Few places in Australia command such vinicultural revere as the Rieslings of Polish Hill in the Clare Valley. And for good reason.
Many, many areas of Australia grow Riesling, including (surprisingly) at least one producer of note in the Hunter Valley where I call home. But nowhere can quite get the steely, minerality of the Eden and Clare Valleys.
If Hunter Valley Shiraz was my first real love in red wine, Clare Valley Riesling was my first real love with white wine. There’s just something about the crisp, fresh acidity, the touch of citrus and the hit of minerality of the young wines that makes the experience just amazing. Add a bit of age and they develop such complexity and begin to share some similarities with their old world brethren from Alsace and Mosel that simply doesn’t exist in the younger versions.
That minerality was once described to me ‘like liking a delicious rock’ and that descriptor has stuck with me for over a decade, such is its accuracy.
Grosset Polish Hill comes from an eight-hectare site of old rock soil that makes the vines struggle – the bunches and berries are small as the vines struggle to draw nutrients from the limited soils, but this just adds to the wines intensity.
How much do the vines struggle? Well, Grosset claim that each vine can only produce two bottles of wine.
If you want to understand just what the French are on about when they discuss ‘terroir’, grab a bunch of Clare Valley Rieslings from different areas of the region and you’ll soon get it.
A real trip.
Pale lemon-green with aromas of lemon, lime, slight green apple then a hit of florals for good measure. Some unripe white peach along with lemon peel and gooseberry.
I first tasted this wine close to 12 months ago and felt then that the wine was tight and needed some time to come into itself. This time, it was bang on the money. Citrus to the front – lemon & grapefruit – then lemon peel, green apples and some elderflower. It’s still tight and has that all too familiar mineral steeliness to the acidity that continues on through the very generous finish. It’s got some staying power this, and is going to reward graciously over the next decade and then some.
Brilliant stuff, is there any more?