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Rieslingfreak No 33 Clare Valley Riesling 2023

Country: Australia
Winery: Rieslingfreak
Varietal: Riesling
UPC Code: 8 58441 00685 9
Awards, Reviews, And Other Notes:

93 pts – James Suckling

93 pts – Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate – The 2023 No. 33 is a sensational depiction of Clare Valley. This is a sensational little wine here. Ripper. 12% alcohol, sealed under screw cap. The 2023 season was cool and wet, and while this may not have suited all varieties and all vineyards, there was very little disease pressure in the Rieslingfreak vineyards, and the grapes benefited from longer hang time due to the cool weather. These are pristine, long, concentrated wines with that laser, cool-vintage cut. Great. Winemaker/owner John Hughes credits this as one of his finest vintages. Part of the Growers Series, Clare Valley, this (and the No. 44) is not available inside Australia—USA, you lucky ducks!

Silver Medal – Texsom 2024

Winemaker Notes:

Rieslingfreak No.33 is incorporates both our growers in the Clare Valley. Richard and Anne Hughes (John’s Parents) and Robert and Lyn Jaeschke from Polish Hill River. Situated on the flats in the middle of a valley, White Hutt vineyard has its own very unique microclimate. The 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 heavy red soils in the vineyard contributing to the fruit generosity seen in this wine. The Polish Hill River in the wine, provides the wine with an acid profile and drive. The wine is made in a generous and refreshing fruit driven style with a soft, velvety palate of exceptional length. It has classic flavors of ripe lemon and lime and some tropical fruit notes. It drinks well young, but will also reward with cellaring.

The 2023 vintage was one where patience was the ultimate virtue, and spending time in the vineyard was critical to achieving quality Riesling. After a decidedly typical winter that yielded average rainfall and temperatures across most of South Australia, the arrival of Spring brought record breaking rainfall of 236% above average in Clare and 227% above average in the Barossa, being the wettest spring on record for both regions. These wet conditions were paired with record breaking lows in temperature, with the maximum daily temperature being 3°C below the long-term average in both Clare and Eden Valley.

The cold, wet spring conditions led to significant delays in budburst and shoot growth, with early growth milestones occurring 5-6 weeks later than normal. Summer rainfall was low across the Clare and Eden Valleys, but thanks to the wet spring there was plenty of soil and supplemental water to keep the vines fresh and to support ripening. Daytime and night-time temperatures were significantly cooler than average across both regions, with the entire season being remarkably mild and temperate. The cool summer temperatures extended into the early autumn and ensured a long, slow ripening season with remarkable acid retention in the grapes.

While vintage has been one of lengthy delays and numerous challenges, we at Rieslingfreak are ecstatic with the entire range of 2023 Rieslings. While the after-effects of the 2021 hailstorm are still felt across Eden Valley with reduced crop loads due to physical damage to the developing buds, crop levels from Clare and Polish Hill River are above average, and the quality of the wines from all regions are looking truly exceptional. It is genuinely difficult to pick a favourite region – let alone a favourite wine – from the 2023 vintage thus far.

The hallmark of 2023 seems to be an abundance of intense aromatics, with all of our Rieslings bouncing out of the glass with powerful and complex bouquets. The opulent aromatics are matched with a rich spectrum of flavours and exceptional natural acidity that abounds across the board; all early hallmarks of a truly exceptional vintage for Rieslingfreak.