John Hughes’ mastery of the riesling grape has already been amply proven, but in the superb 2021 vintage that dial’s been turned up to new limits. Rieslingfreak’s Eden Valley offering is an intense play of jasmine and lime, effusive but not overly exotic, with tension and effortless balance through a long finish underlining its pedigree.
Such a youthful wine, but it’s dazzling already and with a serene harmony that young riesling rarely shows. On the nose there’s jasmine, kaffir lime, white florals, citrus blossom and lime pith, with a craggy minerality adding complexity. There’s intensity and verve here, with a seamless integration of the two, acid thrilling but ripe, dry but with gentle texture and presence, balance pitch perfect.
Themes of this wine
Riesling is one of the world’s most versatile grapes, capable of making styles from aridly dry to lusciously sweet, plus everything in between, and with a transparency that reflects where it was grown like few – if any – other grapes. Hailing from Germany, it’s equally embedded in France and Austria, while the style made famous in the Clare Valley that once defined Australian versions has now been joined by a multitude of expressions, and from right across the country.
Eden Valley is the higher altitude section of the Barossa zone, nestling up against the Adelaide Hills and being meaningful cooler than its neighbour, the Barossa Valley. Riesling and shiraz are the key varieties, both typically being cast in an elegant light, with shiraz fragrant and lifted, though still with plenty of power, while riesling is characterised by race and verve.