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Wine styles blog

Ice Riesling

Stephen Doyle

AKA Silk Purse aka Noble Riesling. Super late picked Riesling with life and lift

Some wines really annoy me when I attempt to make them, some annoy other people who work with them with me. Silly little super late harvest stickies annoy all of us all of the time. Except when I eventually get around to enjoying a glass. If the seasonal outlook is OK, and I haven't been strong enough in ever so subtly suggesting my total aversion to the prospect of making another late harvest Riesling, about 20 % of the Riesling vineyard is left to rot. Now that would be fine by me. There's only a slim chance that the grapes will survive into late June or early July without storm and pestilence smashing them to pulp, so I'm not really committing to anything certain to happen. It's only happened a few times since Bloodwood arose from the lice ridden drought afflicted sheep emporium it was before we got here, but unfortunately the chances are increasing lately. You see, with global warming and climate change, it is no longer remotely possible that I will be able to replicate the 1994 Ice Riesling, so we've had to rely on the grapes slowly being affected by spasmodic botrytis infection and gradual de-hydration through early winter frosts and snow falls.

But here's the rub... dry autumns and early winter periods are perfect for this style of wine. Given the birds leave some fruit for us, the press is wheeled out and the whole process begins again... it's like a second miniature vintage when all I want to do is find somewhere quiet and dark to sleep of the previous three or four months of extremis. But when it works, it is probably worth the hassle. The Silk purse is usually around 10% alcohol and somewhere around 160 gms/litre residual in the bottle. It really is a slightly complicated essence of riesling with good clean acidity balancing the more or less zippy Riesling fruit, and it is as delicious as it is annoying.

Rhonda recommends fruit based desserts like red berries and lime pannacotta, mangoes with passionfruit sorbet, apple tarts, fresh figs stuffed with fresh goat's curd and a drizzle of light honey, then a good lie down.