Rendezvous with Riesling

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The camera cord is still a no show, nor has the postman delivered a newby so I thought that with all the great reports we have had from the winery about the Riesling harvest this year it would be fitting to give you a bit of information on our Riesling grapes and how it all came to be.

From the archives 'A Rendezvous with Riesling'...

We meet again this lovely Friday and its great to have you back. I had a lovely response from you all last week so I thought it would be fitting to tell you about another variety that we have growing out at Tarzali.

Today will be dedicated to the original and very first variety that kicked it all off for us way back when, and that is Riesling.

To date we have been able to bring out a bottle of Riesling each year since 2005, except for 2011 unfortunately when the rain weather gods wreaked havoc here at Tarzali. Each and every year the vintage gives something a little bit different and something a little bit special from the previous year which makes growing this variety a lot of fun. The degrees of these subtleties are just that, very small but enough to get excited about what each new year will bring.

The paddock where the vineyard made its humble beginnings used to look like this...

And now it looks like this...

There are 43 rows of this variety growing which is 7 acres in all of just Riesling. Why Riesling you ask?

It just so happens that our winemaker at the time of planting the vines had a great passion for Riesling and it was he who initially planted the idea of this vineyard. David and Cameron were confident that with Johns' expertise and excellent wine making skills, that Riesling would be a great investment for the farm. Basically, John really knows how to do Riesling!

Im going to rewind here a little bit and share with you some interesting facts about John Ellis who was the wine maker at the time of planting the vineyard. It all intertwines perfectly with our own little vineyard at Tarzali.

Have you heard of Tisdall Winery from Echuca?

This was the very first winery where John was employed as a chief winemaker when it first began production in the early 1970's. At the time, it was one of the most reknown wineries in the country as they were the very first to produce a cool climate Chardonnay in Australia. Tisdall's grew this particular Chardonnay at a vineyard they owned not far from Tarzali Vineyard called Mt St Helens in the Strathbogie Ranges. This particular vineyard at the time was also one of the best in the country and just so happened to be famous for its Riesling. Unfortunetely the vineyard succumbed to an outbreak of Phylloxera, one of the worst things for a vineyard to suffer and that is why you probably have never really heard about it.

Another little fact you should know about John is that he worked under John Vickery who is considered to be the 'Father of Riesling'. I have really only found out these particular bits of information as I was researching for this post and I must say it really is amazing, particularly at how our little vineyard just doing its things out there in the back paddock is connected to such respected and revered people and establishments in the industry.

If I assume correctly you probably also associate Riesling to be a really sweet wine. I myself thought this was the case but was pleasantly surprised when I first sampled Tarzali Riesling. You could still consider it to be a sweet wine, not Moscato sweet though, but more so it fits the category of being a dry white wine. I initially really liked it and I still do very much so. I think its fruity flavours and initial fruity nose make it a lovely drink, especially when it is chilled and straight out of the fridge. Pefect for Summer.
It is also interesting to note the surprised, yet pleasing reaction of 'newies' to our wine particularly with respect to how 'not' too dry it actually is for a dry wine. The old nodding of the head trick after that first mouthful almost alway ensues, which I always take as an indication that the wine is pretty good. I especially like the 2012 Riesling as there is a tiny bit of residual sugar left over from the wine making process which adds that little bit extra sweetness when compared to much earlier vintages.

I think as the vines mature more and more every year, the quality of the Riesling is changing as well as the flavour of the grapes, and this I can tell you has been an excellent thing. Who wants to roll out the same thing year after year after year. BORING!! This concept is also testiment to the excellent wine making skills of Rob Ellis down at Hanging Rock, who is now the chief winemaker.

Another great thing about our Riesling is that it ages really well and if you do like to cellar your wines, a bottle of Tarzali will keep easily for up to 10 years. Don't get me started on aged Reisling. mmmmm! That is a whole other blog post right there and Ill just have to tell you about that another day. One day.

We have also won a few awards in recent years. At the Rutherglen wine show in 2010 and 2011, Tarzali won gold medals for the best Rielsing and in 2010 we also won a Bronze medal at the Dookie wine Show.

I believe there is still a little bit left from these vintages if you were interested in getting your hands on a bottle, and there is certainly plenty of 2012 which carries many of the same characters, textures an flavours of the award winning Riesling. We really must enter again next year dont you think?

Did you know we also have a dessert wine 'Yve' that is also made from the Riesling. The wine making technique used here is very clever to produce a very different product from the same grapes.

The Riesling every year always produces a great harvest and plenty of grapes. Too many grapes you might say for what the market desires. The Riesling drinkers are still out there rest assured, however; we have decided to spare some of the vines this year and graft them over to Shiraz and diversify our red range in the vineyard. The very first grafts were implemented on November 20 to be exact. This then brings the row count back to 39 and we are closely watching and monitoring the grafts progress. Very exciting indeed!

There is so much more information out there on Riesling and John Ellis' forte's as a winemaker. Below are only a few links if you are interested so you too can learn a little bit more for yourself.

Here is little article that I read over at Different Drop which helps to cement my enjoyment of drinking Riesling.

I also happily stumbled across The Wine Muse. This post on the blog about Riesling I especially liked. It explains a little about the flavour side to the wine and how easy it is to match with food. It also helps to appreciate just how versatile this wine is and that you can always find one to suit your particular taste be it dry, sweet or a dessert wine sweet.

If you like your tasting notes then do visit Hanging Rock here. This will help give you a good idea of what to expect from our Tarzali Riesling in a bit more detail and in wine lingo. You will also find links about the crew* over at Hanging Rock and their many wine making achievements over the years.

Thanks for visiting today! Elisha xx

*I must thank the delightful Ruth Ellis who assisted me with some very important fact checking for this post. You have been most helpful. I couldnt bare it if I got details of your old mans credentials wrong! ha ha

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