Rieslingfreak No 44 Eden Valley Riesling 2022
Eden Valley Rieslings are renown for delicacy and refinement. This Riesling highlights the unique character of Eden Valley in a beautifully composed symphony of aromas and flavours. A sweetly perfumed bouquet of white flowers and sweet spice dance above citrusy notes of fresh lime, lemon balm and Holy basil. The palate is bright yet richly flavoured with the iconic slate-like minerality synonymous with Eden Valley, providing ballast for the lifted citrus and sweet spice notes that run the length of the palate through to the crisp, lingering finish. A wine for immediate enjoyment and complementary to a range of cuisines.
93+ points Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
93 points James Halliday
The 2022 vintage was a picture-perfect Riesling vintage for South Australia. 2021 gave us the wettest winter on record in the Barossa (where Eden Valley is a subregion), 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 vineyards are situated approximately 500m above sea level, and an average yearly rainfall of 650mm. The soils vary from shallow grey sandy loam over shale rock, to loam soil over light medium clay, with high quartz rock and gravel content. Each vineyard contributes something different to the wine. 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 and mild spring temperatures were perfectly suited to support strong shoot growth. A freak hailstorm hit Eden Valley on the 28th of October, causing localised damage to some vineyards, 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”. Fruit for this Eden Valley Riesling is sourced from five different vineyards situated across the southern ranges of Eden Valley. The two main vineyards are located in High Eden in Flaxman Valley, managed by Ben Zander and Michael Mason. These vineyards are complemented by small parcels from Milton Tscharke and Mark Bartholomaeus, who have
small, old-vine vineyards situated in the heart of the Eden Valley; and Avon Brae vineyards at Springton, which in the South-West corner of the region. Each year, the proportional blend of these vineyards used in No.44 will change to best represent the vintage and encapsulate the beauty of Eden Valley Riesling at its best. The wine is designed to provide complexity and generosity. A wine that is good to drink now. This is a limited production of only 600 dozen.