A South Australia Riesling

Can you believe a 95 for only $20?

Lodge Hill Vineyard

Lodge Hill Vineyard

It was only after I finished this bottle (hint, to the last drop) that I read its 2012 vintage was named as the best wine in Australia at Dan Murphyís National Wine Show in Canberra. I wonder. I canít forget that Australia makes some mighty fine wines, some of which can compete with virtually anything in the world. Jim Barry was an internationally known wine maker, established in South Australiaís Clare Valley in 1959. The winery boasts 4 vineyards in the Valley. Lodge Hill has brown loam soil over a layer of clay and slate bedrock that is an unbelievable 900 million years old. What more can I say? The companion wine is a mixed Riesling and Vidal (check out the article for more information on that second grape) at half the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Dry Riesling 2011 12 % alcohol $20.

Letís start with the marketing materials. ďDescription : Gold Medal winner at the 2011 Royal Queensland Wine Show. A fabulous wine for grilled calamari or a shrimp with pesto pasta dish. Tasting Note : Bright, pale green, the wine has a complex bouquet of spice, citrus and apple, the perfectly balanced palate even more complex, with its flavor span anchored by citrus but extending into cool climate chardonnay notes of white peach and grapefruitÖ Drink until 2025. Score Ė 95. (James Halliday, at the Australian wine companion web site , Nov. 18, 2011).Ē And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was subtly sweet offering the taste of lime and white grapefruit. The initial meal centered on a dry commercial, garlicky barbecued chicken breast. In response the libation picked up. It had a burnt taste and was long. The accompanying pickle-laced potato salad lightened the contents of my glass, which became more acidic. The white grapefruit taste intensified. The other side dish was a Turkish salad (according to the label) that consisted of onions, tomato paste, red peppers, vegetable oil, garlic, and sugar. Now our Australian friend had peaches added to the mix. This blahish meal terminated with a square or two of Swiss bittersweet chocolate. The liquid was subtle, or perhaps just weak, but its acidity was good.

The second meal centered on a baked salmon filet that was marinated in agave and then coated with sesame seeds. In response whitey was very long and mouth filling with caramel without being very sweet. Steamed red and white quinoa increased the libationís sweetness and acidity . A mixed salad made the liquid sweet and sour. Delicious homemade (isnít it usually far beyond the store-bought stuff?) roasted eggplant in garlic and oil made the drink appley and slightly sweet. This meal finished with Ben and Jerryís Chunky Monkey Banana Ice Cream with Fudge Chunks and Walnuts (one of my favorites.) I got subtle acidity and some fruit. Letís be frank, I liked this ice cream and I liked this wine but I didnít like the combo.

The final mealís focus was an omelet perked up with red cayenne pepper, basil leaves, and sliced garlic. The rotted grapes gave me powerful citrus, especially lime and a tinge of sweetness. Japanese rice crackers, no Wasabi means virtually no taste, rendered the liquid harshly acidic with a taste of citrus. Zesty guacamole darkened the wine. Its acidity deepened and its harshness disappeared. The liquid responded to fresh strawberries with the taste of delicious wood. Dark chocolate made it smoky and oily.

Final verdict. I liked this wine. I liked it a lot and would definitely buy it again. But 95? Not a chance. And the best Australian wine of the year. Absolutely nac. Of course, I didnít taste the 2012. What a difference a year makes. Like I say, buy it. But donít buy it thinking itís the best Australian wine of the year. It isnít.

Access the companion wine A Canadian Riesling-Vidal Blend (Under $10)

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine French or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include    www.theworldwidewine.com    with a new weekly review of $10 wines and    http://www.wineinyourdiet.com devoted to the issues of wine, weight loss, and health.

Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com

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