Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.

Introduction to the Library Tastings:
Welcome to the 2014 Library Tasting series,  which will be based at Regional Wines & Spirits,  Wellington.  After a quiet couple of years in the sense of the country's economic pulse,  the national mood seems appropriate for resumed activity in this interesting subject.  I hope therefore that some Library Tastings can be offered in other centres,  if interest is expressed.  

The first thing to say is:  these Library tastings are NOT designed primarily for wine aficionados.  They are instead intended to be of broader interest,  and particularly for people who,  having realised they do in fact like the smells and tastes of wine quite a lot,  would then like to go on and find out what older or rarer wines taste like – wines which on one's own can be difficult to locate,  or to justify the cost of a whole bottle just for one's own curiosity.  Shared among 20 people however,  such bottles can be more than affordable.

In our Library Tastings,  the emphasis is on the wine,  on smelling and tasting the liquid in the bottle,  and on discussing how the wine came to be this way,  and what it might have been like when younger.  We try to explore the virtues of each wine,  before then considering factors which may detract from the nett impression.  Since the wines are first discussed blind,  the label,  and the price of the bottle,  are quite secondary.  This approach is intended to minimise wine snobbery,  which can be so inimical to wider enjoyment of both the tasting as a whole,  and each wine.  By the same token, the tastings will include some curious but highly interesting bottles,  which might be disparaged by wine elitists.  The first tasting provides a perfect example.  

To optimise the tasting and learning experience,  we have 12 different wines,  but only 30 mls of each.  This is enough to provide a good sample,  and to become familiar with the wine.  Clearly though,  we must be mindful of present and pending drink / driving legislation.   Multiplied up, 12 x 30 mls over 2+ hours for these riesling wines is approx. 3.5 standard drinks,  if all the wine is consumed.  Though individuals vary,  that is in general compatible with the 80mg / 100ml current legislation for both males and females.  Note however that for the forthcoming 50 mg legislation,  lighter females may not comply.  Therefore increased spitting will be desirable and will become more commonplace – there is no case at all for feeling 'indelicate' about this.  And care in another way is needed,  for 30 mls is not a lot,  and it is easy enough to in fact consume the wine before one has tasted it properly.  As always,  the emphasis must be on
extracting the maximum information from the bouquet of the wine,  before sipping.

But all that said,  we will still have some lovely bottles of high repute too,  and price will be mentioned occasionally,  inevitably,  perhaps where there is a need to add gravitas,  or hint at value.  In particular,  later in the year,  even though the wines are still young,  we will look at the spectacular 2001 vintage in Sauternes with a tasting of a quality (in the sense of completeness) which has rarely been presented in New Zealand.  I mention this now simply to tantalise.  There are many red wines of greater age which it will be fun to taste too.  

Another factor in estimating whether you might find these Library Tastings worthwhile is track record.  Most of the wines I present were bought by me at release,  and where possible on comparative taste evaluation.  My cellaring conditions are considered excellent.  Further,  I have been an industry senior judge for over 30 years.  For all these reasons therefore,  there is a reasonable chance my selections will be technically sound and please you.  I do have to buy some bottles from overseas on other people's say-so,  but have developed some skill at reading between the lines of those I feel some rapport with,  in the hope of securing wines that please me.  Additionally,  I do buy some bottles at auction,  to achieve tastes of things otherwise rare or unprocurable.  Here there is greater risk,  naturally,  but when the risk is divided by 20 tasters,  it costs a lot less than risking buying one yourself.  So it seems worthwhile.  But naturally enough,  for this component,  you can't win them all.

Some may have noticed that I think it amusing or enjoyable to have tastings commemorating round decades of the original vintage.  For this year,  years ending in 4 have generally not been too great,  in most places.  South Australia in 1994 is an intriguing exception,  and 20 years might be a good interval at which to check a few of them.  Otherwise we will have to make do with years of interest for themselves.  For those interested in birth-year tastings,  1978 / '79 and 1983 are tempting this year.  We'll see.

Invitation – Does Riesling Age:  
For the first Library Tasting this year on 13 March 2014 year,  the wines will be,  arranged by district:

1989  F Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste Hune Vendanges Tardives
1984  Jeffrey Grosset Rhine Riesling Polish Hill
2002  Grosset Riesling Polish Hill
2004  Howard Park Riesling
1962  Penfolds Minchinbury Rhine Riesling
2001 von Kesselstatt Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett QmP
1975  Rudolf Muller Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese QmP
2001  Dry River Riesling
2001  Felton Road Riesling Dry
2002  Felton Road Riesling Block 1
2005  Glover's Riesling Dry Moutere
2007  Escarpment Riesling

For as long as I can remember,  pundits have been saying that riesling is on the ascendancy,  and it will soon be a much greater percentage of sales.  This never comes to pass,  however,  perhaps because the variety is not really very food-friendly,  with its tendency to both residual sweetness,  and strange terpene-like components.  In general,  riesling is much better on its own,  where its delicate sometimes floral and sometimes aromatic nuances can be savoured without the distraction of food.

Initially riesling in New Zealand was somewhat set back by the prominence of the German cross-bred variety muller-thurgau,  then labelled as riesling.  Muller-thurgau can in fact be a lovely fragrant 'little' grape,  but it is fashionable among the cognoscenti to patronise at best or diminish the variety.  Thus in earlier decades,  Australian riesling ruled the roost.  Being a warmer climate than New Zealand's,  they do however have the problem of achieving sufficient subtlety,  and avoiding the extraction of terpene-like compounds which with age lead to the 'kerosene' note.  Some people like to criticise that too,  but a little can be pleasing,  especially in a dry wine better suited to food.

Few interested in Australian riesling can fail to have heard about Jeffrey Grosset,  for over 30 or so years now the crowned king of the variety over there.  He inherited the crown from John Vickery,  when he was with the now-lost label Leo Buring.  But anyone in New Zealand tasting young Grosset Rieslings cannot help thinking what austere and unfriendly things they are,  at least initially.  And as New Zealand riesling has improved and improved in the last 20 years,  that impression has persisted.  It is imperative therefore that our tasting includes a couple of older Grosset Rieslings,  to see them with appropriate age.  Agreeably,  they happen to be years with good reputations.  So they are not seen in isolation,  there is a West Australian riesling of some merit,  to calibrate them.

Apart from New Zealand wines,  for which we have five spanning Martinborough,  Nelson and Central Otago,  an ideal yardstick to put into such an exercise would be Trimbach's Clos Ste Hune,  regarded by many as one of the great rieslings of the world.  We do not have the 'standard' dry wine,  but the very rare vendanges tardives / late-harvest botrytised and sweetish wine,  however,  so it will sit a little to one side.  We have the late and much-missed Ken Kirkpatrick to thank for this bottle.  We will have a New Zealand riesling of similar sweetness as some kind of accompaniment to it.  We will also have two New Zealand 2001 wines,  to see what happens to our rieslings with age,  when made by reputable producers.  They are 2001s because that year was simply benchmark in Germany,  a year as great in my estimation as 1971,  so we have a drier 2001 Mosel Riesling in as a benchmark for the whole tasting.  

But in some ways the highlight of the tasting will be a fabled bottle of 1962 Penfolds Minchinbury Rhine Riesling,  made from fruit grown on a long-disappeared vineyard in the now-suburban Sydney district of Rooty Hill.  Such bottles are important to Australians,  who have a longer,  nobler,  and better-appreciated wine history than we do.  Nowhere is Australian appreciation of wine history better expressed than in the late Max Lake's wonderfully evocative book:  Classic Wines of Australia,  1966.  Minchinbury just squeaks into the ranking,  in a ragbag chapter closing the book.  Our specific wine isn't mentioned,  but Lake records that Penfolds bought the property in 1912,  when it was already a noted 'champagne' producer.  Penfolds continued this winestyle in the old stone winery,  at one stage the wine being bracketed with Great Western as one of the two good bubblies of Australia.  It is the pre-1953 (and also the 1964) Trameah however which Lake enthuses over,  comparing it with McWilliams Mt Pleasant.  Traminer is much closer in style to our bottle of Rhine Riesling.  For all these reasons I had the 1962 valued by Langton's,  Melbourne,  the premier auctioneer and valuer of wine in Australia.  It is hard to know whether to send it back home,  to raise the Australian dollars,  or to taste it ourselves.  I finally hoped there are enough local people curious about such a novel bottle,  and how it might taste.  Plus the thought of tasting any 50-year-old white that looked promising.

Finally,  there will be a Mosel from the pretty good 1975 vintage,  both as a kind of benchmark for older riesling (I hope),  and to serve as a counterbalance to the drier and perhaps stronger Australian wines.  Hopefully the New Zealand wines will find a happy home ground somewhere in the middle.


2001  Dry River Riesling
2007  Escarpment Riesling
2002  Felton Road Riesling Block 1
2001  Felton Road Riesling Dry
2005  Glover's Riesling Moutere Dry
1984  Jeffrey Grosset Rhine Riesling Polish Hill
  2002  Grosset Riesling Polish Hill
2004  Howard Park Riesling
2001  von Kesselstat Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett QmP
1975  Rudolf Muller Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese
1962  [ Penfolds ] Minchinbury Rhine Riesling
1989  Trimbach Clos Sainte Hune Riesling Vendanges Tardives

1989  Trimbach Clos Sainte Hune Riesling Vendanges Tardives   19  ()
Hunawihr,  Central Alsace:  14%;  $ –    [ cork – second bottle available;  hand-harvested from c. 50-year old vines;  the grapes come from the 1.67 ha Rosacker vineyard in Hunawihr,  which has been owned by the Trimbach family for more than 200 years (a Trimbach monopole);  it is a grand cru vineyard on limestone planted solely to riesling,  but because of the reputation of the wine,  they consider it unnecessary to state 'grand cru' on the label;  c.750 cases (all variants) per annum (varying),  but the Vendanges Tardives is made only rarely,  the most recent vintage available being the 2002;  according to Roberson Wines of London,  'one of the most coveted wines in the world';  in general Clos Ste Hune is harvested at around 50 hl/ha (7.5 t/ha = 3 t/ac),  but would be much less for the Vendanges Tardives.  Elevation is primarily in s/s,  and there is no MLF;  1989 according to Broadbent "an admirable year, combining abundance and excellent quality *****";  Jancis Robinson describes the wine as rich but developed,  and scores it 19,  drawing to my attention yet another wine acronym seemingly linked to the Australian Wine Research Institute's never-ending quest to analyse the life and soul out of every pleasant flavour in wine – TDN (the so-called kerosene complexity-note aged riesling may develop);  Corney & Barrow (London) have this vintage listed currently at £360,  which may be more relevant;  the rarity of even the standard Clos Ste Hune Riesling may be gleaned from the fact the most recent vintage available is the 2007,  and that is c.$NZ200 per bottle;  www.trimbach.fr ]
Light glowing gold,  the third deepest.  Bouquet is sensational,  botrytis of superlative purity,  almost nectary but more passing to honeyed,  on bottled stonefruits plus amazingly fresh hints of citrusy / zesty riesling augmenting.  Alcohol is wonderfully hidden,  except there is a substance to this wine that also reminds of subtlest sauternes.  In mouth there is not quite the exquisite elegance and harmony the bouquet shows,  but instead great fruit richness and some sweetness with both citrus and white and yellow stonefruit suggestions,  as well as waxy botrytis.  It does not taste as old as it looks until the late finish,  when some skin phenolics start to appear.  The long finish is again reminiscent of sauternes,  with even some suggestions of old oak – big old wood.  There was diffident mention of some oxidation,  but I prefer my interpretation.  The tannin backbone would make it sensational with certain rich foods.  Quite an experience,  at a peak,  but no hurry.  [ TDN:  rather than just give the (long) chemical name the term is derived from,  I have received the suggestion to give the address of the article,  for those interested in more info.  It is a .pdf,  and does not seem to communicate in this way.  Instead google:  "Aged Riesling and the development of TDN" with double-quotes,  and it leads straight to it,  first-up.]  GK 03/14

2002  Felton Road Riesling Block 1   19  ()
Bannockburn,  Central Otago,  New Zealand:  10%;  $ –    [ screwcap;  was $24;  the vineyard considers 2002 a near-perfect vintage;  the wine late- and hand-harvested,  no botrytis,  wild-yeast fermentation,  50 g/L RS;  Michael Cooper,  2004:  … delicate and racy, with green apple and lemon aromas, a distinctly mineral streak, and searching flavours of lemon and limes, sweet and tangy. It should be very long-lived,  *****;  www.feltonroad.com ]
Lemon with a wash of straw,  just below midway in depth.  Bouquet is remarkably pure riesling,  linalool and vanillin,  suggestions of holy grass (Hierochloe),  little or no botrytis,  delicate.  Palate immediately deepens the impression,  citrusy riesling aromatics now,  even hints of lime still at 12 years,  great freshness,  juicy,  long on the residual sweetness and elegant acid.  A perfect wine to illustrate the oft-stated British reportage that riesling is the unsung grape of Otago.  Closely matches non-botrytisy Mosel spatlesen in nett impression.  Cellar 5 – 15 years.  GK 03/14

2004  Howard Park Riesling   18 ½ +  ()
Great Southern district,  West Australia,  Australia:  12.5%;  $ –    [ screwcap;  was $31;  included to compare and contrast an Australian riesling from a cooler district with the New Zealand wines,  Great Southern 2004 rated 8/10 by Halliday,  RS usually under 5;  James Halliday,  2004:  Pale straw-green; spotlessly clean apple and lime blossom; lovely palate, with sweet lime fruit and a dry finish, 95;  GK,  2006: intriguing citrus zest complexity to it,  almost suggesting mandarin and mock orange blossom,  in a very subtle riesling setting 18.5 +;  not the easiest website to find things,  as the name of the website suggests;  www.burchfamilywines.com.au ]
Lemongreen,  the second palest,  sensational for 10 years.  And the bouquet is pretty much up there too,  showing a sweet vernal or holy grass varietal delicacy,  florality and complexity clearly suggesting a cooler climate than the Clare Valley wines of Jeffrey Grosset,  and more like best New Zealand examples of the grape.  Palate is better again,  the handling of the phenolic subtlety magnificent,  palest citrus,  seemingly natural acid,  attractive fruit,  and great length of palate for a 'dry' riesling.  Exceptional Australian riesling,  to cellar 5 – 15 years.  GK 03/14

2005  Glover's Riesling Moutere Dry   18 ½  ()
Moutere Hills,  Nelson,  New Zealand:  12%;  $ –    [ cork – second bottle available;  was $17;  there is a measure of inconsistency in the wines from Dave Glover,  which tends to obscure the odd gem.  This one appealed to me at release – I am looking forward to seeing it again;  GK,  2006:  a strongly floral bouquet reminiscent of freesia,  or even as perfumed as jasmine,  on sweet vanillin and potentially nectary notes,  plus a zing of  aromatic hops.  Palate is exceptional,  with precise varietal definition made the more unusual (for New Zealand) by being bone dry,  yet with great body and length of flavour …,  18.5;  www.glovers-vineyard.co.nz ]
Lemonstraw,  below midway in depth.  This wine shows an explicit riesling varietal bouquet:  freesia florals,  lemony hints,  reminders of holy grass again,  and clear suggestions of sturmer apples.  Palate shows great fruit and length for a dry riesling,  with the degree of extraction / tannin handling ideal.  The wine has backbone,  but is in no way phenolic – quite an achievement in dry riesling.  Aftertaste is sturmers and vanillin,  long and lingering,  lovely.  The group liked the wine less than I did,  only one other taster considering it exemplary.  I suspect this reflects the Australasian expectation that even 'dry' riesling will be 7 g/L residual.  Cellar 3 – 8 years.  GK 03/14

2007  Escarpment Riesling   18 ½  ()
Martinborough,  New Zealand:  12%;  $ –    [ screwcap;  was $24;  hand-picked;  and finally,  a younger wine to show the grape at that stage;  2007 a year of good quality but low crops in Martinborough;  Larry McKenna is so well-known for his pinot noir,  we tend to forget he has produced some  pretty lovely rieslings over the years.  GK,  2007:  Bouquet … lime-zest and cooking apples again,  just a hint of cinnamon-like spice,  as if there is a little more skin influence.  Palate is totally extraordinary.  It tastes dramatically riesling,  and in effect,  totally dry,  with low phenolics.  Alongside the known-to-be-dry Craggy Rapaura,  the Escarpment tastes drier and finer.  Yet on examination of the numbers,  the latter is 15 g/L residual sugar,  normally a clear medium-dry to medium … a function of the phenomenally low pH on this wine,  2.84,  … it should cellar for 10 – 20 years,  18 +;  www.escarpment.co.nz ]
Lemongreen,  the palest,  clearly the baby of the set.  And bouquet conveys that impression too,  still infantile,  clearly appley but cooking apples of a kind you can hardly buy now,  ballarat for example.  Palate is freshly acid but has physical fruit and dry extract,  and on careful examination it shows greater residual sugar than the Australians or the Glover,  so the acid is well covered.  Due to the low pH the wine however tastes quite austere.  Some tasters therefore found the wine hard to understand,  at this early stage.  A wine to cellar 5 – 15 years,  awaiting full flavour development.  Surprises in store here,  I think.  GK 03/14

2001  von Kesselstat Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett QmP   18 ½  ()
Mosel Valley,  Germany:  8.5%;  $ –    [ cork,  was $30;  second bottle available;  Broadbent rates 2001 ***** for Germany;  some use of big old wood;  for the winery vintage commenced 22 October,  their average yield this year being 7.5 t/ha = 3 t/ac;  this wine emerged as desirable,  from comparative tastings of the German 2001s I presented in August 2003;  the owners describe the 2001 vintage (at the time) thus:  The so-called "golden October" (warmest for hundred years!) helped us to harvest one of the very best vintages of the past 30 years. … The 2001 vintage is beautifully balanced with expressive exotic aromas of passion-fruit, peach and blackcurrant combined with a lively ripe acidity. … We compare 2001 with vintage 1990 or even with 1975 - "Riesling-legends";  www.kesselstatt.com ]
Lemonstraw,  above midway in depth,  but more developed than I hoped.  Bouquet is the highlight of this wine,  that extraordinary perfectly floral complexity that good German riesling so excels at,  seeming hints of botrytis even at kabinett level,  some deepening of the floral notes to embrace honeysuckle aromas as well as white flowers,  with suggestions of nectar or pale honey.  Palate is delightfully pure with a lot of flavour,  just a little terpene aromatics yet enough sweetness to wrap up the phenolics until the very end,  when there is not quite the finesse of the Felton Block 1.  Hard to judge,  because the German is the dryer of the two.  Has another five years or so in it,  but not as long-lived as some Mosel wines,  or the Felton Bock 1 or the Howard Park.  Clearly the most-favoured example of riesling the grape on the night,  with six first-place rankings,  and likewise six correctly locating it in Germany.  GK 03/14

1984  Jeffrey Grosset Rhine Riesling Polish Hill   18 +  ()
Clare Valley,  Australia:  12%;  $ –    [ cork – regrettably there is no second bottle available,  but a moment's reflection will I am sure indicate I can't always achieve that – particular 30 years later;  4th vintage,  650 cases;  vineyard at 460m;  1984 was a cool year in South Australia,  with for some varieties elegant wines emerging;  Julia Harding in Jancis Robinson, 2009:  Ripe pineapple nose but not as tropical as that sounds and a touch of honey. Lovely rich intense toasty palate and still so lovely and fresh, 18.5;  Lisa Perrotti-Brown,  in Robert Parker,  2011:  Pale to medium straw in color, the 1984 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling has intense evolved Riesling notes, going a little honeyed over scents of orange blossom, lemon marmalade, some chalk, hay and blanched almonds. Very crisp, light to medium bodied and dry, it gives layers of expressive toasty / chalky flavors, finishing long,  92;  website lacks back info;  www.grosset.com.au ]
Light gold,  the second deepest colour.  Bouquet is wonderfully pure and clearly honeyed,  rather than nectary.  There is a suggestion of vanilla (wine) biscuit complexity creeping in now,  at the 30-year point,  but it seems more appropriate to think of this as flavour development rather than oxidation.  Palate is quite big,  bolder in its flavours than the younger Grosset,  slightly more phenolics maybe,  but the lovely bouquet plus some residual covers that.  Length of flavour is good,  and in a cooler year,  the acid seems natural and fine-grain.  It is not as angular as the seemingly drier 2002.  This wine bridged the jump to the markedly older 1962 very well.  Fully mature now,  reasonably enough.  GK 03/14

2002  Grosset Riesling Polish Hill   18  ()
Clare Valley,  Australia:  13%;  $ –    [ screwcap;  was $47;  vineyard at 460m;  2002 was an exceptional year in South Australia,  the Clare Valley whites rated 10/10 by James Halliday (rare);  J. Grosset at release:  All the indications are that, with time, this will come to be regarded as the greatest Polish Hill Riesling of them all … intense lime aromas; tight, focused and lean with minerally, slatey, lime juice flavours and racy, bracing lingering acidity … austere … coiled power, varietal purity …and Polish Hill’s characteristic steely backbone. Jancis Robinson,  2013:  Very lightly honeyed nose but very low key nose at first - worryingly so. Bone dry.  Austere. A bit fruitless at first but it grew in the glass to provide a very vibrant, delineated - still bone dry - mouthful of refined dry grapefruit flavour. Super clean,  17.5;  James Halliday:  Light straw-green; the toasty but discreet bouquet has crisp apple and mineral notes, but is far from flamboyant; the palate is already offering much more power than the bouquet, with flavours running through from apple to lime and a long finish,  95;  the website is sparing with factual information;  www.grosset.com.au ]
Lemon,  the third to youngest.  Bouquet is very much Australian riesling,  a warmer climate aroma,  with much vanillin and clear terpenes reminiscent of lager hops,  but lacking the delicate cool-climate white-flowers complexity notes of the Howard Park and the Glover.  Palate is still youthful,  still riesling austere,  perhaps some added acid,  the texture not quite matching the 1984 Grosset,  hints of lime and citrus.  This should develop well,  as dry Clare Valley riesling.  Cellar 5 – 15 years.  GK 03/14

1975  Rudolf Muller Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese   17 ½ +  ()
Mosel Valley,  Germany:   – %;  $ –    [ cork,  second bottle available;  no info; Broadbent rates 1975 **** for Germany;  the goals here are firstly,  to endorse the view that riesling is the pre-eminent white cellar wine,  without any presumption that this is sublime,  and secondly to bridge the jump back to 1962,  though that wine will be climatically very different in style;  GK 2012:  Bouquet shows riesling terpenes quite evident,  a slightly hoppy note (+ve),  on suggestions of citrus / limezest aroma,  moving with age to a thought of candied lemon peel.  Palate again has the acid of 1975,  a certain austerity,  but purity too,  which could be called mineral.  The level of fruit and the freshness of the wine is amazing,  there is absolutely no hurry here at all,  17.5 ]
Slightly brassy light gold,  the fourth deepest.  There is a great volume of bouquet to this wine,  still with clear honeysuckle-like florals,  some nectar,  and little or no botrytis in the cool dry year (but it is hard to tell after nearly 40 years).  But in addition there is a certain austerity on bouquet,  which tasters likened to a touch of herbes – perhaps a stalky note even.  Palate melds all these components together into a long pleasing flavour,  nectary,  quite sweet for spatlese,  but with high total acid.  Some tasters marked the wine down for that.  In fact response to the wine was quite vehement,  with three tasters ranking it the top wine of the set,  and two the bottom.  Interesting.  These '70s Germans are nearing the end of their run,  mainly due to the corks.  The first bottle had to be rejected.  Time to be finishing.  GK 03/14

2001  Felton Road Riesling Dry   17 ½  ()
Bannockburn,  Central Otago,  New Zealand:  10%;  $ –    [ cork – second bottle available;  was $21;  an unremarkable/ average vintage;  the wine hand-harvested,  wild-yeast fermented;  Michael Cooper,  2003:  … floral, with light body (10% alcohol) and beautifully fresh, delicate and springy flavours, rich, lemony and lingering ****½;  www.feltonroad.com ]
Lemon,  a lovely colour and even at 13 years,  among the paler in the set.  One sniff and the purity of this wine is dramatic,  lovely pure vinifera aromatics hinting at riesling,  with just a suggestion of vanilla biscuit bespeaking full maturity.  One has to hunt to find traces of fresh sweet vernal / linalool varietal complexity.  Accordingly,  more critical tasters murmured about hints of oxidation.  Its like people,  it is so easy to find faults,  but there is pleasure to be had in seeking virtues – so I prefer my interpretation again.  In mouth,  the wine is just as charming,  pleasing body,  sweeter than expected (for Dry),  supremely delicate,  more like an exceptionally good mature chasselas from Switzerland than riesling,  yet there is a trace of acid,  and hints of a terpene backbone.  This wine would be sensational with something like scallops.  Fully mature,  one could drink a lot of this.  GK 03/14

1962  [ Penfolds ] Minchinbury Rhine Riesling   17 +  ()
Rooty Hill,  Sydney,  NSW,  Australia:   – %;  $ –    [ cork ,  second bottle available but ullaged and lesser colour,  so here's hoping;   Langton's estimate the current value of this bottle to be $AU200;  these bottles found in Westport in 1971;  the Minchinbury winery and vineyard at Rooty Hill was at its peak in the early 1950s,  famed amongst other things for its Trameah (traminer – as was the Hunter Valley,  then).  There was a short resurgence of quality in the early 60s,  but the land came under increasing pressure from encroaching suburbia.  Wine production and viticulture ceased in 1978. No tasting notes found.  Langton's website includes in its history section the statement:  "At one stage Penfolds Minchinbury “Champagne” and Minchinbury “Trameah” were the leading sparkling and white table wines produced in Australia during the 1950s."  This is a taste of history,  therefore ... ]
Gold,  a wash of old gold,  not surprisingly,  much the deepest wine.  So,  one sniffed it apprehensively,  and (as the presenter) … joy …,  the wine is well alive,  clearly varietal,  and dramatically honeyed (bush honey,  as one taster noted).  There is still clear hoppy terpene complexity,  mingled with a mealy hazelnut-like aroma bespeaking faint maderisation maybe (for those who wanted to be critical),  but no more so than an attractive old chardonnay.  Palate shows good fruit richness,  good length and depth in a mixed raisiny yet mealy style,  some residual sweetness still to cover the drying phenolics,  intriguing.  It would now be a perfect accompaniment to Anzac biscuits [ later – yes ! ],  and it is a pleasure to taste at 52 years of age.  It is extraordinarily good considering the Sydney district is hardly premium riesling country.  The winemaking must have been exemplary in its subtlety.  Not everybody was quite as pleased with the wine as I was – unfamiliarity per se,  and ... naturally ... one gets to like old wine flavours more as one gets older – but most found it pretty interesting.  GK 03/14

2001  Dry River Riesling   16 ½  ()
Martinborough,  New Zealand:  9%;  $ –    [ cork – second bottle available;  was $22;  Dry River always made a feature of the cellar-worthyness of their wines,  so checking their 2001 Riesling alongside both an Otago one and a Mosel seems fun;  the winery (on the very complete website) says of the year:  The ripening period was extended … by drought … resulting in fully ripe phenolics, more floral flavours and markedly lower alcohols in what are nevertheless ripe wine styles;  of the wine they say:  … a voluminous, predominantly floral nose: apple blossom, roses and freesias, limes and a touch of talc. The palate is full, with a long aftertaste managing both richness and delicacy …;  Michael Cooper,  2003:  a freshly scented, light wine (9% alcohol), with slightly sweet, appley, limey flavours, firm acidity and good length ****;  www.dryriver.co.nz ]
Lemonstraw,  right in the middle.  An unconvincing bouquet,  hard to pin down.  It is clean and vinifera to first inspection,  but markedly less varietal than the 2001 Felton.  Unlike the purity of that wine,  however,  there is a non-grape resiny note on bouquet which is more Australian than New Zealand,  in a blind tasting.  In mouth,  there is good fruit,  medium-dry sweetness,  nicely balanced and gentle phenolics,  but again this resiny taste-quality reminiscent of crushed lawsoniana (a cypress).  Some tasters liked the nett impression,  some didn't (one top place,  two bottom,  four located it in Australia).  Interesting.  Cellar 3 – 8 years.  GK 03/14