My Riesling order finally arrived and, despite very wintery weather, I couldn’t resist opening one or two.
I’ve mentioned before that SA isn’t a prolific Riesling producer…we’re a hot country, what are you going to do? But Hartenberg have been producing Riesling since 1984, developing a little bit of a cult status since the very start.
At first sniff of the green tinged golden nectar, I was a little disappointed at the lack of petrol that I so love. But almost instantly the lime, apple, toast and flinty minerality had my mouth watering. And after some serious concentration, I’m convinced that the kerosene revealed itself. Spicy, floral (spring flowers) and fruity (citrus and tropical) there’s a barely perceptible touch of residual sugar that speaks to the 15% botrytised grapes, and adds to the full and rich mouthfeel. A very rewarding complex wine – I realise that this is a wine to purchase by the case load!
Fun fact: Did you know that SA has an imposter Riesling? Hunting down the few noble Rieslings available to us becomes a fun game of wading through the ‘Paarl Riesling’, Cape Riesling’, and straight up ‘Riesling’ labels that are actually a varietal of the Crouchon grape…nowhere near as exciting in aromas and flavours as the noble grape. It was thought to have arrived in South Africa mid 19th century, named incorrectly as a result of an identification error.