Wine Lists

Wines to try for International Riesling Day

By Halliday Promotion

25 Feb, 2024

International Riesling Day is on March 13 – peruse this list for inspiration as to what to drink on the day. 

Riesling is a wonderfully versatile wine, with styles traversing the full gamut from dry, to off-dry, to sweet, and others in between. The variety is enjoyed young as well as aged, displaying zesty, juicy flavours of lemon, lime and tart Granny Smith apples when it is less ripe and richer, warmer flavours such as apricot, pineapple and ginger as it increases in sweetness. As it ages, it begins to show nutty and honeyed characters.

Riesling can be found in various Australian regions. As Jeni Port says, "We think we know where the riesling grape grows best in Australia. The Clare and Eden Valleys have the history and runs on the board, but the emergence of other regions has significantly broadened the grape’s repertoire." These include regions such as Canberra, WA’s Great Southern, Orange in NSW, Coal River Valley and Tamar Valley in Tasmania, and Heathcote in Victoria.

Wednesday March 13 is International Riesling Day. To help celebrate the occasion, below are nine riesling wines to try.

Brothers at War riesling

2023 Brothers at War The Grape Grower Eden Valley Riesling

Lifted floral notes with intense lemon and lime aromatics. On the palate, green apple and pear are vibrant, accompanied by a tight mineral line. This textural riesling is well balanced with crisp natural acidity, typical of the exceptional rieslings from our beloved Eden Valley.

Winemaker Angus Wardlaw says: What I particularly admire about riesling grapes, and consequently this wine, is their delicate nature. They demand careful nurturing, from ensuring adequate canopy in the vineyard to safeguard against sunburn and oxidation. The true beauty of riesling lies in the meticulous care and attention bestowed upon the vineyards. The more effort and dedication invested, the greater the quality and subsequent rewards.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
AW. In crafting our riesling, we adhere to a straightforward winemaking process: pressing, racking, fermenting, and filtering. Our goal is to create a pure, elegant style that faithfully captures the essence of our region and vineyard. However, despite its simplicity, riesling winemaking poses unique challenges. This grape variety is unforgiving; any misstep during the process can significantly impact the final product. Therefore, we approach each step with meticulous attention to detail.

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
AW. This riesling is harvested earlier than our other varieties, allowing for a higher natural acidity derived from the vineyard. By halting the fermentation process with a slight residual sugar content, we've enhanced its capacity for ageing. This riesling has the remarkable ability to evolve and develop over a span of 10 years, promising a journey of flavour complexity and refinement with time.

Best enjoyed: To fully appreciate its delicate aromas and flavours, serve this wine chilled but not too cold, around seven to 10 degrees, to allow its nuanced notes of green apple and pear, lemon tart, and floral undertones to unfold gracefully on the palate.

RRP $28 | Drink to 2033 | | Shop this wine

Clarnette riesling

2023 Clarnette Riesling

This wine, like the 2022, is full of flavour, lemon and lime zest, and hints of pineapple. It has an immediate flavour of lemon meringue pie, combined with a soft supple textural palate with some apple tautness to finish. A classic riesling full of flavour to be enjoyed chilled with caviar and rind matured cheese.

Winemaker Leigh Clarnette says: Viticulturally, riesling is the most hardy white grape going around; it recovers well after heat stress better than a lot of reds! So, when it comes to expression of varietal characteristics this is the pinnacle of it year after year.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
LC. West ern Victoria has a dry climate with a huge cool dominance from the Southern Ocean which keeps diseases at bay. My approach is to pick on acid and pH, once 11.5 baumé is reached, flavours are there always. This underscores the resonance time on older oak to soften and modify the aggressive tannins and suddenly the wine opens up and shows a fresher, longer living wine.

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
LC. The ageing potential for this riesling is better than most. After 40 years of working with and understanding riesling I know that it has tannins that must be modified before bottling – this enables micro-oxygenation via older oak casks and opens the wine up for longevity to slow the ageing process.

Best enjoyed: This summer it has been so inviting to drink when I come home from work. This wine needs the cold, so pop it in the fridge and serve in a big glass out on the verandah with family or friends. Pairs perfectly with fish pate, sushi, or a plate of sardines. 

RRP $30 | Drink to 2034 | | Shop this wine

 Dandelion Enchanted Garden Riesling

2023 Dandelion Enchanted Garden of the Eden Valley Riesling

Honeysuckle and musk perfume. Rose water, geranium, white lilac flower, dragon fruit and citrus flowers on the nose. There’s some handsome textural grip at the very front of the palate, but then intense citrus fruit flavours establish a concentrated core. Then explodes apples and green herbs and lime. This riesling has a stainless steel quality in terms of its purity and drive – long and true. 

Winemaker Elena Brooks says: I love this wine as it so versatile and complements many dishes. Its high acidity makes it a great choice to serve either as an apéretif or with fatty foods and seafood.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
EB. We believe that the Eden Valley is one of the best regions for growing riesling. The significantly cooler growing season temperatures, along with the gravely soils and altitude, give us the best growing conditions. I consider myself a 'lazy winemaker' when making this riesling since I focus on the vineyard, the fruit and the season. I aim to have little impact in the winery and focus on the purity of fruit in this wine.

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
For every bottle you drink today you ought keep one bottle in your climate-controlled cellar for at least five years. Riesling in particular is gorgeous with some bottle age – 10 to 15 years should do it.

Best enjoyed: This powerful yet elegant riesling is perfect to accompany charcuterie, pate, or smoked fish. At 11.5 per cent alcohol, here is a wine demanding pre-luncheon attention – serve nicely chilled.

RRP $27 | Drink to 2033 | | Shop this wine

Meadowbank riesling

2023 Meadowbank Riesling

A tropical haven full of rich and multi-dimensional flavour. Ultra-unctuous and sensationally zingy on the palate, with aromas of both passionfruit and lemon/lime minerality. A delightful juxtaposition of sweet yet sour, and still so dry and refreshing.

Winemaker Peter Dredge says: Great wines tend to have great stories, and our story begins in the vineyard. Our riesling vines are part of the original vineyard planted at Meadowbank in 1974 – this was during a time when conventional wisdom said, “you can’t grow grapes in the Tasmanian wilderness”, it’s too wild and unpredictable. In an act of defiance, Meadowbank vineyard flourished with life. 

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
Our winemaking approach is not typical for Australian riesling. I split my ferments between stainless steel tanks (for refined freshness) and old French oak barrels (for flavour complexity and texture) – the final blend produces a wine where bright acidity and a gentle kiss of residual sugar dance together in perfect harmony.

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
We agree with the professionals (wine reviewers and journalists) who suggest that this wine will happily cellar for 10 years. In viticulturist Gerald Ellis’ wine library, we have vintages dating all the way back to 1980, which we sample on special occasions. We’re happy to report our riesling continues to age and evolve spectacularly, well into the 20–30 year period, if you can wait that long!

Best enjoyed: We can’t go past the spectacular array of Tassie seafood, particularly oysters! Or crayfish, caught fresh and cooked on the barbecue. In terms of glassware, we recommend you choose your own adventure – whether you’re in to fancy glassware and hosting dinner parties, drinking from plastic tumblers during family picnics, or necking this wine straight from the bottle – we guarantee it won’t disappoint. 

RRP $40 | Drink to 2033 | | Shop this wine 

Moores Hill bottleshot

2023 Moores Hill Riesling

The wine opens with lifted aromas of citrus blossom, combined with subtle tones of passionfruit and lime. The citrus carries through on the palate with lemon and lime flavours amongst hints of green apple. The wine has a lovely roundness coming from a small amount of residual sugar but finishes clean and long with typical cool climate acidity.

Winemaker James Oliver says: High quality rieslings have a level of purity and transparency that few other white grapes manage to achieve. In my opinion, that makes them more terroir driven than all other whites and is the reason why I love making riesling. 

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
We've got two blocks of riesling at Moores Hill and we treated them both quite differently in the winery. One batch was destemmed, crushed and must pumped into the press in order to extract aromatic compounds and phenolics from the skins, which gives the wine beautiful texture and roundness. The other was whole bunch pressed and fermented with a neutral yeast to completely dry. This brought purity and elegance to the final blend.

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
We’ve opened up a few back vintage rieslings from our museum stock since taking over Moores Hill and the 2008 looked particularly good when we tried it, so we can comfortably say that the riesling should last 15 years. 

Best enjoyed: The lime and green apple characters on our 2023 Moores Hill Riesling will complement Asian dishes such as Thai beef salad or turmeric fish with coconut lemongrass broth.

RRP $35 | Drink to 2033 | | Shop this wine 

Pipers Brook riesling

2023 Pipers Brook Estate Riesling

Lifted floral aromas of white flowers and citrus blossom, with delicate citrus notes of makrut lime and hints of spice. Fresh citrus flavours of Meyer lemon and lime with sublime tension, gorgeous fine natural acidity and slatey minerality.

Winemaker Luke Whittle says: Our riesling vines were planted 50 years ago, back where it all started for Pipers Brook Vineyard. Ours is absolutely transparent in expressing region, site and vine age. The long slow ripening season creates intensely aromatic rieslings, our cool nights imparting gorgeous natural acidity. The end result is consistently long, fine and vibrant.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
Our winemaking process is all about locking in those fresh delicate fruits and lifted florals – a hallmark of Pipers Brook riesling. Our aim is always to master the perfect balance of just enough residual sweetness to balance the cool natural acidity and create sublime tension on the palate, whilst still giving way to a refreshingly dry finish.

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
Riesling has wonderful longevity with careful cellaring. Given this long life, the answer as to when the wine is at its best is highly subjective and there is no wrong answer. For me, I gravitate towards younger rieslings where the lifted aromas leap out of the glass, and the palate is taut and energetic. However, there is something magical about finding that bottle of beautifully cellared riesling which is still brimming with life, yet showing that wonderful complexity of age.

Best enjoyed: Tasmania has such a bounty of fresh seafood available this time of the year, and what better way to enjoy it than with Tasmanian riesling on a sun drenched Tassie afternoon offset by a crisp breeze.

RRP $40 | Drink to 2044 | | Shop this wine 

Rivulet riesling

2023 Rivulet Glaziers Bay Riesling

Exotically perfumed with orange blossoms, white flowers, lime juice and sea spray. The palate offers purity and tension, with Granny Smith apple, white nectarine and juicy lime and crushed stones. Energetic and concentrated, this is a wine with real presence and drive.

Winemaker Keira O'Brien says: The refreshment and dynamic energy of riesling is what attracts me to this variety. In Tasmania, there’s a juiciness to the acidity which gives our rieslings an extra level of enjoyment as young wines. The perfume of this wine is glorious; there’s something new to discover every time you go back to the glass. 

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
This riesling comes from one of the southernmost vineyards in Australia, grown at the edge of possibility for the variety. While it’s unusual to see this variety in the Huon Valley, the vine age and long, slow ripening season produce hedonistic perfume, superb concentration and an extra dimension of phenolic tension. Working with this vineyard over a number of years, I’ve honed my approach and take care to create texture and richness to balance the vibrant acidity.

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
Tasmanian rieslings age so gracefully, another seven to 12 years in bottle will see this wine evolve beautifully and develop depth and richness.

Best enjoyed: I recently tasted this wine with Chayse Bertoncello at O.MY Restaurant in Beaconsfield (in Victoria), and remarked on their beautiful and extraordinarily light glassware. The handblown Klaret Glass white wine glass perfectly enhances the expressive aromatics of this wine. In terms of food pairings, I recommend serving this wine with fresh Melshell golden oysters from Great Oyster Bay, or a Tasmanian crayfish and fennel salad. 

RRP $42 | Drink to 2038 | | Shop this wine 

Vickery riesling

2020 Vickery Watervale Reserve Castine Hayshed Block Riesling

The wine is youthful for its age with a superbly fresh and aromatic nose of fresh-cut flowers, lemon juice and pith, honey and citrus blossoms. The palate is super-fine and delicate in its structure but marvellously intense in flavour, the acidity is perfectly balanced with a long, dry and seamless finish with a hint of tannin.

Winemaker Keeda Zilm says: Australian riesling would not be what it is today without John Vickery (known as the 'Godfather of Australian riesling') and this wine celebrates all that his name and his career stands for. Everybody should love riesling as much as we do. It’s a wonderful wine for the Australian lifestyle and cuisine.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
All the Vickery wines are made following John Vickery’s unique winemaking philosophy: a longer hang time on the vine until grape and seed ripeness align, gentle pressing in the winery to avoid extended skin contact and the use of pressings in the final blend to ensure maximum flavour. The Vickery Reserve is always sourced from a single vineyard, showing unique character and potential for ageing. The Castine Hayshed Block was exemplary for this in the 2020 vintage.

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
If John Vickery had his way all rieslings would be released only after 10 years of ageing. This wine showcases the perfect character for ageing: intensity of fruit and fine acidity which will evolve for many years to come. Like the Leo Buring wines John Vickery was famous for, this riesling has a long and healthy cellar life.

Best enjoyed: This wine is best enjoyed with seafood, especially oysters, but it has enough acidity and flavour to deal with Asian and chicken dishes too. Serve cool in good glassware (RIEDEL or equivalent) and let it warm up in the glass. 

RRP $39 | Drink to 2040 | | Shop this wine 

Dandelion riesling

2023 Dandelion Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling

Bath salts, minerals, quartz, graphite, lemon and lime zest, honeysuckle, orange blossom and lavender on the nose. The palate is full of lemon and lime and green apple flavours, but these are but an undercurrent to this white wine’s searing acidity – like a long, thin line of polished stainless steel. Hints of orange peel, passionfruit, rose petal and pear skin.

Winemaker Elena Brooks says: I feel I am the custodian of these 112-year-old vines. Like how Colin Kroehn tended this Eden Valley riesling vineyard for 66 of his 86 years and then passed it onto me, I will one day pass it onto the next talented winemaker to nurture, and narrate through wine, the story of this unique place. Our Wonderland presents beautiful minerality from the pink and white quartz in the soil and the coolness of the location, making for a very elegant riesling with pronounced acidity.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process when it comes to riesling?
I approach winemaking with minimal intervention. All I do with this wine is choose the date of picking. After being hand-picked, the free-run juice was then fermented in small tanks and bottled with minimal winemaking artefacts to capture the essence of the vineyard. 

H. Tell us about the ageing potential for this riesling?
We have done verticals of this riesling since 2009, showcasing how this wine can age for decades. The high acidity combined with bright flavours can age gracefully and will evolve over time.

Best enjoyed: Avoid over-chilling this super-fine riesling. Savour the full-flavour and complexity of this beautiful wine by using riesling stemware, and serve with the freshest abalone dish you can find. 

RRP $60 | Drink to 2033 | | Shop this wine