These drier Rieslings can be a perfect choice for summer, not only because they are so refreshing, but also because their bright acidity tends to work well with foods we commonly enjoy during the warm summer months.
What am I talking about? How about ceviche, salads, chilled seafood; all can be paired perfectly with dry Rieslings! Now before we veer off into a discussion about the difficulty in deciphering German wine labels, check this out. Great Rieslings are coming from around the globe and two of my favorite regions for them might come as a surprise to you: Australia and New York’s own Finger Lakes district! I’ll get into some other well-known Riesling regions in my next Riesling review write-up (ahem, Austria), but for today, explore some surprising Rieslings for summer.
2010 Wakefield Riesling Clare Valley Australia 12.5% $16
This smells almost briny at first with a nice hit of caper early on followed by notes of river stones, dried lemon peel and lemon grass. Really lovely aromatically with the sweetness of citrus fruit growing slowly in the glass. Round but certainly dry in the mouth this has near perfect balance with these clear flavors of stones, lemon rind and just a hint of white peach all floating above the palate. Very clear and showing nice tension right through the moderately long and consistently pure finish. This is not for everyone but this sure rings my bell. 91pts
2010 Plantagenet Mount Barker Western Australia Riesling 12.5% $17
Soft and almost warm smelling with a touch of sulfur that adds to the dried apricot tone of the nose. Under that fruit, there are notes of dried hay and some salt, mineral notes. Broad in the mouth, though quite bright with nice depth to the fruit up front, then a really fine mineral element builds support through the mid-palate. The fruit here has nice bitter apple tones as well as a nuanced burnt orange peel and pineapple elements. The long finish is all taut mineral and lime. This is showing very well today and in fact, seems almost a bit too precocious, but it’s delicious. 91pts
2010 Dr. Konstantin Frank Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 12% $15
Nicely perfumed with floral top notes, a fruity mid-range with notes of apple, cherry, gooseberry, and something vaguely orange-crèmey over a base that hints at earth with a slight mushroom/raw nutmeat aspect. This is somewhat dense but wonderfully balanced on entry with some of that raw nutmeat evident up front followed by more earthy tones and vibrant acids before the fruit begins to take over on the mid-palate. There’s a touch of grassiness here as well, but the fruit, all apples and lime, is fresh and pure and wonderfully rendered on the palate. This is elegant and shows real finesse, particularly as the wine transitions to the long, nuanced finish that has a lightly astringent edge and shows some nice incipient steely mineral tones. 90pts
2010 Kilikanoon Clare Valley Watervale Riesling Mort’s Block Australia 12.5% $20
Rather reserved on the nose with some distinct polleny floral elements and faint hints of citrus leaf and zest, but not much showing yet. Wow, this is sharp on entry with really zesty acids that support a tight bud of mineral-framed lime fruit. There’s a little watermelon rind here with those raw acids and the fruit is a bit modest, but the wine has a bit of a closed feel to it. The finish is all lime juice, bright, fairly long and incisive. This needs time to fully reveal itself, but has fine intensity and balance. Break out some oysters. 89pts
2009 Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Dry Riesling Barossa Australia 11% $17
Smells dry even though a bit honied with floral notes and a hint of white pepper spice that accentuates a green, raw, bitter apple charter on the nose. Nicely balanced on the palate with almost a hint of tannin and some fine bitter apple peels up front that’s supported by bright acids. The mid-palate shows a touch of roundness brought out by the touch of RS left here and the fruit takes on some floral nuances on the back end. The finish is moderately long with a nice interplay of apple blossom, orchard fruit and a touch of lemongrass. 89pts.
2009 Sheldrake Point Finger Lakes Riesling Reserve 12.8% $25
Rather odd nose with significant, evolved character as well as mineral and dried apple notes. With air this actually turns quite spicy and pungent with a subtle red fruit element and a hint of papaya seed. Nice and focused right off the bat with good acid energy in the mouth supporting slightly exotic fruit flavors. This leans slightly to the tropical end of the spectrum with pineapple and papaya tones in a very nicely balanced style. It lacks a bit of complexity on the palate, though it does pick up a hint of spice and dried floral character on the moderately long, decidedly more citrusy and green apple-toned finish. 88pts