“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





26 July 2015


Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling  2015 
$25; 12% alcohol; screw cap; 85 points 

To this observer, Pewsey Vale vineyard Riesling has been distinguished over many years by vegetal, almost grassy aromas and flavours that remind me of autumnal vine leaves, or at least their stalks, or petiols. Marsanne often shows this, and Semillon too will show it. It's not like the primary lawn clipping grassiness of, say, Kiwi Savvy-B, but a more complex, partly-stewed sort of an affair. Sometimes a product of location as much as variety, a version of it is easily achieved anywhere with any variety if harvesting machines just happen to pick too many leaves as they rattle the grapes off.  Vintage pressure, see? 

Given the stature and total volume of this wine and its domination of shelves and lists, it's obvious many people enjoy this distinction, but this new vintage allures me because that character is greatly diminished. Instead we have the insinuations of fresh lemon and lime and maybe lemon verbena. 

The wine's not as bony, stony and austere as many of the smaller vineyard Riesings from the old rocks of the Barossa Range and Eden Valley, and it's not as intensely limy as many of the the Clare versions. This makes it a lot more approachable and open-hearted. I suspect folks who find those rather challenging, adults-only specialties a one or two glass affair will find it much easier to tackle a whole bottle of this year's Pewsey Vale. 

Heggies Eden Valley Riesling 2015 
$24; 12% alcohol; screw cap; 92+ points 

As the neck tag on this bottle suggests Heggies produces the "the best fruit in Eden Valley," it's interesting that this wine is $1 cheaper than the Pewsey Vale, which comes from another of Yalumba's collection of Barossa Ranges vineyards.

Unlike, say, Penfolds, which proudly trumpets its brand across the widest array of price ranges and wine types, Rob Hill Smith has long structured his winery's many brands to appear as if they come from smaller, more nuts-and-berries, unassociated producers. A chain of Rockfords, if you like.

Altogether a more impressive wine for the hardcore Riesling nut, this one seems more Germanic in its freshness and fruit: it has more nashi pear juiciness and lychee/rambutan flesh, and pretty flashes of cosmetics and face lotions. It's a wholesome, youthful, vibrant aroma.

The Rieslings of Polish Valley are often like this.

That fleshy texture makes me think of the oilier weed-eating fish, like Coorong mullett, silver perch or even European carp if you can be patient enough to remove that extra row of bones. To be more specific, this Heggies would go just swimmingly with a yellow curry of carp, provided the fish is not too muddy.

Take a brace of these to Chinatown. You could have so much fun they'll find you sleeping with the empties.

Even more tempting notion: sneak in and poach whatever fish they've put in the Heggies dam. Poach with tarragon and white onions. That'd be a hard-core act of terroirism.    

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