The Knight family Granite Hills Vineyard at Mount Macedon produces probably the best Riesling in Victoria. I have only a few of these in my cellar and tonight I drank the 1989 Knight Granite Hill Riesling. It was originally an austere, cool climate-style Riesling that, in a good vintage, would last 20 years from birth. This was my second really top old Victorian wine in a week – I was cock-a-hoop with this one.
What a transformation 18 years in the cellar had brought about. This lean young 11.8% alcohol Riesling was now a brilliant golden color with intense bouquet of kerosene-aged Riesling and with strong, sweet botrytis overtones. On the palate, intense sweet honeyed, botrytis flavours with a glimpse of old Riesling flavours and gentle acid. Fruit slightly faded but still good length – a scrumptious, aged white wine that showed it was an old wine but no sign of deterioration.
It won’t improve at this age but should last another 5 years with careful cellaring. My guess at market value – I saw some of the 1994s at around $50 - is that this would sell at auction for $50-$60 – a bargain.
I’ve had a fair degree of success cellaring Rieslings. They are cheap wines at birth to buy – apart from a few Petaluma wines, some of the wonderful Tasmanian Moorila Estate Rieslings and some of the monumental old Leo Buring Rieslings (I have one of the great 1973’s left – a recent review described it as having the flavor of thick-cut lime marmalade) I seldom pay more than $20 for these wines. They all seem to cellar well. Ever the economist – they are generally a ‘market opportunity’. The older Leo Burings made by John Vickery are just some of the greatest wines ever made in Australia. Like JWH and Andy Warhol portraits of Marilyn they are national treasures to be bought irrespective of price.
I like young Rieslings such as the recent batch of Leo Burings, the earlier Mitcheltons and most of the Clare Valley Rieslings. The aged variants are very different and some people don’t take to them, particularly with their slight kerosene bouquets. But this Knights wine would appeal to anyone who appreciates a sweet desert.