The two Rieslings we make are quite different even though there is perhaps only 10km of distance between the two sites as the crow flies.
“The Learnings” watervale riesling
“The Learnings” Riesling is sourced from the St Clare Gardens “Honey Home Block” which is about 1.5 Km NE of the Watervale (WV) township at 400m elevation. The vines were planted on their own roots in 2002 on beautiful deep, red loam over limestone and red clay – classic “terra rossa” soil.
The vines are planted in an East West orientation at 2m vine spacing and 3 metre row spacing (1666 vines ha) and are trained to the VSP system.
Typically the wine produced from this vineyard is quite aromatic displaying citrus blossom and kaffir lime and has a full flavoured, almost tropical fruit presence on the palate that is tempered by crisp acidity and talc-like textural aspects.
It drinks well from day one, but is no slouch in the cellar either. With 5-7 years bottle age the wine will develop the classic WV Riesling toast and honey-like characters that lovers of aged Riesling covet.
I have been involved in the making of Watervale Riesling since 1980 and in that time I have learnt a lot of things along the way. I love that I can apply those learnings to this beautiful parcel of single vineyard fruit.
“The Solace” polish hill river riesling
“The Solace” Riesling is sourced from our own “Home Block” right in the centre of Polish Hill River (PHR) at 440m elevation. The vines were planted on their own roots in 1994 on red/brown loam over broken red/blue slate and yellow clay. Typical PHR.
The vines are also planted in an East West orientation at 2m vine spacing and 3 metre row spacing (1666 vines ha) and are also trained to the VSP system.
The wine produced from this block is typically quite shy at first with subtle lime/lemon and grapefruit aromatics and a fine, steely/slatey palate of lime and grapefruit.
Given time the fruit begins to uncoil itself from around the spine of acid and talc-like texture to reveal the beautiful lemon/lime characters that are often hidden early on.
Left to age in the cellar for 7-10 years the gorgeous lemon butter aged characteristics of PHR Riesling will emerge.
Making wine from this block for almost thirty years has been a privilege. With more time on my hands these days, I have been able to find a place of peace and Solace in the pruning, growing and picking of the grapes from this lovely little patch of heaven.
Which is best – the Watervale or the Polish Hill River?
I like both for different reasons.
I love the full-on, fresh fruit of a young WV Riesling that offers a mouthful of refreshing citrus flavour. A lovely refreshing drink on a warm summer’s day.
But as an “acid hound” I also love the steely, uncompromising acidity, finesse and textural aspects of the PHR version. Perhaps the world’s best oyster wine.
No matter which you choose I guarantee you will enjoy if you are a lover of dry Clare Valley Riesling.