Rieslingfreak No 33 Clare Valley Riesling 2022
This wine inhabits a unique space of finely balanced compatibility between the inherent richness and generosity of the fruit from the family vineyard in White Hutt, and the lean, mineral-driven elegance of the fruit from Polish Hill River. The 2022 No.33 is richly imbued with aromas of nectarine, guava and ruby grapefruit; with floral top-notes of apple blossom and elderflower. The palate is softly textural and richly flavoured with white peach, tangerine and Limoncello, while the bright natural acidity draws through to a crisp, clean finish. A wine of immediate appeal and absolute approachability, this wine is poised for ultimate enjoyment on release and complements a variety of cuisines.
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.
The Polish Hill River vineyard is planted on grey-brown loam, over sandy limestone and shale rock at 460m above sea level. The average rainfall is 625mm. The White Hutt vineyard is situated on the flats, in the middle of a valley, and has its own very unique microclimate. This vineyard is planted on heavy loam and red Terra Rossa soil, with limestone subsoil. It is situated 500m above sea level, with an average rainfall of 550mm. 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.