Wine Australia has used its Connect website to focus on Riesling throughout the month of July. Our contributing editor, chef and New World wine specialist, Roger Jones, tastes his way through six top Clare Valley Rieslings, with food-pairing suggestions for each. He also explains the thinking behind a new series of videos made for Wine Australia that showcases the versatility of Australian Riesling, especially when it comes to matching them with food.
“We have created four bespoke dishes to match four very different Rieslings, spanning the breadth of the country and depth of styles produced,” Jones explains.
Wine Australia is busy promoting Riesling on its new content platform Connect throughout July. For starters, Justin Knock MW brought together six of the finest boutique producers of Clare Valley Riesling, to taste the wines, look at their different winemaking styles and specific sites. This was then followed by four, weekly food-matching videos focusing on Riesling.
Clare Valley is pretty perfect for Riesling, with a great climate, clear, pure, unpolluted skies and night time temperatures that drop dramatically encouraging Rieslings with great flavour and natural acidity. Justin Knock MW discussed this in Clare Valley Riesling – Wines of Brilliance and Innovation, a Zoom tasting he chaired with six Clare winemakers: Steve Baraglia of Pikes Wines, Stephanie Toole of Mount Horrocks, Hilary Mitchell of Mitchell Wines, Jeffrey Grosset of Grosset Wines, Matt Paulett of Pauletts and Adam Eggins of Wakefield Wines. Keeping to the theme of Riesling and food matching, each winemaker was also asked to suggest a favourite food match with their wine.
So how were the Clare Valley Rieslings tasting?
Pikes Wines ‘Traditionale’ Riesling, 2020
Apples, clean, delicate, refined, fresh, focused – a touch of custard apple, followed by Kaffir lime – bright and easy drinking. According to Steve Baraglia this would be fabulous with dishes that have a hint of ginger and spice, such as pork tacos. RRP £16.99
Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling, 2020
Lime-led, lime marmalade, toasty brioche, textured, perfectly crisp apple freshness, then a wet river stone minerality. Stephanie Toole suggests Asian-inspired dishes, I would probably go with a sashimi of wild sea bass with chilli, Thai basil and pickled ginger. RRP £22.99
Mitchell Wines Waterfall Riesling, 2020
Hint of Mosel Riesling, fruit-forward, lovely clean fruit, well balanced and focused. Lemon, lime, and spring flowers evolve on the mid-palate. Delightful Riesling and great value. Like the Pikes wine, this will match dishes that have a hint of ginger and spice. RRP £13
Grosset Wines Polish Hill Riesling, 2020
Refined, elegant, restrained, complex, layered, perfectly balanced, so delicate and pure. Rich texture, lifted by the delicate lime fruit and minerality. There is a delicate, refined lime perfume about this wine that can age for 20 years to reach its maturity… sheer class. Jeffrey Grosset suggests oysters, sashimi or deep fried King George Whiting. RRP £39.99
Pauletts, Polish Hill River Aged Riesling, 2018
Toasted brioche, lime marmalade, tropical fruit, rich lime on the finish, grilled mango, sweet pineapple and grilled banana. After a while the wine softens with real elegance and notes of elderflower. Matt Paulett hits it out of the ground by suggesting a beef striploin with sea vegetables, yes definitely a winner, the wine has so much texture and flavor that it would hold up well to the beef, giving it a pleasurable match. RRP £16.95
Wakefield Wines St Andrews Riesling, 2015
Unwaxed lemons, honeyed, fresh, crisp, lingering, focused, easy drinking, buoyant, and enticing BBQ pineapple, refined, lingering white floral and touch of spice. Adam Eggins suggests a Moroccan chicken tagine or a seafood Bouillabaisse… bravo! RRP £22.95
Australian Riesling and food matching video series
The food and wine matching video series showcases the versatility of Australian Riesling when matched with food. Myself and my son Richard Jones’s company Dickies Video Production have created four bespoke dishes to match four very different Rieslings, spanning the breadth of the country and depth of styles produced.
The first episode showcased Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling 2015 matched to BBQ Octopus and Chorizo, where this marriage can elevate both the wine and food to a perfect partnership. Other wines in the series include Grosset Alea 2020, Frankland River Estate 2019 and Gilbert Pet Nat 2021.
I have worked with Wine Australia on food and wine matching for over a decade mostly at their annual Wine Australia Day Tastings, this will be the first one that we have done on video, which will be released globally.