Sourced from the Barwite Vineyard planted in 1998 on a slope facing the Broken River; situated 10 minutes east of Mansfield in Victoria’s Upper Goulburn wine region. Dominic Valentine’s personal label has been modelled on the great Riesling wines of Germany.
Dominic looks for the lemon/lime flavour parameters in the grapes prior to picking, with some more developed characters creeping in. Riesling can hang on the vines a little longer than other white varieties, so as long as botrytis is not present, everything is fine. The vineyard is situated at semi-alpine altitudes so it’s very cold late in the season, hence a minimal risk of botrytis.
The handpicked fruit is crushed and then pressed pretty hard to 2/3 stainless steel tanks and 1/3 old French oak puncheons (Large barrels’) and allowed to spontaneously ferment. It is a bit unusual to use old oak in making Riesling in Australia, more of a German influence. This, Dominic believes, adds the level of complexity and structure so evident in the wine. Continual monitoring was undertaken to ensure the balance of the wine, but as Valentine told us, the wine “is not about technical numbers… but rather wishing to create a balanced wine. It’s all about the palate and perception.”
Boy has he achieved his goal. This wine is just beautiful. Only 220 cases were produced and it has the typical Riesling lemon / lime characters wrapped up by a texture which coats the palate. No doubt from the time spent in old French oak. It has some lively slatey and mineral characters, with a cloudy apple juice type flavour, with an ever so slightly chalky finish. Chill it down and don’t be surprised at how quickly the bottle disappears.
The great thing about this wine is that it has the structure, complexity and length you associate with the wines from Rheingau, yet with the distinctive lime and citrus characters of Australia. Very impressive and very drinkable!