Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2012
The Pewsey Vale Vineyard was established at Eden Valley in 1847 producing some of Australia’s first cool climate wines. The early Pewsey Vale Vineyard Rieslings were exported to England where they won numerous awards in the prestigious wine shows of the era. Today Pewsey Vale Vineyard is a highly esteemed, specialist, single site estate vineyard with provenance. Riesling is our single focus. Elevated above the Barossa Valley on undulating land, Eden Valley is situated between 450 and 500 metres above sea level. At this altitude, the cooler temperatures and greater diurnal range allow the grapes to retain their natural acidity, with aromatics and fine flavours slowly developing well into the cool, dry autumn. The soils through Eden Valley are generally shallow, rocky and acidic, in many areas suited only to the grazing of sheep and cattle. There are special pockets with slightly deeper soils and finer rocks, where the vineyards have been planted. Pewsey Vale is one of the great Riesling vineyards of the world. Where a true alliance between nature and variety exists, the need for human intervention is minimal. Gentle guiding hands and an understanding of place are all that is needed to create consistent and delicious wines… vintage after vintage.
Higher in elevation and topographically more dramatic than the Barossa Valley floor, Eden Valley abuts it to its south and east. While it is a bit of an extension of Barossa, Eden Valley is topographically different than the pastoral Barossa Valley, and is composed of rocky hills and eucalyptus groves.
Recognizing Eden Valley’s potential with Riesling in the 1960s and 70s, producers started to move their Riesling production from Barossa to these better sites where schist soils on hilltops would produce more steely, tart and age-worthy examples. A most famous site, planted by Colin Gramp, called Steingarten, today produces one of the most outstanding Australian Rieslings. Youthful Eden Valley Rieslings express floral, grapefruit and mineral, while with time in the bottle, they become increasingly toasty and complex.
Riesling isn’t the only grape the region can grow; undeniably at lower altitudes Shiraz does very well. Mount Edelstone is a notable vineyard as well as the Hill of Grace, which boasts healthy Shiraz vines well over 100 years old. This is the only Australian region where Merlot has a made a name for itself and Chardonnay can be spectacular, particularly from the High Eden subregion in the southern valley.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.