Top 10 - value for money in riesling

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Taste Food and Wine 2009 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer

Taste Food and Wine 2009 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer

The best value whites in Taste Food and Wine 2009 are Rieslings, which should come as no surprise to you, because this has been true for years. Those of you who are not drinking this grape variety are missing out on drama and excellence in every glass.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Riesling     2008    $13.50   
Most wines have an energy about them that can propel them forwards for many, many years. But one or two drink superbly young, and this is the style that we have searched for in our sub-$15 Rieslings this year. When you’re going to a BYO evening and you haven’t done your shopping, this is about as safe a style as you can get because it goes with all styles of cooking, and it will probably only set you back $10.   

Leasingham Magnus Riesling     2008    $14.00   
With news that Leasingham is up for grabs from its owners Constellation, let’s all hope that the most historic winery in Clare doesn’t become extinct, because life would be very dull without wines like this. The best Magnus to date has very fine white peach and lemon fruit with layers of perfumed white blossoms. Great acidity. Impressive, long, will age. Lots of white blossom flavours. Very smooth and complete already.

Jim Barry Wines Watervale Riesling     2008    $16.00   
Already drinking beautifully, this wine is tight and fresh with lemon and lime flavours in a very grown up style, which is staggering for the price, and yet that it what Jim Barry’s wines do so well. Only three Rieslings snuck in under the $15 barrier this year because we are ruthless in eliminating wines that lack precision or deliciousness.   

Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Riesling
    2008    $18.00   
PL’s EV Riesling is two or three belt holes tighter than his straight offering, loading minerality and rapier sharp fruit into the mix. By all means crack on now, because it’s an intense lime-juice-scented wine, but we are sure you will be able to sense that there is so much more to come behind the scenes as this wine ages gracefully.    

Ad Hoc Wall Flower Riesling    2008    $18.00       
A wall flower Larry Cherubino is not, preferring to be centre of attention or otherwise nearest the bar. Ad hoc he is, because you never know what is coming next from his winery. This is a very precise Riesling for this money, with fine apple fruit and a seamlessly integrated palate.

Leo Buring Eden Valley Riesling     2008    $19.00       
The Buring 2008 Riesling foursome is as impressive an outfit as we have seen from anywhere this year. Make sure you don’t cut your tongue on this wine, it is that sharp. And ensure also that you have enough fresh red chillies to throw into whatever you’re cooking tonight, because this wine can handle it.   

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling     2008    $19.00   
There is so much going for Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling. Here are just some of the descriptors that we brainstormed in less than a second. World-class, historic, stylish, reliable, classic, racy, exciting, gripping, pure, beautiful, age-worthy but immediately enjoyable, bargain-priced… we could go on. The 2008 adds finesse, very fine, ethereal, delicate and exceedingly long and minerally to this list of notes, making this our favourite release in a decade.

St Hallett Eden Valley Riesling  
   2008    $20.00   
There is no other country on the planet that can make a line of Rieslings as pure and consistent as we have assembled for you again this year. St Hallett, better known for its reds, is a mainstay in this distinguished line with this delicious and pretty wine with pure pear and lime juice flavours.   

O’Leary Walker Watervale Riesling    2008    $21.00   
The difference between this and the Rieslings before it is that there is much more bracing acidity here. This is a serious wine, built to age. Zesty lemon, lime and spice with great length are the themes here. Polish Hill River 2008 ($22, screw cap) is tighter and finer with tight green apple and pear fruit and brilliant length.   

Skillogalee Single Vineyard Riesling     2008    $21.00     
In Taste Food and Wine 2009 we don’t make a fuss about wineries of the year, winemakers of the year and such like, but we are ever vigilant, keeping our fingers on the pulse of everything that moves in this industry. So it is worth pointing out that Skilly has improved its offering at a rate that is well ahead of the curve, making it one of the most exciting, fast-paced improvers on the Aussie scene, and we raise our glass to what must be an enormous effort made there every day.                                    


Reproduced with permission. © Copyright Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer 2008 Members can purchase Taste Food and Wine 2009 from our online partner Seekbooks at a 12.5% discount, postage and handling extra.




  • Barossa (including Eden Valley) (SA)
  • Barossa Valley (SA)
  • Clare Valley (SA)
  • Eden Valley & High Eden (SA)
  • Pemberton (WA)
  • South West WA (WA)

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February 10th, 2009
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