Pewsey Vale Museum Reserve The Contours Riesling 2011
Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
A large, climatically diverse country with incredibly diverse terrain, producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia has a grand winemaking history and some of the oldest vines on the planet. Most regions are concentrated in the south of the country with those inland experiencing warm, dry conditions and those in coastal areas receiving tropical, maritime or Mediterranean weather patterns. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing.
Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety; Barossa Valley leads the way, producing exceptionally bold and supple versions. Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia's second most planted variety, can be blended with Shiraz but also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône Blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version and Semillon is often blended in Margaret River or shines on its own in the Hunter Valley. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria.
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. It can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and the best exmples can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Tasting Notes for Riesling
Riesling can be a sweet or dry white wine. In any case it usually has a high acidity and stone fruit, citrus, spice and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.
Perfect Food Pairings for Riesling
Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, freshly shucked oysters and most Asian food. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
Sommelier Secrets for Riesling
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.