3 COMPELLING REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TRY A THREESOME
Most of us have a status quo bias, a non-rational preference for the familiar that makes us cautious about trying anything different or new. Overcoming this bias requires a step-by-step approach in which small changes are made first before more ambitious challenges are subsequently attempted. Even those who believe variety may indeed be the spice of life need to learn to walk before attempting to run.
Fortunately there are few better ways to test your appetite for sensory pleasure than through a glass of riesling. It offers a simple, risk-free method of gauging your response to the thrill and excitement of having your senses ravished by a third party. Even more fortunate is that Frankland Estate are again offering riesling-tragics and those who aspire to be so-afflicted, the opportunity to try not just one but three distinctly different rieslings from the 2012 vintage.
Arguably there are few more attractive threesomes than these single vineyard rieslings. All are hand-crafted by the same winemaking team at Frankland Estate with fruit grown in three different vineyards within the Frankland River region. In recent years each of these wine has garnered glowing reviews and 90+ scores from critics (See Plaudits from the Pundits here) enabling each to make a separate claim to be ranked among Australia’s finest rieslings. More importantly -at least to our winemaking team- each wine has earned acclaim for speaking with a distinctive and authentic voice about where they came from. In other words, like all fine rieslings they have a soul and a discernible sense of place.
Be that as it may, what makes this such an irresistibly seductive threesome?
1. Splendid Isolation
Minerality in wine is a bit like pornography; hard to define but you know it when you come across it. The most seductive attribute of fine riesling is that it is more mineral than fruit. The mineral infused flavours of the 2012 Isolation Ridge Vineyard Riesling are, for instance, masterfully interwoven with tight but delicately flavoured fruit notes. Both components are in near-perfect balance but the minerality is the most distinctive feature. It has an ethereal mysteriousness to it. We know not how or what creates the flavour profile variously described as ‘wet stones’, ‘river pebbles’, or ‘crystalline’ but that is part of its magic. Like good art it merely offers a suggestion and invites us to complete the picture and become alert to the beauty of the unknowable. Few others do this with the same alacrity as this wine made from organically farmed fruit grown in the Isolation Ridge vineyard at Frankland Estate. It is the type of wine Terry Theise was perhaps referring to when he suggested, “riesling is so digitally precise, so finely articulate, so pixilated and pointillist in detail that other wines seem mute by comparison.”
2. No antidote for this precocious poison
Of the three single vineyard rieslings made by Frankland Estate the wines from the Poison Hill vineyard are invariably the most precocious offering greater generosity of flavour at an earlier age than their more tightly-wound stable mates. Despite our decision to delay the release of all our 2012 riesling wines until early 2013 (a pattern we intend to repeat in future years in order to give our riesling wine the opportunity to cast off any juvenile awkwardness before they are released) this trait is still evident in the 2012 Poison Hill Riesling. It combines remarkably (by normal Australian standards) low alcohol (10.5%) with delicious, lightly textured flavours that linger long making this an ideal ‘veranda sipper’ or complement to light summer foods. To most Australian palates raised on a diet of high alcohol wines the 2012 Poison Hill Riesling is a revelation; it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that reductions in alcohol need not necessarily result in less intense flavours. Indeed, if nothing else, this riesling is proof lower alcohol levels can result in more satisfying, more drinkable wines. As such this wine deserves a place in any riesling threesome not just for its precocious charm but also for demostrating that the nexus between alcohol and flavour is, at best, tenuous.
3. The BDSM mistress of Netley Road
If the Poison Hill Vineyard Riesling is the precocious and somewhat flirtatious member of our single vineyard riesling threesome, then the Netley Road Vineyard wines are arguably akin to a sultry, elegantly dressed BDSM mistress. As James Halliday observed in his 96 point review of the 2011 wine (See Plaudits from the Pundits here) nothing quite prepares you for the power and intensity of the waves of flavour and acidity this wine unleashes on the palate. The 2012 vintage is in the same mould. It is long, lean and powerfully structured with an irresistible combination of power and elegance. Made from fruit grown on 47 year old vines this wine is an outstanding example of the complexity and intensity bestowed by old-vine fruit. It has a highly linear structure, rapier-like acidity and both the structure and intensity of fruit flavour to reward further cellaring. Every threesome should have an aristocrat and the Frankland Estate 2012 Netley Road Riesling is one of those wines naturally imbued with breeding, power and nobility.
The dark and ever-so-attractive horse
As in every family, there is a dark horse in the Frankland Estate riesling family. This one has the same lineage but a different name from the rest of the family. It has always prided itself on being ‘different’ but, despite having a reputation for only appearing when the going is good, it has been a regular presence in recent years.
Dark horse it may be but the SmithCullam Riesling, although only produced when vintage conditions are deemed ‘exceptional’, has won plenty of accolades in recent years as is evident here.
The just-released 2012 vintage is only the fourth release of this ‘off-dry’ riesling made from a block of 21 year-old Geisenheim clone riesling vines in the Isolation Ridge vineyard. Its immediate predecessor won widespread acclaim including a 97 point review from James Halliday and we hope this new vintage will further persuade Australian riesling enthusiasts to abandon the irrational notion that wines with residual sugar will necessarily taste ‘sweet’.
The 2012 SmithCullam Rielsing has an exquisite balance of complex fruit flavours, 9 grams of residual sugar, and intense, bone-crunching acidity from the Geisenheim fruit. The result is a wine of exceptional delicacy and balance with more power and intensity than one would expect in an 11% alc/vol wine. As with previous vintages the 2012 SmithCullam is only available in very limited quantities.
An overnight success 20 years in the making
One of the most satisfying aspects of the response to our wines in recent years has been the growing recognition there is more to Frankland Estate than just riesling. The growing critical acclaim our red wines have received is best illustrated by the stunning reviews our 2010 Olmo’s Reward has received here and the 2010 Isolation Ridge Shiraz here. Both wines are still available and make a wonderful complement to our new-release riesling wines in a mixed dozen that we will deliver freight-free to capital cities anywhere in mainland Australia. Download an order form here