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July 29, 2005

01 Tower Estate, Clare Valley Riesling

My friend Luke put it best when he called this wine "confounding." It is a puzzle that pieces together nearly every flavor riesling can have--apricots, lemon rind, Mandarin oranges, salty petrol, fresh pineapple, quince, and peppery herbs. The aroma, too, is unusually complex for Australia, with mouth-watering minerality that points to Austria or Alsace. Then, in an instant, it becomes an alcoholic pina colada. While the wine stays fresh in the bottle, it dies within 15 minutes in the glass--sacrificing all of its appeal to degenerate flavors of pineapple concentrate, lemonade, and British tap water. This wine is a case for terroir--the imbument of a wine with the qualities of its soil--because terroir won't fade if you swirl a wine too much. Once this Tower's generous perfumes and seasonings wear off--it falls to something that is hardly even wine.


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