This year's winner of the Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Riesling Under £15 went to Little Beauty, Dry Riesling, Marlborough 2010, New Zealand.
Little Beauty, Dry Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand 2010 (12.5%)
Expressive, sherbet-bomb character showing Riesling typicity with vivid pear, lime and kerosene aromas. Pithy citrus fruit palate with lime blossom, freshness, yellow stone fruit and a steely, bone-dry finish. Plenty of ageability. UK £15.50*; D&C, LAr, Vta
*This wine was judged in the Under £15 category, but the price has subsequently increased
due to duty costs
Tasted against: There were no other Regional Trophies in this category
Marlborough whites have triumphed in three International Trophy categories this year and while the success of the region’s Sauvignon Blanc is already well known, the quality of its Riesling is a better-kept secret. Little Beauty’s Dry Riesling is the latest in a series of New World wines to take home this International Trophy, following a victory from Australia in 2012’s Awards and Cono Sur of Chile in 2010 and 2009.
Little Beauty is co-owned and managed by British domiciled expat Kiwi Fleur McCree. She grew up in Marlborough where, together with her partner, she bought an old sheep farm on river terraces that have a fine sandy loam topsoil and gravels over alluvial gravels. The free-draining site is surrounded by a natural amphitheatre. They launched their first wines in 2008 and now produce Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.
They’ve battled frost and flood, but 2010 was an extraordinarily good vintage virtually throughout the country and especially in Marlborough. Ideal ripening conditions meant that the grapes could be harvested without any pressure when they had reached optimal ripeness. Harvesting took place in the cool of the morning on 17 and 21 April.
Marlborough Riesling is seldom bone-dry, needing at least a little residual sweetness to balance its fresh acidity. Only 5.8g/l of residual sugar was retained after fermentation (up to 5g/l of residual sugar is regarded as technically dry), just enough to counterbalance the wine’s acidity and develop an exquisite tension between both. That tension, together with the accompanying minerality and delicious purity, is the wine’s X-factor, lifting it above its peers.
Bob Campbell MW
Written by Decanter