Delatite, Sylvia Riesling, 2008
"But it is a little sweet", was the warning when I expressed an interest in buying this Riesling - as if that had ever stopped a Wine Rambler! Quite the opposite, I was very exciting to find an off-dry Australian Riesling as I had never before tasted one. It also seemed to me it would be a great change to taste it blind against an off-dry German Riesling.
This made even more sense as the label told me that "This early picked Riesling is loosely based on the German "Kabinett" style." Well, bring it on Australia.
The Delatite family planted their first vines in Upper Goulburn in 1968 and the winery is still in the family, now in the third generation. According to the label, grapes are grown "following Biodynamic principles", and the "winemaking is guided by the policy of minimal intervention". Apparently, the Riesling is named after Sylvia Ritchie, the mother of the founder of the winery and "a redoubtable matriarch who lived until she was 94".
The Syvlia Riesling did not make it that long, in fact the three of us polished it (and its German competitor) off during a relaxed evening at the Wine Rambler's London HQ. The Delatite had a pleasant and yet not unsubstantial nose. There were rubbery aromas, almost like plastic-y tennis balls, and some petrol and dust; the wine also smelled a little green, smoky, dusty and with apple and grapefruit aromas. Not bad at all.
The taste of the Australian Riesling was a good reflection of its bouquet - there were rubbery flavours (think bicycle tube, although I have yet to eat one) and green fruit, with juicy but also more serious moments. I particularly liked the mix of lychee flowers, spice and nectarine (not of the overly ripe type though), and there was a long, dry aftertaste with crunchy texture. Off-dry, yes, but good substance too.
For around ten quid a really good offer, and even for the about 12 it would have cost without the discount I bought this at (shelf clearance) definitely worth trying.