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Wine of the Week for week ending 27 October 2002
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Mount Riley Marlborough Riesling 2002
Marlborough, New Zealand

It was one of 'those' days at Mt Ruapehu (in the central North Island) this past weekend. Great spring skiing was just wishful thinking. Wind gusts of over 100kpm on the upper mountain and only the odd patch of snow on the lower mountain meant the skifields were closed. It was cold too - cold enough to chill the wine just by leaving it outside on the deck.

We were playing cards to pass away the afternoon before getting ready for the President's end of season party. After three rounds and the girls leading two games to one, I decided it must be time for refreshments. The bottle of Mount Riley Marlborough Riesling 2002, that I had grabbed as we had left home in the small hours of that morning, came in from the cold. I pondered over the fact that the biggest peak in the trio of pinnacles above Iwikau Village on Mt Ruapehu looked remarkably like the peak of Mt Riley in the Richmond Ranges down in Marlborough.

The wine was fitted with a screwcap and I showed off my twist-it bottle opening skills before pouring the wine. (Pity the President wasn't watching as later in the evening he tried to wreck a vegetable knife as he scraped the paint of a screwcapped wine of a different kind.)

I sipped on my wine and thought how tasty and refreshing it was and vocal approval came from all round. The score sheet doubled as a tasting note sheet for this crisp and well-balanced deliciously mouth-filling riesling with hints of flowers, a touch of talc and flavours of Granny Smith apples, lime and mandarin. It's full-bodied and slightly off dry with a slightly viscous texture like warm 'runny honey'.

This is definitely the best Mount Riley riesling I have tasted and it was a hit with everyone. A hit and a boost to the confidence of the other team especially, for they went on to win the best of 5 games. For me the wine was the winner on the day.

And it proved the point that riesling in the snow works!

It's 12% alcohol and should be available everywhere. Expect to pay around NZ$16.

Mount Riley Wines expects to open the shutters on their website soon, bookmark the site -

© Sue Courtney

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