The traditional Australian way to produce riesling is simple. Crush the grapes, drain the juice off the solids, clarify, ferment in steel tanks and bottle soon afterwards. Today, there are many variations: whole-bunch pressing, fermenting unclarified juice, fermenting or/and maturating in oak vessels; some rieslings are even fermented on their skins. Most of these techniques are used in the name of texture, otherwise known as mouth-feel. If traditional riesling is spring-water light and crisp, textural riesling has more weight, more density, more flesh on the bones. And it copes better with stronger flavoured foods. These rieslings are tradition-breakers made by unorthodox methods.
Salomon Undhof Alma Amphora Riesling 2017, Kremstal, Austria $54
This was fermented in clay amphorae and spent five months on skins. Its colour is full yellow, and it's rich and soft, fleshy and deep with an extra dimension of flavour and body. Its aromas remind of honey and fruit compote. Ample and dry, with a slight tannin grip. Screw-cap; 13 per cent alcohol.
Aging? Drink now to five years.
Stockists include L. Maestro The Liquor Master, East Killara, NSW; Rathdowne Cellars, Carlton North, Vic.
Frankland Estate Alter Weg Riesling 2018, Frankland River $30-$32
Wild-yeast fermented in seasoned barrels, in which it was aged for 11 months, in pursuit of texture. The aromas of straw-hay and vanilla are appealing if not very varietal, while the taste is fuller and broader than this winery's superb conventional rieslings. There's a slight tannin grip, good texture and balance. Screw-cap; 12.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to five years.
Stockists include King and Godfree, Carlton (Vic); Prince Wine Store, Zetland (NSW).
Dogrock Degraves Road Riesling 2018, Pyrenees $28
This was whole-bunch pressed and lees-contacted to fill out the mid-palate and enhance texture. With a forward-developed bouquet of honey, spices and lime blossom, it's delicate and subtle, light and pleasing. It has a little broadness and grip, with texture and style not typical of riesling. A left-field style with charm. Screw-cap; 11.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to nine years.
Stockists include Malvern Road Wine & Beer House (Vic); dogrock.com.au