Rieslingfreak No 2 Polish Hill River Riesling 2022
No.2 is a dry style of Riesling, showcasing many of the refinements typical of the Polish Hill River region. The limestone and shale rock soil profile are reflected in the wine with intense mineral and slate notes, along with underlying fresh citrus characters. The bouquet is awash with aromas of green apple, fresh grapefruit, lilac and jasmine; while the crisply pure palate bursts with bright citrus notes that dance lithely over a grounded flint-like minerality. The palate is softly slippery and spectacularly elegant with bright natural acidity imparting exceptional length and a clean, crisp finish. Wines from this region can be enjoyed in the vibrancy of youth or cellared for many years. This particular Riesling drinks well now but will reward 10+ years of aging.
Rieslingfreak was established in 2009. John Hughes grew up on a family vineyard in the Clare Valley, South Australia, and has been driven by the versatility of the Riesling grape. His passion for Riesling was noted in his university days, where he always had a bottle or two of Riesling to share, and soon became known as the “Riesling Freak”. Polish Hill River is a sub region of Clare, situated between Sevenhill and Mintaro. It is one of the iconic Riesling regions in Clare Valley. The Polish Hill River Vineyard was acquired by Rob and Lyn Jaeschke in 2010, and is known locally as the Hill River Vineyard. With Max Schubert (of Penfolds fame) planting the first vines on the property in 1981, the vineyard was destined for big things. The vineyard is situated approximately 3 miles south-east of the Clare township. This is John’s premium Riesling from the Clare Valley. The soil contains a heap of stone and slate, making these Rieslings very minerally, slate, refined and polished. This Riesling drinks well now, but will reward with 10+ years of aging. This is a limited release of only 280 dozen. The vineyard is planted on grey-brown loam, over sandy limestone and shale rock. Planted at 460m above sea level the average rainfall is 625mm. The growing season for 2022 heralded the arrival of La Niña, with soaking winter rains refilling dams and aquifers to levels not seen since 2016. The abundance of available water ensured strong canopy growth during the spring, and as the rains abated in November the region enjoyed perfectly mild conditions for flowering, ensuring above average crops. Summer rainfall was low across the Clare Valley, but thanks to the wet winter and spring there was plenty of soil and supplemental water to keep the vines fresh and to support ripening. Daytime and night-time temperatures were cooler than average across the region, with the entire season being remarkably mild and temperate. The cool temperatures and plentiful water ensured a long, slow ripening season with remarkable acid retention in the grapes.
96 points Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
95 pts James Suckling
Has some generous fruit with strident mineral notes, as well as pure lime. There’s flesh and weight to the palate. Quite fleshy and concentrated with zesty acidity. So drinkable now.
93 points James Halliday
The 2022 vintage was a picture-perfect Riesling vintage for South Australia. 2021 was the second-wettest winter on record in the Clare Valley, while summer was cool and temperate. This combination was perfect for creating thriving grapevine canopies in the spring, and slow ripening of the grapes over summer. This combination encouraged full flavour development at lower levels of sugar accumulation, while maintaining higher acid levels in the fruit. Grapes were machine harvested at night and fruit was in the winery by morning – the preferred method for Riesling. Instead of pressing his Riesling, John uses a spin and drain method, where they spin the press every 10 minutes, to extract the free run juice – this ensures that the berries are treated very softly, whilst maintaining the purity of the juice. The juice then settled for about 5 days. Once the juice was clear, and solids were settled at the bottom of the tank, the wine was racked and the juice was ready for fermentation. The wine was then fermented at around 55 degrees for 10-12 days, until it reached
his desired sugar level, at which point the wine was chilled and sulfured, to stop the ferment. The Riesling was then heat and cold stabilized, to remove all haze and crystals, before being filtered and bottled. Time lapse from harvest to bottling is roughly 2 months. Wine was released soon thereafter, in June.