The contours of Riesling: a vertical tasting



Coincidence? Destiny? Or just pure luck? I was excited after having tasted the 2004 The Contours Riesling from Pewsey Vale in Eden Valley and simply had to buy a case. A few days later, I received an invitation from the Swedish importer; Would you like to join us for a tasting of The Contours conducted by Louisa Rose (winemaker at Pewsey Vale)? Besides a vertical of The Contours vineyard I got the chance to taste some a few other white wines and six red Yalumba’s (soon in a follow up-post).

So, coincidence? Yes, lots of it! Destiny? If so, I’m soon a believer! Pure luck? D-mn, why didn’t I buy a lottery ticket as well that day!

Having just recently published a post on the 2004 The Contours I’m stealing from myself and reprinting a short background here:

The premium bottling of Pewsey Vale’s Riesling is released five years after the vintage. The vineyard, planted in 1961, lies nearly 500 meters above sea level in Eden Valley and are synonymous with Australia’s best Riesling region. To preserve the Riesling fruit the wines doesn’t undergo any malolactic fermentation. Furthermore, it is sealed with the most beautiful of closures; the screw cap!

Short notes from the vertical of The Contours:

2005 – Lime peel, Granny Smith’s, slight note of petroleum leaning towards new car mats (in this case it’s actually cool!) and good concentration. Green sour apples, a floral touch, humus and citrus in the taste. Pure fruit feel. Still young. Good stuff. (90-91 p)

2004 – Compared to the ’05, the ’04 is more restrained on the nose. Petroleum, grass, Granny Smith’s and floral. Mineral driven, bone dry green sour apple taste. Excellent mouth watering acidity. Looking forward following a case of this! (91-92 p)

2003 – Now we’re down to preferences. How do you like your Riesling? More petroleum to this one, herbs, fennel, green apples and just a touch of tropical fruits. Elegant on the palate with maturing well balanced taste. Slightly mineral bitter – can I say so? Good, but I still prefer the ’04. (90-91 p)

2001 – Well hello; what do we have here! A smoky, wet rocks bouquet with seducing hints of coconut, peaches and petroleum. Nuanced. The taste is a bit contrasting to the bouquet with its green apples, excellent acidity and wet rocks feel. Long, complex taste. Still a few years to go here probably. One of the best Aussie Riesling’s I’ve ever had, possibly the best. Awesome stuff! (93-94 p)

1999 – With age comes herbs. I like it; it goes well with the petroleum notes. Green apples and lemon. And jasmine! Dry and acidity driven taste which sends out a feeling of oak (no oak in this one though) like Chablis does as well sometimes. Long, pure and mature taste. Will hold but keeping it is only suitable for those who doesn’t appreciate fruit. (91-92 p)

Tasting high quality Riesling like this needs a comparison. That is taken care of by the ordinary bottling of Pewsey Vale Riesling, the 2010!

2010 – Floral nose with hints of grapefruit, coconuts, pineapple and red apple peel. Young vivid fruitiness, good acidity and floral, white peachy taste. Limes in the aftertaste. really refreshing but the straightforward style is far from The Contours series. (87-88 points)

Skeptic about Riesling not originating from Germany or France? Check out Eden Valley and do pick up some The Contours. It’s not Europe (thankfully) but it is not as huge steps from it as many others.

P.S. With the wines came a first course of langoustine and oyster served with smoked lavaret roe, rusk crumbs, a pumpkin purée and lots of green stuff. Nice but I preferred my own scallops in a coconut, lime, chili thingie cream sauce…

P.S.2. There once was a time when German Rieslings were offered at an almost unbeatable QPR. Still fair prices but the question is if the 2004 The Contours, retailing around 1718 euro’s in Europe, isn’t an even better offer?