Our winemaker, Josef Orbach has been making Riesling for over 16 years (and drinking it from the age of 18, back in 1968!)
Josef's true love for Riesling sparked in 1976 when he purchased his first case of 1920's Yalumba 'Cart Door' Riesling for just $2 in Auction! What excited Josef about aged Riesling was the rollercoaster of cellaring such a varietal. and So, we thought we'd share some of Josef's thoughts on cellaring white wines:
"Every 12-18 months the wine morphs and re-morphs itself over and over again - so picking the wines for tasting can be very hit or miss and often result in very interesting flavour profiles. I find that Rieslings with high acidity, and low alcohol tend to age best: at 15-17 years these wines are highly viscous, kerosene on the nose, and rich honeycomb in colour.
Not all white wine varieties are suited to ageing in your cellar. For example, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Pinot Gris/Grigio and most Chardonnay wines are made to be consumed fresh (within 1-2 years). Basically, the acid level of a wine determines its suitability to ageing. This is why Riesling, Semillon, and Marsanne varieties tend to cellar so well!
I have been making my own Riesling from the Clare Valley since 2004. I believe the grapes from cool climate regions are preferred when making Riesling because of the long, slow ripening times. Warm days and very cool nights result in a berry that is not heat stressed. The foliage canopy protect the grapes from sun burn, while the dramatic drop in overnight temperatures encourages great acidity.
Last year we did a vertical wine tasting event which explored the same Riesling from the Clare Valley from 2004- to 2019. We found that all vintages had a similar DNA. Fruit from a renowned riesling region coupled with best practice wine making techniques resulted in green straw colours, and relatively low alcohol counts combined to deliver fitness and structure." - Josef Orbach, Side Gate Winemaker.
Reach out to us if you have any further questions or perhaps want to share notes from your own cellar!
Cheers & happy cellaring,
From Josef & the team at Side Gate!