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95-to-98 point Australian Rieslings - April 2018

The April 2018 edition of Decanter (www.decanter.com) featured a panel review of Australian Riesling - from across Australia's cooler regions - drawn from all of Tasmania, South Australia (especially the Clare and Eden Valleys), Western Australia, NSW and Victoria.

There were 2 Exceptionals (98+), 14 Outstandings (95+) and 66 Highly Recommendeds (90+). The first two categories average just £17 a bottle. 

Let us tell you more.

Of those two Exceptionals (a rare accolade indeed), one remains firmly unavailable in the UK.

The other one - the Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - could be sourced, as we had it ... but we have now well-and-truly (really, we really have) sold out of our allocation of both this and its older, highly-rated sister (the 96-point 2010 Aged Release version).

But... we have taken stock of the "current" 2017 'standard' and 2012 Aged Release versions - and both are quite excellent. We understand a strong instinct among customers to plump only for the rated vintages; however, we do recommend the information on vintage quality that we've included on the 2017 vintage's product page. Wine Enthusiast rate the 2017 Clare valley vintage as a 97-point year, and 2012 as a 93; high scores indeed. The 2017 vintage is rapidly becoming recognised as the best Clare Valley Riesling vintage for some 20 years.

We've tasted (quite extensively) all 4 of the Pauletts wines, and, frankly, they are hard to pick apart, aside from the gathering age effect. The 2012 is a particularly fine choice for Riesling 'petrolheads'!

 

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2017

£13.15

 

 

Pauletts Aged Release Polish Hill River Riesling 2012

£15.90

 

The 4 remaining Outstandings are quite excellent (I personally rate the Lehmann Wigan as the pick of the whole review, but then I go mad for the whole 'petrol thing') and will make up an excellent Riesling case:

  • There was the 96-point Peter Lehmann Wigan 2012 (again, with all the age development flavours from 6 years in the bottle); <the 2013 is now current vintage>

Peter Lehmann Masters 'Wigan' 2013

£19.85

 

  • And then the 95-point and celebrated (but a-bit-more-pricey) Grosset Polish Hill 2017 (£30.60); alas the 2017 has all gone, and 2018 is now the current vintage:

Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2018

£30.60

 

The entire field (that we stock) from this panel tasting - or their available-vintage equivalents - along with their reviews from Decanter - can be seen and bought below.

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Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2019 (1x75cl)

James Halliday Wine Companion Magazine ‐ April/May 2020  ‐  95 points.

 

** Important general tasting point: this wine - and many other fine Rieslings from South Australia - have quite strong aromas/tones of petrol/diesel/kerosene/machine oil (take your pick). This is not a fault. There's nothing wrong with the wine. For a bit more detail and some chemistry, see here. It's an aroma (and lesserly, a flavour) that is repugnant to some customers, and utterly addictive to others (a bit like chilli in food). Do please note before buying this wine; indeed, many customers buy this wine specifically for the 'petrol hit'! **

 

The 2014 vintage was awarded 98 points and rare Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below) .

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the climate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide,this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

For this, their 2019 Riesling, here's Pauletts' own data sheet/fiche technique:

Paulett Polish Hill River Riesling 2019 - fiche technique

The Clare Valley yields one of the world`s great styles of Riesling. This youthful, aromatic, dry wine has intense mineral and floral aromas on the nose. These aromas follow through on the palate leading to flavours of lime, citrus and white blossom. Tropical fruits and citrus dominate the fresh, racy acidity and a distinct minerality comes through on the palate leaving a fantastic, clean finish.

This wine is a good choice to accompany seafood, especially prawn, crab, oysters and bass and mildly spiced Thai stir fry and seafood curries.

ABV = 12.0%.

£14.30

Pauletts Aged Release Polish Hill River Riesling 2012 (1x75cl)

** SADLY, SOLD OUT! WE WILL SEEK TO OBTAIN MORE, ALTHOUGH IT IS LIKELY TO BE A COUPLE OF MONTHS FROM ARRIVAL. PLEASE EMAIL YOUR REQUIREMENTS TO communications@exelwines.co.uk. THE 2019 VINTAGE IS AVAILABLE. **

___

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2010 vintage of this wine was a huge hit when it featured in Decanter (www.decanter.com) recently, being awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Rieslings. The 2014 vintage scored 98 points and was rated Outstanding (see blue links below).

Pauletts (Aged Release) Polish Hill River Riesling 2010 - April 2018 Decanter review

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

See also here for Decanter's assessment of Australian Riesling vintages (click blue link below).

Decanter Australian vintage summary

And, for extra info, here's Paulett's own data sheet/fiche technique on the 2012 (published before being badged as an Aged Release, but exactly (and we mean exactly) the same wine!).

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2012 - fiche technique

 

** Important general tasting point: this wine - and many other fine Rieslings from South Australia - have quite strong aromas/tones of petrol/diesel/kerosene/machine oil (take your pick). This is not a fault. There's nothing wrong with the wine. For a bit more detail and some chemistry, see here. It's an aroma (and lesserly, a flavour) that is repugnant to some customers, and utterly addictive to others (a bit like chilli in food). Do please note before buying this wine; indeed, many customers buy this wine specifically for the 'petrol hit'! **

 

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the clim2ate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide,this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

Neil Paulett holds back a small parcel of Riesling from the most successful vintages for an extended maturation in the winery`s cellar. After 8 years, this (bone-)dry Riesling has blossomed into an expressive golden wine, with a nose of lemon zest and acacia with hints of honey and toast but with an underlining crispness. Citrus flavours of lime are evident and with a delightful freshness and acidity through to the finish.

This wine is superb with oysters and prawns or spicy Asian dishes.

ABV = 12.0%.

£15.90

Peter Lehmann Masters `Wigan` Riesling 2013 (1x75cl)

** Important general tasting point: this wine - and many other fine Rieslings from South Australia - have quite strong aromas/tones of petrol/diesel/kerosene/machine oil (take your pick). This is not a fault. There's nothing wrong with the wine. For a bit more detail and some chemistry, see here. It's an aroma (and lesserly, a flavour) that is repugnant to some customers, and utterly addictive to others (a bit like chilli in food). Do please note before buying this wine; indeed, many customers buy this wine specifically for the 'petrol hit'! **

The 2012 vintage was awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below) .

Peter Lehmann Masters Wigan Riesling 2012 - April 2018 Decanter review

Peter Lehmann, with 33 vintages already under his belt, started his own winery in 1979, partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa. "I'll take your grapes and turn them into wine," he told the desperate growers, many of them conservative farmers of Silesian descent who regarded their old vines as part of their patrimony. "But I'll only be able to pay you when I sell the wine." They gratefully accepted. Without this deal, it is widely thought that the Barossa would have lost a huge chunk of its old vines. The 'Masters' wines are made from the parcels regarded by the winemakers as the best Semillon, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz of the vintage.

Known for producing truly world class Riesling, the soils of the Eden Valley are shallow and rocky. The fruit for this wine comes from the William Hurn - Ross' Block single vineyard.

The 2013 vintage came early and was one of the driest and quickest for many years. The weather remained warm to hot throughout, but without any extended heat waves. The small crop produced outstanding wines that show delicacy and great purity of fruit.

The grapes were picked early and fermented cold in stainless steel for two weeks before clarification. Bottling took place immediately, then the wine was cellared at the winery for five years prior to release.

100% Riesling.

Residual sugar = 5g/litre.

The 2013 'Wigan' Riesling is delicate in colour with youthful highlights, and a soft aroma of lime cordial combined with toasty characters. The palate shows great fruit purity with a fresh, crisp, dry finish. This is one of the classic Wigan Rieslings from an exceptional vintage, which will age well.

ABV = 11.0%.

£19.85

Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Eden Valley Riesling 2019 (1x75cl)

** Important general tasting point: this wine - and many other fine Rieslings from South Australia - have quite strong aromas/tones of petrol/diesel/kerosene/machine oil (take your pick). This is not a fault. There's nothing wrong with the wine. For a bit more detail and some chemistry, see here. It's an aroma (and lesserly, a flavour) that is repugnant to some customers, and utterly addictive to others (a bit like chilli in food). Do please note before buying this wine; indeed, many customers buy this wine specifically for the 'petrol hit'! **

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below). This vintage has now just depleted (it's amazing it lasted as long as it did), but the 2016 seems equally excellent!

Peter Lehmann H&V Riesling 2015 - April 2018 Decanter review

Peter Lehmann, with 33 vintages already under his belt, started his own winery in 1979, partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa. "I'll take your grapes and turn them into wine," he told the desperate growers, many of them conservative farmers of Silesian descent who regarded their old vines as part of their patrimony. "But I'll only be able to pay you when I sell the wine." They gratefully accepted. Without this deal, it is widely thought that the Barossa would have lost a huge chunk of its old vines. The 'Hill & Valley' wines are made from fruit selected, often from single vineyards, in the Barossa Valley and from the higher reaches of the adjacent Eden Valley.

The grapes were sourced from John and Liz Stanton and Mark and Deborah Petney's vineyards on the Eastern slopes of Eden Valley. This east-facing side is particularly cool as it lies over 400m above sea level on acidic sandy soils, ideal for enhancing the natural acid balance of an exceptional Riesling.

Several frosts at budbursts and a windy flowering period combined with below average rainfall throughout the growing cycle saw smaller crops in many vineyards in the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills. A warmer than average January accelerated the ripening of the reduced crops which was followed by a slightly cooler February, allowing the fruit to ripen evenly and maintain good acid retention. While the 2019 vintage brought lower yields, the conditions throughout summer ensured the grapes had great intensity.

The grapes were harvested during the cool of the night, preserving freshness and quality. After crushing, the juice was kept chilled and was immediately separated from the skins to retain delicacy in the final wine. The wine was clarified and bottled following a two week cold fermentation in stainless steel.

100% Riesling. 

A fresh, lively Riesling with a delicate green tinge and hints of freshly picked limes and orange peel. The palate shows great fruit purity with a refreshingly crisp, dry finish. Although ready to drink now, it can be aged with confidence for a few years.

ABV = 11.0%.

£13.65
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