Beautiful, developing toasty aromas and refined lime fruit character, boosted by touches of smoke, quince and saffron. Savoury, mineral and fresh, it shows off stupendously tasty maturity, with a superb, layered and textured palate, citrus acidity and a long, long finish. Just starting to open up, this is everything that is wonderful about Clare Riesling (12%).
After a three-way taste-off involving a trio of great Riesling origins – the Clare Valley, an Alsace grand cru and a German grosses gewächs – the New World emerged triumphant. The judges adored Leasingham’s combination of great freshness and minerality with an appealing roundness, which they said was ‘hard to fault’.
‘New World’ is an approximate term at best at this estate, as it so often is. Leasingham was established in 1893 and began planting Riesling in the Clare Valley shortly after World War II – a brave and unconventional decision at the time, and one in which few others showed any interest. Previously, you’d have been more likely to find Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Mataro (Mourvedre) growing in the area.
Fast-forward 65 years and the Clare is firmly established as one of the world’s finest areas to grow Riesling, and Leasingham’s Bin 7 is on its 45th vintage. Meanwhile, the Classic Clare range was created to mark the Leasingham centenary in 1993, and this current release has already won a handful of trophies and gold medals.
The fruit tends to come from one particular parcel of vines, roughly one hectare in area and growing on red loam over slate. That slate – which makes the site unique – accounts for the expression of clean acidity on the palate. As it matures, the palate mellows and develops deeper and more complex buttered toast flavours.
Louis Sipp, Riesling, Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé, Alsace, France 2013 • Von Winning, Forster Ungeheuer, Grosses Gewächs, Pfalz, Germany 2013.