Can you cellar white wine?


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!