Monday, January 10, 2005

Winecology: Mitchell - Watervale Riesling - Clare Valley, Australia 2001

Another great riesling from Australia. In my experience, winemakers down under are putting out some extraordinary efforts that rival Alsace in bringing out the best of this varietal. Many would argue that Australia's rieslings age more gracefully than those of the Northern Hemisphere. This particular bottling was harvested in early 2001 and already exhibits nice layers of complexity from its brief 3 to 4 year period of aging.

Andrew and Jane Mitchell have been making the Watervale Riesling for over 25 years. Mitchell's Watervale Vineyard is situated in Clare Valley's undulating hills with limestone at its base. The effects of terroir are clearly apparent in their 2001 wine. According to the winery's website the vineyard is known as Alcatraz, "a place to do penance in the cold, wind and rain of a Clare winter. Alcatraz is particularly suited to the Riesling variety." Bad news for the vineyard workers. Good news for us wine lovers.

In the glass, the wine hinted at its age with nicely developed light gold colors and green hues. It breathed oodles of floweriness that gave way to steeliness and a touch of saffron. The palette opened with fruit driven zippiness. Appealing citrus flavors of grapefruit and lemon zest were concentrated. Layers of mineral notes followed. An extended finish. Not too big or alcoholic. This makes a fantastic aperitif, but its acidity and cleanliness paired well with Chinese carryout.

Rating - 9.0 out of 10
Price - $13