THE tiny village of Watervale in South Australia's Clare Valley – population just 246 – has an enviable reputation for producing some of Australia's finest Rieslings, so when a maker lays claim to a particular vintage having produced possibly his best Rieslings in a decade, he must be talking about some very, very good wines.
Jim Barry Wines' Chief Winemaker, Peter Barry made just such a claim recently about his 2013 Watervale label Riesling, and while we can't say we've tried every one of his past ten vintages, we can certainly agree that the 2013 is an absolutely fantastic drop.
A traditionally Clare style with crisp natural acidity and a very dry finish, it's the product of conditions that saw warm and then cool spells that allowed for excellent flavour ripening and good natural acidity. And with a wonderfully full palate highlighted with excellent lime, grapefruit and citrus, fruit sweetness and a natural acid backbone, this is just the drop to match-up with a nice lobster salad.
The more so when you find its just $19 a bottle.
ONE TO NOTE: ANOTHER gem from South Australia we had the opportunity to taste recently was a 2012 Merlot from the small St Mary's Wines, owned by the Mulligan family who've lived in the Penola/Coonawarra area for over 100 years.
The Mulligans planted their St Mary's Vineyard 16km out of Penola in 1937, and while it's on internationally-famed Coonawarra terra rossa soil over limestone, most parts of it are stony – and some virtually pure rock – with the result the vines produce relatively small tonnages of fruit compared with local district averages.
But that fruit's wonderfully full-flavoured, the Merlot resulting in the 2012 being a wine with soft, ripe red cherry flavours, elegant spice and soft tannins, coupled with pleasant oak from its time in French barrels. Excellent value at $30 to enjoy with tomato-influenced Italian dishes; if you can't find it at your local liquor outlet, go onto www.stmaryswines.com for the name of your nearest distributor.
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 AN excellent drop to enjoy with lobster salad – and it's just $19.
 TOMATO-influenced Italian dishes make an ideal match with this one.