Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE - WORDS: TRAVIS SCHULTZ Travis Schultz is the prin­ci­pal of Travis Schultz Law but he has been moon­light­ing as a restau­rant re­viewer and wine writer for the last 15 years.

It is a well-known in­dus­try de­cep­tion that the al­co­hol con­tent of a wine as de­scribed on the bot­tle is largely un­der­stated. The Food Stan­dards Code in Aus­tralia al­lows a level of tol­er­ance, which gen­er­ally means that wines are la­belled as be­ing lower in al­co­hol than they are.

A re­cent study by the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia found that al­co­hol con­tent in most wines sold around the globe is, on av­er­age, about 0.42 per cent higher than what is stated on the la­bel of the bot­tle.

In Aus­tralia, wine­mak­ers are gen­er­ally un­der com­mer­cial pres­sure to make wines that are higher in al­co­hol to please the palate but lower in al­co­hol to sat­isfy the di­eti­cians and med­i­cal ad­vis­ers.

The con­sumer typ­i­cally tends to pre­fer a higher level of resid­ual sweet­ness in white wines as it makes them more ap­proach­able in their youth.

In red wines, sweeter fruit and higher al­co­hol sells well be­cause it gen­er­ally leads to a fuller and more rounded mouth feel, which is at­trac­tive to most wine con­sumers.

Af­ter all, the wine in­dus­try is a com­pet­i­tive one – par­tic­u­larly for the bou­tique and smaller pro­duc­ers.

So with the bias to­wards higher sugar and al­co­hol wines, it was par­tic­u­larly re­fresh­ing to re­dis­cover a stun­ning ex­am­ple of a Tas­ma­nian riesling that has a lus­cious and well-rounded mouth feel yet is la­belled at only 11 per cent al­co­hol by vol­ume.

It’s a wine that I must have liked when I found it a few years ago and bought an ex­tra case to tuck away in a back corner of the cel­lar – not that I can re­ally re­mem­ber.

Dur­ing a re­cent re­or­gan­i­sa­tion, I re­dis­cov­ered it, quickly wiped off the dust and de­cided it was time to open a bot­tle of the Press­ing Mat­ters 2012 R9 Riesling.

Press­ing Mat­ters has been rated as a five-star win­ery by James Hal­l­i­day and is lo­cated at Tea Tree in the Coal River Val­ley, an area that was first set­tled by the Bri­tish af­ter con­struc­tion of a bridge across the Coal River in 1823 and is now largely an agri­cul­tural and viti­cul­tural com­mu­nity.

The 2012 vin­tage is ob­vi­ously a wine that has had a few years to de­velop in the bot­tle but was in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful when first re­leased.

The R9 Press­ing Mat­ters not only won a tro­phy for best riesling in the Six Na­tions Wine Chal­lenge shortly af­ter its re­lease but it even won Best White Wine of Show.

I would prob­a­bly de­scribe it as a mosel style that still has trop­i­cal fruit char­ac­ters of guava, lime and grape­fruit on the nose and in its mid­dle age, mel­lowed char­ac­ters of pear and ap­ple across the palate.

When I re­viewed this wine five years ago, it was much lighter in the glass and still had a green­ish tinge to the fruit char­ac­ters thanks to its nat­u­ral acid­ity but now those same flavours are ev­i­dent yet more sub­dued, rounded and hon­eyed af­ter half a decade or so in a dark corner of the cel­lar.

What’s sur­pris­ing is there is such a depth and lus­cious­ness to the mouth feel as this tempt­ing riesling fon­dles and nuz­zles each taste bud as it strokes its way across the back palate.

It’s a dry style of riesling but, de­spite hav­ing only 9g of resid­ual sugar, is still he­do­nis­tic and op­u­lent yet sports only 11 per cent al­co­hol by vol­ume.

That con­trasts re­mark­ably with other con­sumer-cen­tric wines such as

Marl­bor­ough sauvi­gnon blanc, which typ­i­cally boasts 13 per cent or 13.5 per cent al­co­hol con­tent and has about 12g of resid­ual sugar, mak­ing it much sweeter but, in my view, of­ten sickly and flabby.

The Press­ing Mat­ters R9 is one of the best ries­lings I’ve tried in the last year and will be a per­fect lunch-time tip­ple with seafood or an av­o­cado salad.

The win­ery is con­ve­niently lo­cated half an hour out­side of the city so it will be one cel­lar door that is pre­loaded into my GPS next time I visit the Tas­ma­nian cap­i­tal.


Press­ing Mat­ters Riesling R9.

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