A black grape with thick skin, Tempranillo hails from the Iberian Peninsula on the south-western coast of Spain and takes its name from the Spanish word temprana, meaning early – a reference to the fact that it ripens earlier than most Spanish red grapes. It grows best at relatively high altitudes, where the cool climate cultivates elegance and acidity. But it can also tolerate warmer temperatures, when the heat produces high sugar content and thick skin, creating the vibrant red hue.
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Raise a glass to a Canberra classic on International Riesling Day
Keen to experience the Canberra Region’s Riesling in style? Check out our luxury wine tours at https://www.vinocotours.com.au/book-online/devine-packages-luxury-limousine-experiences/
Hail to the record keepers, for through their words they shall become immortal. Without an invoice written by the estate manager of Count von Katezenellenbogen for Riesling grapes to be planted in the Count’s vineyard way back in 1435, we wouldn’t have a birthday for this wonderful variety. Thanks to a diligent bookkeeping, we do: 13 March is International Riesling Day!
A good Riesling will tell you the story of its home vineyard, and the Canberra region has some fantastic tales to tell. The variety was first planted in the region in 1973, and our connection with the grape is celebrated in October every year at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge.
Crisp and delicate, Riesling is a versatile variety that can be crafted to suit any palate. With twelve distinct districts including Murrumbateman, Hall and Wamboin, and over 40 wineries to explore, the Canberra wine region has plenty of Riesling variety to sample, enjoy and compare. Let’s take a look at three of Canberra’s sub-regions through the lens of three Rieslings.
Helm Riesling Premium Riesling 2021 (Murrumbateman)
It’s impossible to talk Canberra Region Riesling without talking Helm. Ken Helm AM is a powerhouse of the Canberra wine industry, pioneering and championing the Riesling variety in particular – and it shows in the quality of this world-class wine.
The Premium Riesling is only released in years where exceptional fruit is available, and 2021 delivered with Helm’s 14th vintage of premium-quality wine. Complex and intense, this Riesling shows incredible balance while showcasing the characteristic zippy green apple, mineral and lime flavours of the grape. It’s fresh and luxurious to drink now, but will develop and mellow for at least two decades (if you can be that patient).
Brindabella Hills 2021 Riesling (Hall)
With spectacular views over the Brindabella Mountains and Murrumbidgee River, the winery at Brindabella Hills is a perfect location to soak up the beauty of Canberra’s gorgeous landscape. The grapes bask in the sunshine during the day and enjoy cool nights and well-drained soil, developing concentrated flavour and complexity under the care of winemaker Brian Sinclair.
The 2021 Riesling is a classic example of the region’s cool climate Riesling. Lively, dry and crisp with zesty lemon/lime and green apple flavours, it would pair well with a seafood platter on a summer evening.
Contentious Character 2021 Riesling (Wamboin)
To Canberra’s north-east and just south of Lake George, the Wamboin district lies is one of the most elevated in the region and is home to the delightful Contentious Character vineyard and winery. The team’s quirky personality (with wine names like ‘Chardy Party’ and the ‘Stop and Smell the Rose’) belies the expertise and drive that is evident in the quality of their drops.
The 2021 Riesling (named ‘Give Me One Good Riesling’, because of course it is) combines the classic Canberra Riesling flavours of Myer lemon and green apple with floral, herbal undertones of cut grass. This semi-dry style balances the acidity of the cool climate, and would go beautifully with shellfish or pork.