Australian rieslings worth more than low price


Clare Valley's John Hughes.
Clare Valley's John Hughes.

WHEN Australia’s best rieslings’ prices are compared to the best of the other varieties, the results show that Australia’s best riesling producers are trashing their own brand.

There are many Australian shiraz that sell at above $500 a bottle.

With cabernet sauvignon, at least one sells at $500 and a number are between $300 and $400 per bottle.

There are dozens of Australian chardonnays that retail at over $100 a bottle now and many well above that at up to $300.

In the pinot noir world, the most expensive Australian wine is at $590 and there are dozens of Australasian releases at between $100 and $200 a bottle.

Expensive though they may be, the best of these wines are both wonderful on the international scale and worth every cent.

And now to the riesling fiasco.

Some years ago Jeff Grosset, who (when consistency is taken into consideration) is clearly Australia’s greatest riesling producer, courageously lifted the price of his Polish Hill Riesling (2017, 18.9 points,) to nearly $60, encouraging others to break the $40 price barrier (compare that to the prices of the best of the other varieties above).

The two other standout Australian rieslings that we have seen this year are the lean and austere but very long Duke’s Magpie Hill riesling 2017 (18.9 points and $33) from the Porongurups, and the even more ridiculously under-priced Clare Valley’s Rieslingfreak No. 3 riesling ($26.50 and 18.8 points).

If Clare Valley’s John Hughes does not think that he needs the money, then perhaps he should talk to his wife and kids about their needs both now and in future.

This wine at this price says that it is just another ordinary, midrange Australian riesling – and how could we consumers know any different?

Oh yes, and was it mentioned that this wine also won gold medals at Melbourne and Sydney, and five trophies at Sydney’s wine show this year – including Best Riesling, Best White Wine and Best Wine of Show – making it the first time since 2003 that a riesling has won this accolade?

It then won the Tucker Seabrook Trophy as the best wine on the Australian wine show circuit in the past 12 months.

Light, fine and lingering, Rieslingfreak No. 3 2017 is restrained, classy, long and dry.

Behind the racy acidity there is delicious riesling fruit that cascades openly right through the wine’s great length. 18.8 points.

It will prove to be one of Australia’s greatest rieslings, is in my top three Aussies in the past 12 months and can be bought for $22.

Point made?