Baby, it’s Cold Outside?

By Fergal Gleeson
Wolf Blass White Label, Eden Valley Riesling 2001

When it is 17 degrees, a Sydneysider will say it’s really cold!!

When it’s 15 degrees they’ll say it’s freezing!!

When it’s 13 degrees they won’t want to leave the house. If it’s essential they’ll reach for ski wear. They’ll put on scarves and gloves. There’ll be a half an hour of preparation and psyching up before opening the front door.

There’s an expectation that there might be a polar bear outside. Or penguins frolicking in the swimming pool. There’ll be Eskimos at the bus stop and glaciers on the hahbah.

Despite all the precautions Winter is a half-hearted affair in Sydney. If Vivaldi had lived on the Northern Beaches he wouldn’t have written the “Four Seasons”, he’d have written just one longer piece and left it at that. The season does rouse itself to produce a little coldness and darkness but we are basically blessed with an endless summer.

For all the theatre of coldness and hankering after roaring open fires you don’t need hot ports and whiskies at this time of year – a cool, clean Riesling will do just fine. I drank the recently released Wolf Blass White Label Eden Valley Riesling 2001 at the weekend. This isn’t some impossible to source wine – it’s available in Vintage Cellars.

At 15 years of age it was the oldest wine I’d tasted but it still has years left in it. The colour has turned deep gold but the taste was refreshing and not a bit tired, like some indestructible ultra-marathon runner. It still has that firm acid line characteristic of Riesling but not as prominent as young buck Rieslings.

Riesling features regularly in this column eg. Dr Loosen , Wittmann , and O’Leary Walker because it is such an elegant drink. If you need more reassurance this wine has won two IWSC trophies for best Riesling and best single vineyard white wine in the world.

So don’t dream of port in cold climes this Sydney Winter. Spending months of the year in the wet, chill and dark is not what dreams are made of. Have a glass of refreshing aged Riesling and toast your good fortune.

Rating: 4/5. Price: c$35. For more Wine Reviews read and follow  Drink and be merry!

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