My Favourite…Niav McNamara

Niav McNamara, of Shiel’s Londis in Malahide writes about her favourite wine...

Time and time again, I keep returning to Clare Valley Riesling. From the most reasonably priced bottle to the upper echelons, there’s something for every pocket and taste. In February 2010 I visited the Clare Valley and the visit re-ignited my enthusiasm for some of the best Rieslings in the world.

The welcome in Clare was warm, the wines stunning and the memories of the visit will stay with me for a long time. The pride and dedication taken by the winemakers in their beloved Riesling was infectious and they made no apologies for being particular and exacting in their pursuit of perfection.

Young Clare Rieslings have delicious lemon and lime, tropical zingy freshness, while older Rieslings can develop fabulous notes of honeysuckle, kerosene, honey, orange blossom, lime syrup, buttery croissant…

Wakefield Clare Valley Riesling is a great favourite – classic Clare, lemon/lime with a zippy acid finish. The stunning St. Andrew’s Clare Riesling is also made by Wakefield and the current available award-winning vintage is 1998. It is rich, unctuous and deep with the acidity, kerosene notes, green apple and lemon/lime flavours in perfect unison.

An inspirational initiative reached fruition in 2000 when the Clare Riesling producers, led by the iconic Jeffrey Grosset bottled their premium Rieslings under screw cap. The rest of the world followed and hasn’t looked back. Clare winemakers wanted to preserve the purity, fruitiness, crispness and integrity of their precious nectar and I think they’ve succeeded. Clare Valley produces only 1.5% of Australian wine yet it produces 20% of Australia’s Riesling – those numbers speak for themselves.

Trends may come and go but it’s great to know what to reach for if you have only a small amount of cash or want to have a treat – Clare Riesling has something for you.

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