Perhaps this is heresy as I prepare for tonight's German Riesling and Cantonese Cuisine dinner in San Francisco. But I just have to recommend this dazzler of an Australian Riesling . . . I tried it last month and it's left a lasting impression on me. Better yet, it sells for only $8, and lower from discount retailers.
The 2001 Leasingham "Bin 7" Clare Valley Riesling (11.5% alcohol, imported by International Cellars, Chantilly, VA) first enchants you with a perfumey, nearly intoxicating, floral nose. Scents of lime blossom, jasmine, lemon zest, and poached pears overflow the glass. On the palate, it's zingier than expected (yes, even for riesling) with very crisp and mouthwatering acidity holding up lemon-lime and minerally flavors. In a more restrained style, the wine carries through gracefully to a persistent finish with a slight residual sugar that is well-buffered by the acids leaving the impression of dryness.
The other great thing is that this wine is stoppered with a Stelvin screwcap. The top Australian producers of Rieslings have pledged to use screwcaps on their BEST wines to change the image of this closure. No more bottles spoiled by cork taint and you don't need a cork screw to get at your wine. I also liked the ease of reclosing/reopening the bottle which I kept in the fridge and tasted two more times over the course of the week. While the captured bottle scents fell off over time, the wine continued to build on the palate growing more tropical in taste and improving each day. In particular, the finish filled out and grew longer. These bode well for improvement with cellaring for those who have the patience to wait 3 to 8 years.
$8 is a tremendous bargain for a wine with so much breed that can deliver pleasure now and will continue to improve with cellaring. 87 points