I spent a weekend with Jeffrey Grosset and his partner Stephanie Toole in 2008, whom I interviewed for an in depth feature about the couple for The World of Fine Wine (published in Issue 23). Clearly, my cross examanination skills need brushing up because, at no time, do I recall mention of an Off-Dry Riesling in the making! There and again, Grosset is a perfectionist, so perhaps it’s not surprising that he didn’t want to talk about his Off-Dry Riesling project until he’d cracked it and cracked it he has!
The 2010 Off-Dry Riesling is in fact the third year he’s attempted this style but the first in which he was happy to put his name on the bottle. Grapes come from particularly poor soils at Grosset’s Watervale vineyard (see here for detailed background information). The vines struggle so it’s necessary to crop thin late in the season to get the fruit ripe while retaining high levels of acidity. And the balance is, as you’d expect from Grosset, pitch perfect. Its precision, intensity and minerality brought the wines of German Master of Riesling Hermann Dönnhoff to mind. Bravo! Here’s my tasting note: -
Grosset Off-Dry Clare Valley Riesling 2010 – the nose reveals fruit of a different order than I expect from the typically citrus fuelled Clare Valley Riesling, showing pears, greengage and hints of apple blossom. A tight knit, juicy palate with a real drive of acidity initially disguises its sweetness, which is then deliciously teased out over a long, persistent and precise finish inveigled with honey and minerals. Difficult to detect its 16g/l residual sugar, though cut with 9.2 g/l of total acidity (high), faith in my gumshoe skills is somewhat restored! Terrific. £17.99 Liberty Wines.
I’ll post notes of the many highlights from yesterday’s Premium Australia tasting at Liberty soon. Meantime, you’ll find notes on a couple of Riesling-focused trips to Australia and Germany here and here, the former of which includes some older vintages of Grosset’s dry Polish Hill and Watervale Rieslings.
And looking forward, on 23 September, I’ll be treated to a masterclass on Riesling by Mr Grosset himself as part of the Landmark Tutorial which I’ll be attending Down Under in a little over a week now! Watch this space and @sarahwine for my commentary on what promises to be a spectacular week of tasting some of Australia’s best wines in the company of the country’s leading winemakers and commentators.