By Andrew Pike

freshly-harvested-riesling-grapes-polish-hill-river-estate-march-3-2016-300x225Crisp, dry Riesling wines are synonymous with the Clare Valley. Riesling has grown here for more than 150 years and forged an enviable reputation as an outstanding and resilient viticultural variety for the region.

The Clare Valley is blessed with the ideal Mediterranean climate, with the added feature of being 400-500m above sea level. Cool, dry nights during ripening are critical for retention of natural acid in the Riesling grapes. The region is also blessed with a myriad of distinct geographical sub-regions and within these, even more diversity in terms of the age of the vines, the row orientation, the soil type, aspect and rainfall…and of course in the individual skill and finesse of the large number of Riesling growers. All of this, when added to the wonderful array of specialist makers of Riesling from within (and outside the region), significantly enhances the Clare Valley’s reputation as the ‘main stage’ for Riesling production in Australia.

Here at Pikes, we have just finished harvesting our Riesling for 2016 and we’ve got say that it looks absolutely fantastic at this early stage. Fruit has been harvested in pristine condition; not over-ripe, disease and sunburn-free and producing beautiful translucent green Riesling juice, jumping out of the glass with lovely zesty, limey notes.

So now it’s over to the winemakers at Pikes to nurse the juice through fermentation, cold stabilisation and into the bottle, hopefully by around July or August this year. The 2016 vintage of Pikes Traditionale Riesling will be our 32nd consecutive release of this much-loved wine and it promises to be an absolute belter, so watch this space.