Vintage of purity & aromatics

The 2023 vintage was one where patience was the ultimate virtue, and spending time in the vineyard was critical to achieving quality Riesling.

After a decidedly typical winter that yielded average rainfall and temperatures across most of South Australia, the arrival of Spring brought record breaking rainfall of 236% above average in Clare and 227% above average in the Barossa, being the wettest spring on record for both regions. These wet conditions were paired with record breaking lows in temperature, with the maximum daily temperature being 3°C below the long-term average in both Clare and Eden Valley.

The cold, wet spring conditions led to significant delays in budburst and shoot growth, with early growth milestones occurring 5-6 weeks later than normal. Summer rainfall was low across the Clare and Eden Valleys, but thanks to the wet spring there was plenty of soil and supplemental water to keep the vines fresh and to support ripening.

Daytime and night-time temperatures were significantly cooler than average across both regions, with the entire season being remarkably mild and temperate. The cool summer temperatures extended into the early autumn and ensured a long, slow ripening season with remarkable acid retention in the grapes.

Rieslingfreak commenced harvest on 14th of March – 4 weeks later than the previous year – and exactly 12 months from the date of our final crush in 2022. The 2023 harvest began with a small parcel of grapes from the Polish Hill River Vineyard for our No.8 “Schatzkammer” Riesling. This was quickly followed by grapes from our White Hutt, Polish Hill River, Eden Valley and Flaxman Valley vineyards, completing our entire harvest in just 11 days. Our final crush was completed on the 24th of March with fruit from Ben Zander’s vineyard for No.12 Flaxman Valley Riesling.

While vintage has been one of lengthy delays and numerous challenges, we at Rieslingfreak are ecstatic with the entire range of 2023 Rieslings. While the after-effects of the 2021 hailstorm are still felt across Eden Valley with reduced crop loads due to physical damage to the developing buds, crop levels from Clare and Polish Hill River are above average, and the quality of the wines from all regions are looking truly exceptional. It is genuinely difficult to pick a favourite region – let alone a favourite wine – from the 2023 vintage thus far.

The hallmark of 2023 seems to be an abundance of intense aromatics, with all of our Rieslings bouncing out of the glass with powerful and complex bouquets. The opulent aromatics are matched with a rich spectrum of flavours and exceptional natural acidity that abounds across the board; all early hallmarks of a truly exceptional vintage for Rieslingfreak.


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