with Richard Slater & Grant Foulkes


    2022 Pikes ‘the Merle’ Riesling 11.5%, Clare Valley, South Australia, RRP $55

    Australian Riesling is bargain-priced, food-friendly, and ages gracefully. My regular buys include Pewsey Vale, Jim Barry Watervale, and Pikes ‘traditionelle’ – but when funds allow, Crawford River, Granite Hills, Seppelt Drumborg (and others) are on my wish list.

    Riesling doesn’t need oak, or winemaker manipulative tricks. Livingstone-Learmonth used the acronym STGT (soil to glass transfer) when the wine truly reflects its place/terroir with purity of flavour. Merle is the top-end reserve Riesling wine from Pikes. With superb fruit selection, from a terrific season, under screwcap, drink this wine confidently any time over the next twenty years. Its price is

    deserved. The wine is super pale; lime leads, but there is a dash of passionfruit (my partner claims tropical notes too), then the palate absolutely delivers thrills with talc, crunchiness and a winning sublime, silky, mineral-tinged texture. Excellent!

    Now? Dismiss anaemic Pinot Gris/grigio and one-note Sauvignon Blanc- support Riesling! A food match is easy – oysters!

    But most fish dishes will work – it’s smoked trout for me tonight; but a chicken stir-fry or roast, or pork chops will please with ease.


    Chain of Ponds ‘Unchained’ 2021 Gruner Veltliner. Adelaide Hills RRP $28, ABV 12%

    I’m a sucker for a funky label and a unique shaped bottle. I must admit, I often do ‘drink with my eyes’ and in this instance, the well

    Gruner Veltliner ought to be far more popular with Australian white drinkers. It’s approachable, fruit forward yet dry, always

    food friendly thanks to its savoury edge and has a unique yet identifiable flavour profile. Gruner is indigenous to Austria but if you want your wine a little more local, get it from the presented bottle was just the beginning. Adelaide Hills as the climate and soils favour this varietal white favourite of mine. Chain of Ponds has etched its name into the Australian wine-scape and you can purchase all their wines (at any price point) with a huge amount of confidence. The 2021 Gruner showcases an array of aromatics from lime zest to white stone fruits, fresh garden herbs and that classic white pepper. Over the palate, the body is medium, the texture is oily and the flavour turns to savoury celery salt, green apple and a mealiness thanks to some clever extended lees contact. This is a wine for all occasions and if you can get your mitts on a bottle or 3, notice the shift in flavour and texture as the wine warms to room temperature as you sip the afternoon away.

    Pair with: A salad of roquette, charred pear, balsamic glaze, shaved parmesan, pine nuts and lashings of thinly sliced prosciutto.


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