A fresh young Riesling and an aromatic and distinguished Aged Riesling
At Patrick of Coonawarra, we release four very different styles of Rieslings: the fresh, young Two-Blocks Riesling, a beautifully cellared Aged Riesling, the playful and experimental Méthode Skinny, and the luscious, complex Botrytis Riesling dessert wine.
Here are some thoughts about our Two Blocks and Aged Riesling direct from head winemaker, Luke Tocaciu.
“The Two-Blocks Riesling is our typical fresh young style of Riesling. I like to drink it early and release it quite early. There’s minimal winemaker intervention in making this wine. It’s all about guiding the fruit from the vineyard, capturing that freshness and putting it in bottle.
In comparison with a variety like Cabernet, which I also love, a winemaker has a lot more influence. With Cabernet for example, you can use different oaks or keep it on skins longer. There’s a lot of different winemaking techniques that you can use. On the other hand with Riesling, I try to treat the wine as gently as possible to capture the essence and freshness of the vineyard - and not do too many fancy things like a winemaker tends to like to do.
To create the Two-Blocks Riesling, I blend the fruit from Coonawarra and Wrattonbully. I have a lot of blending options in the winery. Some years when Coonawarra looks better, Two-Blocks will have more Coonawarra fruit, and vice versa when the Wrattonbully vineyard is growing better, I’ll use more of that.
Two-Blocks Riesling is released every year around June-July. It’s always an exciting moment in cellar door when we’ve got the new vintage of Riesling in and it’s lovely and fresh. I love Riesling very young. We’ve just released the 2021 a month ago - try it and let me know what you think!”
“The Aged Riesling came about from having different vintages available in cellar door. We had always had the young Two-Blocks vintage on show, but also had one of our older Rieslings available to educate our customers and see what they thought.
People were really interested to see the difference between a younger style and an older style of Riesling. There was also a lot of interest from restaurants to pair with the fantastic food within the Limestone Coast region.
I saw the opportunity to put our Riesling down for a few years, and release it later as a specifically aged Riesling. The Aged Riesling is all Coonawarra fruit, which is more acid-driven and inclined to age better. It is made in a similar, minimal intervention way to our Two-Blocks Riesling. It stays in the bottle in the cellar for a minimum of 5 years before we release it.
The wine industry is a long term game. You have to have patience! For example, our Grande Reserve is 8-10 years old when we release it; we put the best barrels of Home Block aside in the cellar (as long as we’ve got room), then I look at it every few years to work out the optimum time to bottle and then a few more years later, we release it.
Riesling goes through a rollercoaster of flavours as it ages. It’s fantastic when it’s fresh, then it dips down and loses a bit of fruit in years two and three. As it gets older, it starts to develop more character and the toastiness starts to increase from there. Around the five year mark, you’ve still got some fruit freshness but are starting to get some of the toasty characters coming through.
With the development of screwcap, we can now age Riesling for 30, 40+ years. As long as you’ve got the patience to keep it in your cellar, Rieslings can get better and better as they get older.”