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Wine of the Week for week ending 16 Nov 2008
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Muddy Water 'Growers Series' Lough Vineyard Riesling 2008
Waipara, New Zealand

Walking around the garden the last couple of months - when it has not been raining that is - has been an unbelievably heaven-scented experience. In particular the intoxicatingly sweet jasmine [Jasminum polyanthum] that intertwines along the boundary fence (such a shame it is so invasive), the lemony scented freesias, the wisteria with its cascades of white blooms - and now the roses. The freesias are finished, the jasmine flowers are fading and the wisteria is turning to a trickle of flowering stems rather than the waterfall it was before, but never mind because I've found a wine that encapsulates the spring garden fragrance - or at least the sum of the parts.

I had on the table seven glasses of Riesling all from Waipara. It was an extra-ordinary Riesling tasting with all wines rated as silver medal standard or higher. But the one that most besotted me, the one that transported into the midst of the spring garden, is this week's Wine of the Week. It is the Muddy Water 'Growers Series' Lough Vineyard Waipara Riesling 2008.

A transparent light lemon yellow colour in the glass, this fragrantly perfumed wine has lemony scents together with spring garden florals, citrus blossoms, pollen and honey bees. The flavours are powerful and seem dry to off dry with great palate weight, a touch of sweetness and a juicy, fresh lime sherbet zing. It's bright, exciting, racy and long with just enough viscosity for textural complexity and load and loads of dazzling lime and tangelo adding to its mouth-watering appeal. This is an uncomplicated Riesling that can take hours of chilling. Pour it. Enjoy it. I rate it 19/20.

I was surprised when I looked up the tech notes for this wine to find it has 30 grams per litre of residual sugar - it doesn't seem that sweet; no doubt the hefty 8 grams per litre of acidity has impeccably balanced that sweetness. The 13% alcohol abets the palate weight with the abundant florals augmented by significant botrytis infection.

The Growers Series is new to Muddy Water as they transform their home vineyard to an organic regime. Thus the grapes for this wine were not grown on their estate but at the Lough Vineyard just north of Waipara Village.

The wine itself costs $25 a bottle. Check out the for more.

There were three other Muddy Water Rieslings in the tasting ....

Muddy Water Growers Series James Hardwick Riesling 2008 - so light, so young, so tight with an earthy, citrus pith scent and bracing acidity. But after time in the bottle - the luxury of assessing these wines over several nights - you can taste the transformation from pre-pubescent teenager to curvaceous prom queen. Initially rated 17.5/20, the rating was deservingly re-assessed at 18.5 as the wine evolved in the bottle and threw away its juvenile austerity.

That was quite different from the previous vintage - the Muddy Water James Harwick Riesling 2007, which is already hinting of bottle development with hints of kero and a honeyed toffee scent. Quite sweet and honeyed with a nectar-like feel to the texture and a yellow fruit brightness and while the acidity seemed soft to start, it was humming away in the background to build to a vibrant crescendo on the finish. Such a joy to drink from the outset, I rated it 18.5/20. $29.

Comparing the two James Hardwicks, the 2008 was pale, young, estery and acid driven with 13% alcohol, 14 g/l residual sugar and 7.3 g/l total acidity while the 2007 was deep, concentrated, mellow and sugar driven with 13% alcohol, 16 g/l residual sugar and 6.2 g/l total acidity.

Last of all Muddy Water Dry Waipara Riesling 2007 with its enticing crisp, dry Riesling scents that also hint of honeysuckle sweetness. Dry, but with only a modicum of acidity which makes it seem quite honeyed and thus provides an intriguing ying-yang. A little reserved to start but has a full-bodied, powerful concentrated finish. 13% alcohol, 6.2 g/l residual sugar and 5.7 g/l total acidity. $29. My score: 18/20.

Also in the tasting making the seven was ...
Montana Waipara Riesling 2008 - a not to miss buy when it's on special for $12.99 at the supermarket.
Camshorn Glasnevin Gravels Waipara Riesling 2008
Main Divide Waipara Riesling 2007.

© Sue Courtney
10 Nov 2008

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