Thursday 5 March 2009



david ellis

YOU'd be hard-pressed – to excuse the pun – to find a Riesling at $20 that's better value than Koonowla's 2008 from South Australia's Clare Valley.

And interestingly it came not from a perfect vintage, but one hammered by heat and drought until a welcome last-minute drop in temperature just as the fruit had reached its optimum varietal character, and just-right for harvesting.

Koonowla's owners, Andrew and Booie Michael bought the former grain and wool farm in 1991 and planted it to grapes – as it had been from the 1890s until fire wiped out the property in 1926.

Seeking to get the best regional and varietal characters from their vineyard, the Michael's engaged respected winemakers David O'Leary and Nick Walker to weave their magic, and the 2008 has rewarded them well in this regard.

This is a Riesling up there with the classics, loaded with zesty citrus flavours and an acid finish, and an eruption of beautiful floral, lime and spice aromas when you give it a swirl in the glass.

At $20 don't look past it to make a sensation of an Autumn lunch of pan-fried flounder and salad, or with some crabmeat patties hot off the barbecue plate.

ONE FOR LUNCH: Sydney-siders, or visitors to the Harbour City this month, should shout themselves lunch or dinner at any of fifty or so of the city's top restaurants that are featuring menus designed to celebrate NSW Wine Week.

Chefs at these establishments have created menus with dishes specifically designed to match wines from the State's fourteen wine regions; the "Dine With NSW Wine" menus offer a lunch or dinner throughout March for under $50 per person, with a glass of premium NSW red or white included. For details of participating restaurants go to




[] CLASSIC Riesling from an imperfect vintage

[] CELEBRATING the joys of NSW Wine Week

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