Pewsey Vale Museum Reserve The Contours Riesling 2012
Pale straw in color with green hues, there are intense classic lemon fruit aromas, with a hint of white flowers. Bottle aged characters of toast, clove oil and lemon grass have started to emerge. The palate shows great length and depth with concentrated power, pristine fresh lime juice overlaid with toasted brioche, sage oil and lemongrass. The wine finishes with fresh acidity, balancing the flavour intensity. This wine is released in 2017 after 5 years of bottle age, but will gracefully continue to age for many years for those who appreciate bottle aged Riesling.
Try with Foie Gras or duck breast with five spice glaze or fresh gnocchi with olive oil and shaved truffles.
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.
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 a bright Riesling that, because of its intense citrus fruit, mineral acidity and intensity on the palate, only improves with age.
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 sub-region in the southern valley.
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 easily identifiable typicity. 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. 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.
In the Glass
Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus 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.
Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
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.