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Given the option to take on one of the old Brown Brothers Riesling vineyards in the Whitlands region, Rory Lane thought he’d take a look.
What he found was a 30-year-old close planted site at 800m above sea level, the perfect site to make beautiful, delicate Riesling.
Due to the high natural acidity produced by these vines, he retained a little residual sugar (8g/l) to give more fruit weight and ultimately, more drive to the wine.
He’s got the balance spot on making this 93 point Riesling perfect for drinking right now or in a decade’s time.
What It Tastes Like
“A smidge of residual sugar gives strong apple/lime flavours an extra push. This is a mighty tasty young riesling. Soft but lengthy and incredibly pure. It will age but full enjoyment is available now.” - James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
93 points. “A smidge of residual sugar gives strong apple/lime flavours an extra push. This is a mighty tasty young riesling. Soft but lengthy and incredibly pure. It will age but full enjoyment is available now.”
- James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
93 points. “One of the annoying things in Australia is that we still value wineries considerably more than Vineyards.
To see evidence of this you only need to look at how winemakers are treated like rockstars – even when they don’t have any vineyards – while viticulturists are seen as simple farmers. It’s an odd situation that largely ignores terroir (and is still slow to change).
I had that in mind after trying this superb Riesling, which comes from a close-planted vineyard I’ve never heard of and in a location not known for Riesling. A site that likely deserves more attention, but historically would have been blended away into a wine simply labelled as ‘Victoria’.
Rory Lane calls this wine a ‘regional departure’ as his previously source for Riesling, the Barratt Vineyard in Henty, is no more. On the hunt for cool-clime fruit, he got word of a vineyard next door to Brown Brother’s Whitlands site with some handy Riesling. That led to the Croucher Vineyard – a close-planted block planted on volcanic soils in the mid-1980s at 800m above sea level.
Of interest is the numbers here – pH 2.90 (mad low pH), TA 7.6g/L (shedloads of acidity) and RS 8g/ltr (a dash of sweetness). That residual sugar may seem token, but it is enough to make this bone dry, grapefruity white rather well-balanced. It’s a grippy wine too, yet retains the delicacy of a cool climate Riesling, lifted up by a faint whiff of sherbet. Delicious.
Normally I’d expect a shutdown for an Australian Riesling at the 2yr mark, but this is in wonderful form, the sugar/acid/flavour balance uncommon in domestic Rizza, and just a step behind the best Germanic wines in depth and glory.
- Andrew Graham (Oz Wine Review)
Rory was told about an old Brown Brother’s contract site next door to their Whitlands vineyard that had some pretty smart Riesling, so went to investigate. The Croucher Vineyard is set at close spacing on red volcanic soils, up at around 800m above sea level, and was planted in the mid-1980s. Vines 30 years old.
He lightly whole-bunch pressed it and then fermented it in stainless, a very simple, clean ferment which he stopped a little early to balance the acidity. It finished with 8g/l residual sugar, which benefits the wine as it is a really focused, citrus number with great precision.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
About the Producer
The Story makes its home base in a Melbourne suburb.
With the fruit that comes in from Henty and the Grampians, winemaker Rory Lane attempts to tell the full story of a wine, from picking to the bottle. The wines are made with care and detail, and consistently recieve rave reviews. This is a story you want to know.
Riesling is the king of white grapes. With unparalleled versatility, it rightfully carries the ‘Noble’ name tag. We make extraordinary Riesling in Australia, from far and wide. From the classic searing, razor-sharp styles in the Clare and Eden Valleys to the fragrant and enchanting wines of the Great Southern, Australian Riesling is a chameleon that can take on many forms. Sweet, steely, lean or textured, the world of Riesling is a thing of wonder that should be explored by all true lovers of wine.
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