Wine Reviews: Rieslingfreak, Sutton Grange Fairbank and Camelias

RIESLINGFREAK No.5 Reverence of Riesling 2013
Clare Valley, South Australia
RRP $22.99

You wouldn’t know John Hughes was a Riesling freak just by looking at him. But start talking with the softly spoken gentleman and you will soon realize the history and passion that goes behind the Rieslingfreak project. Mr Hughes grew up on an old Riesling vineyard in the famous Clare Valley region and found himself tasting Riesling from all over the world and experiencing all the different styles on offer. This was his calling and Rieslingfreak was born.

The no.5 Riesling is called Reverence of Riesling and is produced in an off-dry style with a total of 11g/L residual sugar. You will find scents of crisp green apples and lemon rind followed by a light and gentle entry onto the palate. There is a slight honeyed character going on, however the ripper Clare Valley acidity tempers this syrupy texture. Do not be frightened though, the palate has an overall smooth, rather than biting, effect.

The last lingering note is of pineapple with an overall effect akin to drinking a summer fruit salad with oscillating peaks of sweetness and tartness.

An off-dry style of Riesling may not be everybody’s cup of tea and might remind them of drinking those commercial German Rieslings decades ago. However when you combine passion with quality Riesling grapes and create a great balance with sugar and acidity, the result if simply magic. You never know, you may find that in time you too become a Riesling freak.
Stockist: King & Godfree, Carlton

Bendigo, Victoria
RRP $23.99

There is something about the French – they ooze class and are perpetually charming. The man behind the Sutton Grange/Fairbank label is none other than French-born winemaker Gilles Lapalus. After some stints in France, Italy and Chile, Mr Lapalus settled in Australia to make interesting and delicious wines at Sutton Grange in the Bendigo region.

This is the perfect example of a dry and savoury rosé. It is made using syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot fruit grown in the dry conditions of 2013. The fruit underwent fermentation using indigenous yeast and fermented in old barrels, a technique that tends to inhibit more overt fruity characters.

Mr Lapalus has delivered a very unique style of rosé. The nose is immediately more savoury with scents of green melon, quince jelly and a note that can only be described as similar to a breeze through a saddle yard. The palate is just as quirky with that beautiful quince note coming through, some medium acidity holding everything together and this great touch of salted caramel adding further complexity. Who knows whether these unique characters are a result of the Sutton Grange land or the hands of Mr Lapalus. Either way, what this Frenchman has created is a truly charming and different rosé to be enjoyed all through these warmer months.
Stockist: Wine House, Southbank

CAMELIAS Cabeco do Mocho 2009
Dão, Portugal
RRP $21.99

Portugal is in my top ten for countries that I need to explore more thoroughly. What with the people, the food, the changing landscapes, oh, and the wine. I once was able to experience bliss when I visited Oporto for a few days. Alas, I did not get to travel further. Had I gone inland and ventured south, I would have come across the mountainous Dão wine region, where this Cabeco do Mocho wine is made. In Dão it is believed that the main red grape variety, Touriga Nacional, originated here. The other component in this blend is a variety called Jaen, also more commonly known as Mencía.

Beyond the wise, colourful owl adorning the front label, the Cabeco do Mocho is a beautiful dark hue in the glass and offers aromas of blackberry, violets and liquorice. It is quite Shiraz-like in flavour yet would sit on the lighter spectrum. There is plenty of fruity black berry flavours and vanilla at the fore, with smooth, medium tannins and a savoury note to finish.

I enjoyed this with a very non-Portuguese plate of spaghetti Bolognese, where the wine sat all too nicely with the sweet tomato and savoury meat aspects. While I can enjoy a good selection of Portuguese wines here in Australia, I do not think I will let that stop me from one day going over for more.
Stockist: At Brooks of Melbourne, CBD

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