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WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Tim York » Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:02 am

“Springvale” Watervale Riesling – Clare Valley – 2007 – Grosset – Alc.13.5%. The nose was very mineral with marked dry petrol notes and touches of citrus and spice. The medium bodied and bone dry palate was linear and crystalline with again a marked bright mineral content, citrus fruit leaning towards lemon and lime, crisp acidity and a firm and long finish. The overall effect was exhilarating, elegant and moreish without a lot of complexity at this point but I think the backbone is there to assure the ageing which will allow complexity to emerge; 16/20 + with ++ potential.

How does Grosset manage to produce such a bright crisp result in a warm climate like South Australia’s? Subjectively a lot of Austrian Smaragd type Rieslings and even some from Heymann-Löwenstein seem much warmer in profile. Acid adjustment no doubt helps but, if so, it uncommonly well done here without a hint of aggressiveness.
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Hmmmm

by TomHill » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:48 am

Not so sure that the ClareVlly is all that warm, Tim. Maybe the coldest area in SA. I understand the have pretty cold nights, because of the altitude,
that keeps the acidity up. Those ClareVlly Rieslings age incredibly well and take on that petrol character that makes Riesling so great.
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Tim York » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:59 am

Tom,

I am sure that the altitude and cool nights help at lot but Clare Valley is situated at 33°6 S, which is a similar latitude to Los Angeles 34°15 N. The most Southerly area in Europe producing fine whites (albeit fortified) is Jerez de la Frontera at 36°14 S and that's not from Riesling.

I know that crude latitude figures are far from telling the whole climatic story (e.g. Bordeaux is on a similar latitude to Montreal) but nevertheless I think that there must be something in Grosset's vine cultivation, harvesting and wine making which also contributes a lot to this crisp result.
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Hoke » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:12 pm

1. It's not just Grosset. There are other producers in the Clare that are doing good things with Riesling.

2. Clare has some very cool climate patterns. It also has a distinctive soil strata that contributes in some way to the distinct minerality of the Riesling there. I would imagine the selection of fruit (green harvest and regular harvest) being a key element in style and quality.

3. I would also suggest the Syrah from Clare (and yes, as well, the Cabernet) supports the climatic/soil combination that makes for impressive wines. The Syrah tends to be leaner, more structured, and not the formless goop that some other regions produce.
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Tim York » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:33 am

I hope that I'm not infringing the rules of this site or of the UK Drinks Forum, but this reply to my post at the latter from Ken Lamb nicely complements what Hoke and Tom say and seems worth sharing here.

If we distinguish sugar ripeness (leading to the 13.5% alcohol) and phenolic ripeness (the flavour and aroma precursors in the skins), Clare and Eden Valley have climatic conditions that allow phenolic ripeness earlier than in other classic Riesling regions like Alsace, Germany and Austria, where Riesling requires a long, cool, later growing season. Earlier phenolic ripeness in Clare and Eden Valley means grapes picked at relatively moderate potential alcohol and with better retention of acidity than may be the case otherwise. Indeed, bunches are often shaded in the Clare and Eden Valley to prevent too high a level of these precursors, especially TDN (trimethyldihydronaphthalene), which is the precursor to the "petrol" smell in Riesling. Australian wines generally have a multiple of the level of TDN in European Riesling regions due to the abundant sunshine and warmth. Jamie Goode has written excellent pieces on this subject.

IMO Riesling is one of the best things which OZ does; I have had fine ones from Grosset, Henschke and Frankland Estate amongst others and never a dud that I can recall. With a few exceptions, e.g. Clonakilla, 25 year old Grange, Frankland Estate, some Leeuwin and Moss Wood, I am much less convinced by most OZ Shiraz, CabSauv and Chardonnay. It sounds as if I should be looking for some producers of these from Clare Valley.
Last edited by Tim York on Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:28 pm

Good thread Tim. I have been on the lookout for Clare and Eden Valley Rieslings for as long as I can remember. I have had a few duds (too long in the cellar/not really age-worthy) but generally have been very impressed.
How long to age is another issue! I too have your `07 Springvale in the cellar and would think 5 yrs will do the trick!! Seems to be drinking nicely now eh.
Mind you, highly likely some of these wines might shut down. Here is a comment on an Oz forum>


Five years from vintage would probably be a bad time to be approaching a top Clare riesling under screwcap (assuming it's cellared in ideal conditions from release). Normally they drink very well for around a year from vintage (for exceptional vintages like 2002 & 2009 this would stretch out to about two years) and then shut down and shouldn't be approached for another six or so years.

The old rule of thumb under cork used to be drink them on release, and when they lose that freshness after six months or so wait for 3-4 years for them to come out of their funk. Under screwcap, these windows have stretched out, although personally I think the severity of them shutting down isn't quite as bad.
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Tim York » Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:06 pm

That's interesting, Bob. What the Oz forum comment is saying is not very different to what happens with, say, a Vouvray from Foreau. Nevertheless I would not say that this bottle was shut down in the way of some that I have had from Foreau, though I can believe that there would have been more going on aromatically within a year or so of vintage and that, as I guessed in my TN, there will be a lot more complexity down the road. If you can bear to hang on another 5 years, I think that patience will be rewarded but, equally, I think that you enjoy it right now with some regrets about unrealised potential.
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Yup....

by TomHill » Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:26 pm

Tim York wrote:
IMO Riesling is one of the best things which OZ does; I have had fine ones from Grosset, Henschke and Frankland Estate amongst others and never a dud that I can recall. It sounds as if I should be looking for some producers of these from Clare Valley.


Would agree on this, Tim. And the examples I've had (20+ yr old Grosset Riesling) of older ones indicate that they can age as well as their German/Alsace counterparts
and develop that lovely petrolly character.
And the HunterVlly Semillons are not too far behind in their ageibility.
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:03 pm

From the archives.

Interesting conversation, what better wine to open tonite (after snow blowing, shovelling etc) than the `05 Watervale!!
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:57 pm

In fact I did not open at the time..but ready to go later tonite. Stay tuned!
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Hoke » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:14 pm

This week I opened two Clare Valley wines, a Riesling and a Cabernet, both 2004. Both under screwcap. Wakefield/Taylors was one of the early-adapters of screwcaps on red wines.

The Riesling had gone well past its 'dormant' stage and had blossomed into a lovely lime-y delight of a wine, firm and tight and crispy with minerals and zinging with acidity. Very bright, very refreshing. And this is the entry-level, basic Riesling, not one of their middle or top tier releases.

The Cabernet Sauvignon tasted as fresh as if it had been bottled this year, with bottle aging just beginning to show. Juicy and forward, plenty of ripe berry on top but with the tertiary hints of dark chocolate just beginning to show themselves.

The freshness and vivacity of both wines were stunning. And not at all over the top or jammy/boneless as many Aussies we see.

Haven't tasted the Shiraz from Wakefield lately, but it has always been one of the tastier ones from Oz---again, not blowsy and simple/sweet and over the top, but tasty and firm.

So here's to Clare Valley, and to screwcaps.
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Re: WTN: How does Grosset do this in such a warm climate?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:01 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Good thread Tim. I have been on the lookout for Clare and Eden Valley Rieslings for as long as I can remember. I have had a few duds (too long in the cellar/not really age-worthy) but generally have been very impressed.
How long to age is another issue! I too have your `07 Springvale in the cellar and would think 5 yrs will do the trick!! Seems to be drinking nicely now eh.
Mind you, highly likely some of these wines might shut down. Here is a comment on an Oz forum>


Five years from vintage would probably be a bad time to be approaching a top Clare riesling under screwcap (assuming it's cellared in ideal conditions from release). Normally they drink very well for around a year from vintage (for exceptional vintages like 2002 & 2009 this would stretch out to about two years) and then shut down and shouldn't be approached for another six or so years.

The old rule of thumb under cork used to be drink them on release, and when they lose that freshness after six months or so wait for 3-4 years for them to come out of their funk. Under screwcap, these windows have stretched out, although personally I think the severity of them shutting down isn't quite as bad.


WTN: 2007 Grosset Riesling Springvale.

SC, $24 Cdn, opened one hour, 13.5% alc.

My bottle this weekend had some nutty tone on the nose, plus gasolein, lime and minerals. Colour was a medium lemon green but more depth on day 2. Dry, mineral entry, good mid-palate and has held up very well. "Definately Oz" from across the table, lime, good acidity. Very nice length, will last a while yet.

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