High on the slopes of Eden Valley, bright yellow and blue buckets squat between rows of vines. Pickers pedantically divide Riesling grapes row by row – yellow, blue, yellow, blue, yellow, blue.
Overseeing the process, tasting the grapes, stand two of Australia’s best known Riesling makers.
Clare Valley’s Jeffrey Grosset and Eden Valley’s Robert Hill-Smith work together each vintage before taking their chosen grapes – Jeffrey’s in the blue buckets and Robert’s in the yellow - and parting ways to crush and ferment the fruit at different locations.
Debate follows, as the juice is assessed and the final, final, final blend is agreed upon. Each component, nearly identical at the start, undergoes a different conversion into wine, reflecting the personal differences of both men.
The growing season started well, with a lovely season break as the rains started to fall in autumn, followed by above average winter rains. August and spring were drier and warmer than average, giving the vines a very healthy start. An average December was followed by below average temperatures in January, with good rains falling in the second week, keeping the vines healthy and grapes ripening. Ripening conditions, flavours and natural acids were all perfect in Eden Valley this year.
The final wine is green and vibrant in appearance, with aromas of zesty lemons, grapefruit and a hint of dried green herb and spice. The palate is intense and generous, with lively citrus fruit flavours and hints of talc. The wine finish is clean and dry with refreshing, almost salty acidity.
As is the case with all great Eden Valley Rieslings, mesh will age gracefully and reliably into a mature wine under the screw-cap closure.
South Australia’s Eden Valley, high in the eastern ranges surrounding the Barossa Valley, averages between 400 and 600 metres in altitude. Soils are rocky grey loam and have high acidity. Winter rainfall is abundant (typically 50% more than the Barossa Valley). Temperatures are up to two degrees cooler than the Barossa Valley and the growing season longer. Cooling breezes from