Duke’s sets new ries­ling mark

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Wine - WINE with John Jens

JOHN Vick­ery’s Leo Bur­ing ries­lings were the great­est in this coun­try be­tween the 1950s and the 1970s.

Brian Croser’s Pe­taluma ries­lings then set the qual­ity stan­dard un­til Jeffery Gros­set led Aus­tralia to a more pure, longer and more international style in the 1990s.

Is the ba­ton about to be handed on once more? The ries­ling fruit from Duke Ran­son’s Mag­pie Hill vine­yard in the Great South­ern’s Porongu­rups is ex­tra­or­di­nary.

Duke and Hilde’s wines are made by Cas­tle Rock Win­ery’s Rob Diletti, who has an ex­tra­or­di­nary Best Ries­ling Tro­phy record at cap­i­tal city shows.

Rob also made three of 13 (13 per cent) of James Hal­l­i­day’s high­est­pointed Aus­tralian ries­lings in the Wine

Com­pan­ion 2017 Edi­tion, two of 17 (12.5 per cent) in the 2016 edi­tion and three of 15 (20 per cent) in the 2015 edi­tion.

It’s not only Rob’s wine­mak­ing though, it is also the out­stand­ing and dis­tinc­tive Great South­ern ries­ling fruit. It is unique, as it dis­plays quite dis­tinc­tive and more sub­tle fruit flavours and a more re­strained acid­ity and finer struc­ture than the Clare and Eden Val­ley’s long-famed ries­lings.

The area’s ries­ling qual­ity can be gauged by James Hal­l­i­day’s Aus­tralian Wine Com­pan­ion sum­maries as, in the 2017 edi­tion, with about 3 per cent of Aus­tralia’s ries­ling, the Great South­ern pro­vided 35 per cent of James’ 23 high­est-pointed ries­lings.

In 2016, this fig­ure was also 35 per cent of the high­est-ranked 17 and in 2015 this was 40 per cent of the high­est-ranked 15.

In 2014, the west gained an as­ton­ish­ing 58 per cent, or 15 out of 26.

So, given the re­gional ries­ling qual­ity and Rob Diletti’s wine­mak­ing abil­ity, how good is the Duke’s Mag­pie Hill Ries­ling vine­yard?

In Hal­l­i­day’s view, the 2013, 14 and 15 vin­tages re­ceived 97 points and the 2016 re­ceived 98 points.

Hal­l­i­day, Aus­tralia’s best known and most re­spected wine writer, uses the term “prodi­gious” to de­scribe the length of the 2016 re­lease.

Length of flavour is the key to qual­ity and, for Aus­tralian ries­ling, this wine has al­most un­matched length.

Truly out­stand­ing.

Hilde and ‘Duke’ Ran­son of Duke’s Vine­yard.

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