Matthew's World of Wine and Drink

About Matthew's World of Wine and Drink.

This blog began as a record of taking the WSET Diploma, during which I studied and explored wines and spirits made all around the world. Having passed the Diploma and become a WSET Certified Educator, the blog has become much more: a continual outlet for my passion for the culture of wine, spirits, and beer.

I aim to educate in an informal, enlightening, and engaging manner. As well as maintaining this blog to track my latest enthusiasms, I provide educational tastings for restaurants and for private groups. Details can be found on the website, and collaborations are welcome.

Wine is my primary interest and area of expertise and this blog aims to immerse the reader in the history of wine, to understand why wine tastes like it does, and to explore all the latest news. At the same time, beer and spirits will never be ignored. 

For the drinker, whether casual or professional, today is a good time to be alive.

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling 2016

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling 2016

Central Otago on New Zealand's South Island is a young region, the first wine being made in 1987. In just over thirty years, it has established itself as a premium region for world-class Pinot Noir - and 75% of the grapes planted there are of that variety. The climate is cool continental, with warm days and intense sunshine during the day turning into cold nights as soon as the sun sets. These are perfect conditions for Pinot Noir, the long growing season producing intense, structured wines.

But it's not all Pinot Noir. When I was in Central Otago last year, I visited Felton Road, probably the region's best producer. As well as Pinot Noir, they make superb, ageworthy Chardonnay and outstanding Riesling. Owner Nigel Greening argued passionately that Central Otago can produce Riesling as good as anywhere else, drawing a comparison with the Mosel's climate and soils. Like the Mosel, the Riesling is grown on steep, rocky, north-facing slopes covered in schist which receive the intense sunshine during the day and cool down during the night. The resulting wines are high in acidity, with a fruity body.

Felton Road's Riesling is made in a Mosel style. It has 63g/L of residual sugar, but the high acidity balances the sweetness - the wine is rich but far from sickly. It has a pretty, floral nose, with jasmine, honeysuckle, and chamomile, with ripe aromas of lemon, lime, peach, apricot, pineapple, and lychee. There's a stony, smoky, steeliness to the wine, indicating that the wine will develop further complexity with time.

Riesling is not an easy grape to work with, but Felton Road and a handful of other producers demonstrate that it has the potential to excel in Central Otago, just as Pinot Noir has done.

Price: $25

Vintage: 2016

Grape Variety: Riesling

Alcohol: 9.5%

Region: Central Otago, New Zealand

Rating: ✪✪✪✪✪

Drink: now-2025

Food pairing: spicy Asian food

Garage Wine Company Vigno 2014

Garage Wine Company Vigno 2014

Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria 2013

Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria 2013