Presentation on theme: "The Beauty is in the Balance Riesling -The Razors Edge Andrew Caillard, MW Fine Wine Principal Langtons Fine Wine Auctions & Woolworths Liquor Group, Australia."— Presentation transcript:
The Beauty is in the Balance Riesling -The Razors Edge Andrew Caillard, MW Fine Wine Principal Langtons Fine Wine Auctions & Woolworths Liquor Group, Australia
Riesling is the most transparent of grape varieties; it translates the soils and character of place better than any other variety.
Is the winemaker an Artist? In painting gesture of the artist In wine vineyard predestines its character Few winemakers are ever remembered, Famous vineyards/ places endure Riesling Schloss Johannisberg, Schloss Vollrads and Berkasteler Doktor
Is the winemaker a craftsman? A piece of furniture or pottery cannot make itself An artisinal winemaker therefore is an oxymoron?
Or is he a philosopher? Suggests a thoughtful relationship between living things To intuitively understand an aesthetic
Terroir Etymology; Terra – Latin for the earth Linked with agrarian reform in France post 1788. A contextual surface. gout de pierre more commonly used during the 1800s and 1900s Dr Jules Guyot in 1860. What is the wealth of locality and its soil?
Terroir Terroir seems to derive from the principal of colonisation power of land Local products such as cheese and honey Also used in Architecture and Geography Appellation Controlee Laws were introduced in 1909 Protection of a place of origin – not a protection of quality But steeped in local knowledge – ie best performing vineyards.
Terroir Nullis? 20 th Century - historicised, ecologised, politicised, and romanticized. Globalisation and threat have accelerated the evolution and meaning of Terroir. An essential food staple (water was dangerous to drink during the 18 th and 19 th century) into a commodity An invention of difference? Terroir a fiction Using a glorious past or grand history to create a unique and different product of symbolically high standard?
Creating an Identity Terroir came into common usage during the 1980s No reference to Terroir in major English (or French) books until 1980s We have to be different in order to sell Pankarra – Aboriginal, Arse Place – Pidgin, Papanga – Maori It is up to us to use our knowledge from our experience of place to define those places that exist for making great riesling. Jeffrey Grosset 2007
The power of Identity A product characterised by a place Or a place characterised by a product. Many of the great wines of the world are the latter Domaine de la Romanee Conti, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Petrus, Krug Riesling? Schloss Johannisberg, JJ Prum, Dr Loosen, Trimbach Clos Ste Hune, Grosset
Riesling – History of Trading 1435 with Klosters Eberbach in the Rheingau. Elizabethan Era - Rhenish wines were imported but consumed within 18 months – Adulteration with spices or turned into vinegar. – Beer and wine was consumed extensively to avoid getting ill. Invention of bottle and cork; investment and wine collecting only began less than 300 years ago. 1830s Schloss Johannisberger a wine of first class – Romanee Conti, Lafitte (sic) and Constantia! – most Hock and Moselle was considered as young drinking 2 nd and 3 rd class wines Acknowledgement of difference – Steinberger – Rheingau (A very fine growth) – Oestericher (Lighter than Johannesberger but delicate) – Liebfrauenmilch (a good hock with fine flavour and body) – Bacharach (wine once in high repute) – Whelen, Graach (both of first quality) Queen Victoria (1819-1901) – married a German; favoured wines of the court
Contemporary Tasting Note? The German are a distinct class in Character from all other wines. They are generous, dry, finely favoured and endure age beyond example. They average about 12.08 per cent of alcohol. They have been supposed to turn acid sooner than other wines, though the reverse is a remarkable fact Cyrus Redding – A history and description of Modern Wine 1833!
Starts to go wrong after 1918 A sickening sweetness fouled most post-war wines (after 1918) and robbed them of their erstwhile individuality Andre Simon, Vintage Wise 1945 Greatest pre 1945 vintages; 1893 and 1921 Pre 1930 German Wines could contain up to 49% of foreign wines sweet Hock a la Sauternes Liebfrauenmilch – pre 1930; mostly Spain, during German occupation of France; Alsace and Austria Post 1945; Commercialisation with occupying US Forces Democratisation of wine consumption in the UK. Traditional styles and names were modified. Introduction of hybrids – and new varieties ie Muller Thurgau – Quantity rather than quality 1964 – Rhine Wine is not always pure; many German wines contain more water than permitted and wine growers adulterate and mix wines to such an extent, that the criminality is quite significant. 1970 German Wine Law – based on must weight and open to cheating Reduction in vineyard sites – commercialisation
History of Trading – Riesling - Alsace Riesling Wine from Strasburgh (sic) is distinguished by a particular bouquet, by strength and durability. It will keep a century. It is diuretic and cold. Cyrus Redding 1833 The second classes of wine are produced from the plants named the rischling... The vine de Paille based on Tokai, Chasselas etc more valued. 1870-1918 – German occupation of Alsace. When Alsace was freed from occupation in 1918.. nobody outside Alsace had ever heard of Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Guebwiller etc Market seized up during World War 2 and descent of the the iron curtain
Riesling in Australia James Busby listed Rischling in his 1832 collection William Macarthur imported some Riesling vines from the Bas-Rhin in 1838. In 1847 Johann Gramp imported Riesling grapes producing his first vintage in 1850. Leo Buring visited Schloss Johannisberg in 1896 1970s Riesling was the generic term used for cheap bag in the box white wines. It was Rhine Riesling that differentiated the true Riesling from other synonym varieties. Rise of Eden Valley and Clare Valley during the 1970s Screw Caps – 1970s & 1990s
Wine Investment is bold speculation? Fine wine market is an example of laissez faire capitalism, supply stimulates demand; commodity become more valued as original purpose is lost! No correlation with financial indices such as the FTSE, All Ordinaries, Dow Jones etc. Costs of buying and selling make it difficult to achieve returns. Riesling does not presently feature in wine investment funds With the exception of rarities have not shown any traction/ reliable history on the market Are generally appreciated as young rather than older wines TBAs and Bas are highly specialised wines – very low production and relatively small demand Australian Rieslings; Leo Buring and Grosset have a longstanding presence on the secondary wine market but do not generate returns.
Historic Australian Riesling Prices 1.1980 PEWSEY VALE Riesling, Eden Valley AU$173.65 2.1968 PENFOLDS Bin 421 Late Picked Riesling, South Australia AU$166.75 3.1979 LEO BURING DW 116 Riesling, Eden Valley AU$141.45 4.1970 PEWSEY VALE Riesling, Eden Valley AU$138.00 5.1984 SEPPELT Maturation Release Riesling, Eden Valley AU$138.00 6.1973 LEO BURING DWC 11 Show Reserve Riesling, Barossa Valley AU$136.85 7.1973 LEO BURING DWC 17 Show Reserve Riesling, Eden Valley AU$126.56 8.1979 LEO BURING DWI 16 Show Reserve Riesling, Eden Valley AU$119.60 9.1975 LEO BURING DW 187 Riesling, Eden-Barossa Valley AU$110.40 10.1990 LEO BURING DWT 17 Leonay Riesling, Eden Valley AU$104.65 Illustrates a local market for Australian Riesling Highest prices paid for Eden Valley Riesling. Grosset Polish Hill by far the highest ranking for consistency and volume Austrian/ New Zealand/ US etc – under developed wine market
Lessons of Riesling Held in high esteem but generally regarded as a wine to drink soon Botrytis Riesling – very rare and ability to age – but highly specialised genre In Jeffrey Grossets paper he discusses various processes that can manipulate or opaque the intrinsic transparency of Riesling. – Juice subjected to skin contact, machine harvesting and transporting – Use of flavour enhancing yeasts or enzymes and the blending of small quantities of other varieties. Also development of low H 2 S producing yeasts – Extended lees contact and aging in large oak, and the use of hazy rather than clear juice – Other influences such as botrytis adding character and complexity. ALSO – Storage conditions and corks have a huge effect on aging potential Drinkinga 1975 Rhiengau Kabinett in Germany – significantly less evolved than wine cellared in Australia (despite air-conditioning etc) Ageworthy but unreliable in the 20 th Century
A History of Abuse abused, tortured and subjugated throughout the 20 th Century. Riesling translates and articulates place better than any another variety But sidelined by Politics, scandal, greed, impossible German language Name and reputation of producer linked with vineyard the key factor The Terroir argument has not helped Riesling commercially. It has voice and scent of place but is not universally fabled. It has a present value but an uncertain future value
The Aesthetic of Riesling Aesthetics deals with beauty, art, enjoyment, sensory-emotional values, perception, and matters of taste and sentiment. It also deals with the expectations of the day. Fashion and values of our times interplay. What was ugly yesterday is beautiful today and vice versa. Minerality and freshness but also aroma, volume and flavour length
The expectations of today Mosel – Flowery, slatey and delicate with low to moderate alcohol, clear bright acidity. Classic style has a hint of residual sugar. Rheingau – Slatey/ flinty/ pearskin, low to moderate alcohol, more powerful and intense. Mineral acidity. (styles ie Trocken through to Spatlese muffle or exaggerate typicity) Alsace – Stoney/ honey/ flinty notes, moderate alcohol, chalky, more richness, concentration. Strong acidity. Grand Cru often riper expressions with muscaty note. Clare Valley– Lemon curd/ camomile aromas. Moderate to moderate-high alcohol, concentration, indelible acidity and flavour length. Eden Valley – Lemon/Lime/ herb/ slatey notes, moderate to moderate- high alcohol, strong acidity. Regional voice not always clear. Low Alcohol – early picked Australian Rieslings – gaining momentum
Evaluation As a buyer or critic – one tends to evaluate against the contemporary aesthetic. Grosset, Trimbach, Zind Humbrecht, JJ Prum, Dr Loosen, Schloss Johannsiberg etc Retail buyers averse to risk Rise of the sommelier as an influencer. ie Austria, low alcohol Australian, Crawford River etc
The future of Riesling Riesling ultimately a transparency on a blank canvas The intrinsic aesthetic of Riesling; Vineyard more important than winemaker. The intrinsic quality of Riesling; Winemakers name more important than vineyard Beauty and balance in a wine is not good enough Need to capture the imagination of the consumer Access to market and ranging increasingly difficult
A confused general consumer Average consumer unclear what Riesling should be Avoids Riesling. Price is a key driver Aesthetic is a key driver Individual identity gives market traction Winemaking philosophy, environmental, family heritage, reputation, reliability (brand equity) Regional voice but not Terroir
Top Rieslings at Dan Murphys 1.PEWSEY VALE Riesling – EDEN VALLEY 2.ANNIES LANE Riesling – CLARE VALLEY 3.PIKES Riesling – CLARE VALLEY 4.JACOBS CREEK Riesling CLARE/EDEN VALLEY 5.PETALUMA Riesling – CLARE VALLEY 6.PETER LEHMANN Riesling - BAROSSA 7.WOLF BLASS Eaglehawk Riesling – SOUTH EAST AUSTRALIA 8.ROSEMOUNT Diamond Cellars Traminer Riesling SE AUSTRALIA 9.YALUMBA Y Series Riesling - BAROSSA 10.HARDYS Siegersdorf Riesling - CLARE/EDEN VALLEY Illustrates that Riesling is unique in the world of fine wine; many of the best sellers are Landmark Australian wine. AUSTRIA 1. PRAGER Riesling 187 FRANCE 1. DOPFF Au Moulin Riesling 750ml 26 2. DOPFF Schoenenbourg Riesling 72 GERMAN 1. DR LOOSEN Blue Slate Riesling 24 2. DR LOOSEN Dry Riesling 40 3. DR LOOSEN Bernkastler Rieslng Kabinett 64 4. DR LOOSEN Wehlener Riesling 68 5. HUGEL Jubilee Riesling 74 6. VON BUHL Estate Riesling 103 7. JJ WOLF Riesling 114 8. GEORG BREUER Riesling 123 9. JJ PRUM Riesling Kabinett 134 10. DONNHOFF Riesling 136 NEW ZEALAND 1. FROGMORE CREEK FGR Riesling 42 2. WAIPARA HILLS Riesling 86 3. ALLAN SCOTT Riesling 90 4. LAWSONS Dry Hill Riesling 108 5. FELTON ROAD Riesling 173 6. RIPPON Riesling 228 7. HUIA Riesling 231
Thoughts on Riesling Offer best value of ultra-fine wine Articulation of individual identity needed New World wines – clarity and purity Not all markets have to be your friend The poor allocation of points and the lack of empathy for other cultural values that pervades among wine critics is alarming. Critics applaud individuality but assume that taste and received wisdom is homogenous across cultures.
For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they were born, the city apartment or the farm in which they learnt to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they followed, the poets they read, and God they believed in. It is all these things that have made them what they are, and these are the things that you cant come to know by hearsay, you can only know them if you have lived them. – Somerset Maugham The Razors Edge 1944