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Tasting: Ravensworth Riesling 2014

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It’s wines like this that make me question why I ever left the Canberra District in the first place.

For about 5 seconds, anyway. I’m more than comfortable with how things have panned out over the last few years.

Side note: I once did myself the worst injustice in front of the winemaker in question here: Bryan Martin. It was all rather embarrassing once I realised and if you feed me the right quantities of wine, I might tell you the story some time.

But not today.

For those who don’t know, Bryan is the assistant winemaker at Clonakilla (arguably the single most important wine producer in the Canberra District) but Ravensworth has been his personal project for nearly two decades now. The wine range can only be described as ‘eclectic’, covering everything from the standard(-ish) French grapes (Shiraz Viognier, Gris, Riesling) to more alternative stuff (Nebbiolo, Sangiovese) to what is aptly labelled on the web site as ‘weird stuff’ (Zinfandel, Barbera, a Pet Nat, Gamay and a pretty awesome field blend among my picks).

Bryan’s a talented winemaker who’s not afraid to push the boat out and see what happens, which is music to my ears (despite working for a producer making only classic Hunter single varietals.. or maybe that should be in spite of…).

Back when I was living in Canberra, I religiously bought a six-pack of Rieslings on release every year, drunk through them stupidly quickly, then tried to order more. Sometimes it worked, mostly though I was beaten by the demand. This was the last bottle from my last 6-pack I bought prior to moving. I really need to get more at some point.

Clear, pale lemon with a hint of spritz about it that quickly dissipates. Great nose of lemon, musk, elderflower and just a wee hint of kerosene – some people hate that smell about aged Riesling, but I love it. Not that I’d call this, at four years old, an aged Riesling, but it is developing.

A lightly bodied palate with great acidity, balanced by the alcohol and straight into citrus – lemon and lime juice, lemon zest, that elderflower again and some under ripe melon and nectarine. And then, surprisingly, a slight, slight, slight cheese character – has this had some time on lees? Wouldn’t surprise me. The finish is superb.

The thing that annoys me most about being in the Hunter is the sheer dearth of aromatic white wines that were such a staple when I was living down south. The other thing that annoys me is this was my last bottle. It has years to go and I’m pissed I won’t get to enjoy it again.

That said, if anyone has a bottle to donate, I’d kindly accept it. No? Thought not.

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