Riesling Master Class – December 2014

Reviewed: 10th December 2014

When it comes to great Australian Rieslings, the Clare Valley and Eden Valley regions of South Australia are the spiritual homes. Grossett’s Polish Hill Riesling is considered one of Australia’s great wines and there have been many great wines have been released under the Leo Buring label.

If one wine has to be singled out, then the Leo Buring Leonay would be (for me at least) the most important of all Australian white wines. With a pedigree that spans many decades, these are legendary wines with a tremendous ability to age.

Of late though, the wines from the Great Southern in Western Australia have also been impressive. Many wines are released under the Great Southern moniker, though there are a number of subdistricts in the region. It is the wines from Porongurup and Frankland River that attract the most attention however.

In this tasting, we were lucky enough to taste a variety of excellent wines. The “standard” Leo Burings are excellent wines and represent great value, while the Leonay is a classic wine. It was, however, the wines from the Porongurup region that garnered the most attention. Brilliant wines.

When it comes Australian Riesling, it is clear to me that the Great Southern rivals the Clare and Eden Valley (and select Victorian sites like Drumborg) for sheer quality. One advantage that South Australia has though, is the ability to produce great wines at all price points.

So which is better? Both, but it is clear that the wines from the subdistricts of Polish Hill and Porongurup offer something that is just a little bit special.


Cherubino – Riesling – Porongorup – 2014 (18.6). Delicate and fine, with hints of lemon. Restrained and taut, the palate is like a tightly coiled spring. The power is there, yet the wine is tight and compact now. This needs time to open up, but will be a joy with oysters now. Just a touch of residual sugar adds perfectly to the balance. (RRP $35).

Howard Park – Riesling – Porongorup – 2014 (18.5). Smells like the Great Southern, but a touch more restrained. There are hints of lanolin, lantana and floral aromas. On the palate the citrus fruit bursts from the wine, leading on to minerals and slate-like characters. The finish is remarkable for the way the acid seamlessly integrates into the fruit, yet leaves a drying texture in the mouth. Very fine and long, this will be a star. (RRP $34).

Leo Buring – Riesling – Leonay DWQ18 – 2013 (18.5). Much more approachable than a lot of wines here, yet the fruit is spectacular. Fine citrus notes over floral characters and a slate-like minerality. The finish is very long and fine. A superstar and one that could be drunk anytime over the next 20 years. From Watervale.

Leo Buring – Riesling – Eden Valley – 2013 (18+). (RRP $20). Silky, tight, long and fine, there is lemony fruit on the nose and the wine slowly builds in the mouth, lingering long after swallowing. With lovely mouth-feel, there is talc like texture and depth to close. A great wine that, again, needs years to perform at its best.

Singlefile – Riesling – Porongurup – 2014 (18.3). The balance here is the key. Not as overtly concentrated as the Cherubino or Howard Park, but excellent drinking and an interesting alternative to a SSB. At the core of this wine there is pretty fruit with minerals and fine acid. Builds with air, so sure to age. (RRP $25).

Cherubino – Riesling – Great Southern – 2013 (18). Complex, minerals and spice, over lovely floral and citrus fruit notes. There is firm acidity, but the wine is very well balanced. There is a touch more phenolics to this wine, adding to its immediate appeal. Will age well. (RRP $35).

Howard Park – Riesling – Mt Barker – 2014 (17.9). (RRP $33). Very fine and restrained on the nose. The palate is tight, yet the quality of the fruit is spectacular and refined. Great length and mouth-feel, the acid and phenolics add to the balance.

Leo Buring –Riesling – Clare Valley – 2014 (17.5 – 18). (RRP $20). Lacks the sheer depth and balance of the best here, but that is underselling the quality of this wine. There is decent fruit and the acidity/balance is spot on. A touch of phenolic richness that adds body. Sure to age well.