You know you’re part of a global ‘thing’ when the host says good morning, good afternoon and good evening.
I logged into a webinar on a sunny English morning as wine producers from the other side of the world – Australia – gathered in their evening time to share their mutual wine love.
That love being Clare Valley Riesling.
Six winemakers from the Clare Valley joined a virtual gathering of people from more than 27 countries (including little old me).
And not only did I discover some wines from this region, but I also picked up some fantastic food pairing tips.
The Clare Valley is known as the heart of Australian riesling.
It is nestled in the Mount Lofty ranges of South Australia.
It has built its reputation on a combination of elevation – with hills rolling from north to south – and ancient soils.
The growing season sees a big drop between daytime and night-time temperatures which allows the grape to retain acidity and display its aromatics.
The region is dominated by small growers and winemakers.
First to kick off this virtual event was Steve Baraglia from Pikes Wines who spoke of Pikes Traditionale Riesling 2020 (£16.95, greatwine.co.uk).
I had a teeny taster of the wines in the comfort of my home.
Life can sometimes be very giving and in this case it gave taut lime and zest with a racy acidity.
Pikes’ wine is a blend across sub-regions and some of the soils are more than 500 million years old.
Steve’s food pairing tip? Seafood to Asian dishes – even pork tacos with jalapeño.
Stephanie Toole, of Mount Horrocks Wines, spoke with enthusiasm of their philosophy.
Mount Horrocks is both certified organic and biodynamic. Soil and vine health are key to the vision.
Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling 2020 (£22.95, nywines.co.uk) is crisp with green apples and a lemon and lime bite.
Stephanie’s food choice?
Still my beating heart: Rolled shoulder of pork roasted with fennel and Granny Smith apple. Finished off with apple cider sauce.
Next and Mitchell Watervale Riesling 2020 (£14.40, tanners-wines.co.uk).
Hilary Mitchell spoke of a slow, gentle winemaking process, with little intervention.
It’s about nurturing the balance, she says.
A creamy Indian Korma could be a perfect match, she believes, as the wine’s acidity would cut through it.
The winemakers’ host for the day was Jeffrey Grosset of Grosset Wines.
The grapes for Grosset Wines Polish Hill Riesling 2020 (£38.95, butlers-winecellar.co.uk) are also grown from organic and biodynamic vineyards.
He says: “We feel we’re doing everything to bring out the purest expression of riesling from a site.”
Oysters. Jeffrey’s one-word response on food.
Polish Hill River Aged Riesling 2018 (a 2013 vintage is £15.90 at exelwines.co.uk) is produced by Paulett Wines.
Matt Paulett spoke to us from across the miles of the aging potential of riesling.
Young wines can dazzle with lemon and lime but can age to deliver honey and toast with a long finish.
Matt took the oysters idea further; riesling can be injected into the shells before an oyster is shucked.
Oh, imagine that, the seafood soaking up the wine flavours.
Adam Eggins was our final advocate of this wonderful region.
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Adam’s featured wine was Wakefield St Andrews Riesling (£22.50, farehamwinecellar.co.uk).
He said: “Clare Valley Riesling is about lemons and limes and purity and still is at is ages.
“But it takes on wonderful layers of complexity in its evolution.
“The palate becomes more complex, softer and rounder but is held together by good natural acidity and is remarkably fresh and long.”
Black grapes can create white wine.
You might think how can that be?
Black grapes are all about the reds aren’t they?
Inside a grape, the juice is clear.
A red wine is made by that juice having contact with the black skins.
If winemakers avoid skin contact, then a black grape can produce a white wine.
Pinot noir in champagne is a classic example.
The Co-op has launched a White Malbec with leading Argentine wine brand, Trivento.
The grapes are softly crushed and the juices immediately pressed out to prevent colour extraction.
Trivento Reserve White Malbec (£8.25) still retains an ever-so bashful blush colour with notes of apple and a refreshing acidity.