Valentine is a cool dude. I met him on a recent trip to Victoria's Yarra Valley being lucky enough to spend a few hours with him over lunch, some barrel tastings and a few beers at the pub. His energy, passion for his job, and love of the Fremantle Dockers are all infectious (don't judge him on that last one!). He makes some red hot booze too.

Employed as the assistant winemaker at Oakridge, Valentine's passion for Riesling was born with time spent in Germany working for Weingut Josef Leitz and Georg Breuer in the Rheingau region. He needed a side project Riesling and the Valere was born.

The Yarra is not seen as Riesling country but Valentine has sourced some fruit to fulfill his need. This 2012 is his second vintage with the fruit coming from a west facing single block vineyard near Healesville. Alluvial and Granite soils with a small clay content make up this 30 year old vineyard from which three tonnes were hand picked. Handled with much care, the fruit was whole bunch pressed with the juice divided between 75% stainless steel and 25% to an old French oak puncheon.

And the wine...damn! So easy to drink it almost appears to evaporate from the glass. I brought a couple of bottles back from the Yarra promising Dom I would leave one to cellar for five years. Well, umm...they're all gone!

You see, I love Riesling. But some of my great friends I hang around with from time to time don't and they have been blinded by preconceptions that all  Rieslings are sweet and rubbish. Rightio...challenge accepted.

A spring time lunch with some pork on the rotisserie, I slipped some of my last bottle into a few glasses and handed it out. I was back in the kitchen getting lunch organised before the I could hear, "What's this?" Bingo! The Valere Riesling hit the mark and the comment may as well have been, "(Insert expletive here) this is good!" Within seconds a top up was demanded.

How's it taste? Citrus flower aromas. Some typical fresh Riesling lemon characters wrapped up by a texture which coats the palate delightfully. No doubt the time in old French oak has done its bit here. Not a Riesling high in acid nor slatey or minerally. Very good fruit which is delicate. A touch of cloudy apply juice like flavour wraps it up with an ever so slight chalky finish. Refill please!

Only 200 dozen produced, Dom Valentine sells and markets the wine himself with a push towards restaurants in Victoria, though it is available in some independent retailers.

Jump in and get some. Trust me!

Who: Crisp Wines
What: Riesling (12.1% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $27