Riesling Tasting with Mike Bennie

Posted by Isaac Forman on

I was recently in Sydney visiting the wine trade exhibiting my new release aromatic white wines and in preperation for the trip contacted renowned wine commentator Mike Bennie (The Wine Front & Gourmet Traveller WINE) to let him know I would be around. I suggested that we catch up to taste my wines and if available, why not taste them against some other new releases from samples he has had submitted. Mike agreed so we met at his tasting room in Enmore where we lined up 18 Rieslings, concealed the identity of the wines and randomised the order. Here are my tasting notes and scores with the identity of the wines included. I stress, this exercise was conducted tasting blind samples in randomised order. The results are encouraging and exciting for me. Mike will no doubt be posting his notes and scores at The Wine Front and in forthcoming issues of GT WINE.

Please enjoy... Comments are encouraged via twitter (@Vinteloper) or email


Wine 1:

Concentrated complex aromatics of apricot, honey, nut and high floral notes. The palate shows delightful balance of marzipan, honey & apricot, carried by a hint of residual sugar which in combination with the acid, drives the pleasant length. 

90 Points


2012 Pikes ‘Traditionale’ Clare Valley Riesling




Wine 2:

Intense floral lift indicating freshness with a hint of green flowers. Underneath lies a touch of armpit sweat & passionfruit. On the palate, lime & tropical flavours dominate up front before a noticeable dip in intensity through the mid palate. The abrubt finish is like licking a wet piece of slate. 

80 points.


2012 ADHOC Wallflower Great Southern Riesling



Wine 3:

Delicate but pure aromatics of white flowers highlighted buy jasmine & cherry blossom. Excellent delivery on the palate of delicate lime & citrus to back up the profile carried through from the aroma. A slight phenolic grip accentuates the mid palate & although this wine carries puckering acidity, it appears in balance & gives the wine great length. 

92 Points.


 2012 Galafrey Dryland Riesling



Wine 4:

Green papaya, mango and fennel underline a complex bouquet that appears vaguely varietal. There is an unexpected lift of residual sugar that hits you through the mid palate like a bolt of lightning and delivers an electrifying zing & intensity. 

80 points.


2012 D’Arenberg ‘Dry Dam’ Riesling



Wine 5:

Immediately you’re confronted by struck match sulphides that mask any other discernible qualities from the aromatics of this wine. The sulphide carries through the palate too, driving a wedge between diminished tropical fruit and armpit sweat. Then when you think “at least that’s over” a clawing sweetness pops up and generates length.

78 points.


2011 Greywacke Marlborough Riesling



Wine 6:

A deep floral complexity highlighted by pure jasmine over a hint of marzipan & lemon curd.  Crushed lime, jasmine and spice on a chalky, focussed palate showing intensity & purity. Bracing acidity through the finish send the saliva glands into overdrive. 

95 points.


2012 Vinteloper Watervale Riesling



Wine 7:

Earthy, spice, dark stoney aromas make a nice change from fruit and floral driven wines but the question over varietal character is naturally raised. The palate shows nice length with a gradual dip in intensity over the journey. Put together well, a very even wine.

85 points.


2012  Tim Smith Eden Valley Riesling 



Wine 8:

A slight lift of sulphur initially which blows off with a swirl of the glass leaving a delicate and restrained aroma of white flowers and citrus. A noticeable zing on the palate from high levels of disolved CO2 gives this wine serious gluggability. Wonderful intense fruit & florals on the palate over a core of fresh acidity that is the key to balancing this off dry style.

97 points.


2011 Keller ‘von der Fels’ Rheinhessen



Wine 9:

Passionfruit!! A tropical fruit salad of incredible intensity. Some breadth on the palate up front before it tightens up and finishes a little lean and short. 

86 points.


2012 Clos Clare Watervale Riesling

(NB: Upon revealing the identity of this wine, Mike indicated this may have been a bad bottle as he had seen the wine previously and been much more complementary)



Wine 10:

A powerful aromatic lift of intense lime & citrus over florals. A forward, slurppable off dry style; a real thirst slaker!! Nice length a great indication of the balance. Another glass please! 

91 points.


2012 Best Great Western Riesling


Wine 11:

A crescendo of lifted lime, grapefruit, marzipan and limestone. A delicate, medium intensity palate showing levels of residual sugar that make the wine so deliciously approachable, you’ll be eager to top up your glass.
91 points.


2012 Kellermeister ‘The Wombat General’ Eden Valley Riesling


Wine 12:

Bright green straw colour stands out immediately. Aromas indicate development but the wine is holding fresh green colour and shows aromas of citrus fruit, almond, honey & mineral. Palate is prickly with dissolved CO2 and fails to deliver the promise of the aroma. Very short and lean. 

85 points.


2004 Kinvarra Estate Riesling 


Wine 13:

Like walking through a blossoming flower bed with high intensity fresh floral notes. Palate intensity incredible up front with a striking profile of floral and freshly squeezed lime juice. Tighy, flinty acidity tucks in the mid palate striking a full crescendo on the finish. 

96 points.

2012 Leo Buring 'Leonay' DWP18 Watervale Riesling


Wine 14:

Aromatics initially masked by a slight sulphur dioxide character. Lean & mean but very quiet on the palate.

84 points.

2012 O'Leary Walker Polish Hill River Riesling


Wine 15:

Big concentrated aromatic lift of spice and marzipan with sweet apricots and lime. Palate is very sweet with a drive of sweet apricots, lime and just a hint of nuts. A really enjoyable wine with lots of potential albeit with an abrupt finish. 

88 points

2011 Jamsheed le blanc plonk 


Wine 16:

Tight aroma with white flowers, jasmine & spice. A really well balanced aromatic profile showing pure varietal characters. Generous delivery of intense fruit on the palate, especially up front. Spice, lime and a higher punch of tropical fruit then expected. Balance on the palate is notable and the finish leaves you salivating. Very stylish wine however it does look a little commercial in style, ie. quite polished. 

92 points

2012 Leo Buring Clare Valley Riesling


Wine 17:

Lean aromatics in the floral spectrum but masked by a touch of VA. Palate shows concentration and sweetness. The wine appears up and down with a broadness through the mid palate redeemed by the excellent length & finish. 

88 points

2012 Pikes 'Olga Emie' Clare Valley Riesling


Wine 18:

Sweaty, tropical, reduced and sulphurous with a diminishing varietal expression from the front of on the palate. 

82 points

2012 Chalkboard Series Franklin River Riesling

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