Vickery: A Masterclass in South Australian Riesling

Vickery: A Masterclass in South Australian Riesling

Barry Weinman: 26th March 2023

For this article, I thought I would give ChatGPT a go for the introduction. Yes, it was interesting, but to me at least, it came across as somewhere between an advertisement and a eulogy.

I have included it at the bottom of the page for interest’s sake, but the rest is very much in the style of Barry Weinman, as written by Barry Weinman.

For diehard riesling fans, John Vickery requires no introduction. Having started with Leo Buring at Chateau Leonay in 1955, John was a pioneer of high quality riesling in Australia. He was also at the forefront of the reintroduction of screwcaps to the Australian wine industry, launching the first commercial wines under screwcap with the 1998 Richmond Grove rieslings.

Fast forward several decades and John is still passionate about riesling, having launched his namesake winery in 2014. The wines are now made by Keeda Zilm (formerly from O’Leary Walker) and are very impressive.

The highlight of the tasting was to witness the stark contrast in styles between the Watervale and Eden Valley wines. The Watervale wines were a beautiful expression of fruit, whereas the Eden Valley wines had greater viscosity and density, with the minerality and gentle toast notes playing a bigger role.

Whilst the wines from Watervale were my pick for earlier consumption, the Eden Valley wines came into their own the next day, with the fruit building and the secondary characters melding into the fruit. Aging seems a sure bet for all the wines.
2022 was a very good year for rieslings and they are worth seeking out.


Vickery – The Reserve – Eden Valley EVR903Z – Riesling – 2019. Viscous, textured, rounded and very approachable. This is such a good drink young. There is gentle toast and even a touch of honey along with lemon and lime, gentle floral/talc notes and minerality. With air, this really blossomed and was at it’s best the next day. 93pts – $35.

Vickery – The Reserve – Watervale WVR 203 K – Riesling – 2019. This had a similar feel to the Eden Valley Reserve, but was a little more rounded, with a little more primary fruit and more citrus notes. The acid focus here is the key feature, helping to drive the excellent palate length. Excellent with food and a cellaring prospect. 92pts – $35

Vickery – Eden Valley – Riesling – 2022. This is steely and taut, racy even. Yet the balance and poise are exceptional. Great length and persistence of flavours, with the lime-like acidity running beautifully across the finish. A hint of residual sugar (2.7g/l) adds to the drinking pleasure. A great wine. With air, the aromatics build, revealing a lovely perfume. 12.5% alc. 95pts – $24.

Vickery – Watervale – Riesling – 2022. A tighter, more acid-driven style without the absolute depth of the previous wine. Straddles the middle ground, with fresh lime and zest notes and gentle texture. It was only with air that the real potential of this wine became apparent, with pristine fruit on display. 95pts – $24.

And from ChatGPT….

John Vickery is one of Australia’s most celebrated winemakers, known for his exceptional talent and experience in crafting some of the country’s finest wines. With over 60 years in the wine industry, John has honed his skills to perfection, consistently producing wines of unparalleled quality and complexity. His passion for winemaking and dedication to his craft have earned him numerous accolades and awards, cementing his place as a true legend of the Australian wine scene.

John’s career began in the early 1950s, where he worked as a viticulturist at Leo Buring Wines. It was here that he developed his knowledge of grape growing and winemaking techniques, laying the foundation for his future success. In 1973, John was appointed Chief Winemaker at the iconic Australian winery, Chateau Reynella, where he continued to hone his craft and push the boundaries of winemaking.

Over the years, John has become renowned for his expertise in crafting riesling, with his wines consistently receiving critical acclaim both in Australia and internationally. He is also well known for his mastery of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, among other varieties, with his wines showcasing the perfect balance of fruit, tannin, and acidity.

Today, John remains a highly respected figure in the Australian wine industry, and his legacy continues to inspire and influence winemakers around the country. His passion for winemaking and commitment to excellence have helped shape the Australian wine scene, and his wines are a true testament to his unparalleled talent and dedication.

            ChatGPT 20th March 2023