"Have you packed the Rieslings carefully," I asked Neil.
"Of course," he replied.
They were in the wine bag and nestled behind the spare tyre, which, in our mid-engine
car, is under the bonnet.
There were two bottles and I was looking forward to trying them because one of the
names behind this new label, Auburn
Wines, is Max Marriott, a
part time wine writer and a Riesling fanatic. In fact Jancis Robinson has even republished
some of Max's Riesling reviews on her website.
I had met Max at an 'offline' (where wine lovers who communicate online meet in person)
and some delicious German Spatlese was consumed at that event.
Max and friend Dave, both recent graduates Lincoln University's viticulture
and oenology course, and another friend Andrew, share a love of Riesling so it was hardly a surprise to hear they had
set out on a mission to make the style of wine they love to drink and that Central Otago
was the chosen site. After all, anyone who has tasted the some of the exquisite Rieslings
from NZ's coolest climate region know that the wines have nerve and verve.
There were two wines, both made from 16-year-old vines off a site in Lowburm, north of
Cromwell, and both moderately low alcohol styles.
Auburn Twilight Riesling 2009 ($28) is gorgeous, Light gold in colour with
aromas of tropical fruit and sweet citrus and a honeyish palate, it is sweetish, nectar-like,
with great depth of tropical / citrus fruit and great acid tension to balance the
sweetness and hints of spicy zest (ginger-like, almost) coming forth on the finish.
Texture, viscosity and mouthfeel just perfect - it reminds me a little of the Mt
Difficulty Target Gully Riesling 2009 that I gave 5 stars to recently. This style of
Riesling, when well made, as this one is, always seduces me and this had me swooning in
ecstasy. It has 10.0% alcohol, a pH of 3.21, TA 7.7g/L, and
residual sugar 28g/L. 242 bottles were made.
Auburn Lowburn Riesling 2009 ($28) is light in colour and immediately the
impression is tighter and racier with concentrated yet soft lime and lemon flavours and
even greater tension and nerve. The texture has a slight oily character, there's a nuance
of nectar-like sweetness and a distinct earthy / pithy character to the finish that,
because of the acidity, gives the wine a dry steely finish. Far too young, but I can
envision how this would be in five years time. If you can get hold of a bottle and put it
away in your cellar, you will have obtained a first release of one of Central Otago's new
stars. It has 9% alcohol, a pH of 3.03, TA 8.2g/L and 31g/L of
Our mandatory stop at Nin's Bin, a roadside crayfish stall just north of Kaikoura, provided the ideal opportunity to open the wines. Sun, sea, freshly cooked crayfish and
gorgeous Riesling - what could be better?
Even though it was lunchtime, it was the Twilight Riesling that I
preferred, both with freshly cooked crayfish, split in half down the tail and served with
a a wedge of lemon, and a couple of nights later with potato crisps and cheese and onion
There will be more Rieslings from Auburn wines to come. The philosophy of the guys is
to make Rieslings that express site and as their portfolio grows, the range will
eventually comprise a Riesling from each subregion of Central Otago.
This is an exciting venture and if you are an ardent Riesling fan, it is one new name
you should bookmark. Check out www.auburnwines.com
to find out more.
© Sue Courtney
3 Apr 2010