2018 Crawford River Expression #1 Riesling
It’s great to see some for the second generation influence in a few of the Great Riesling Houses of Australia coming through, with Frankland Estate eking out Alter Weg and now Crawford River releasing this thoughtfully produced new release that likewise uses barrel fermentation and lees to enhance high quality riesling fruit. La Violetta is first gen, but Andrew Hoadley’s Das Sakrileg comes to mind here too. This wine saw its natural ferment out in barrel and then hung out there for two more years. To paraphrase, this is an intent to “constantly strive for high quality wines while extending some winemaking boundaries”. Indeed.
It’s kindred to Crawford River’s riesling staples in intensity, concentration and presence in the glass, but this is a whole new thing. A wild expression with quality writ large, but this isn’t for purists, let’s say, unless oxidative, nutty-savoury wines of Jura or lo-fi Burgundy comes to mind readily, as it shares kindred space with wines of that ilk, in some ways. While not wholly in an eccentric camp it’s just strikingly different to Crawford River’s detail and purity with riesling; there’s salted cashew, sourdough yeasty notes, toffee apple characters and of course the citrus, floral and apple that fills the DNA of the vineyard’s staple characters. Acidity is saline, coursing with energy and incredibly refreshing in this wine. Texture is taut, slightly gummy like wet chalk and excellent. Flavours are bold, as is the perfume. It’s lavish, it’s so very complex, so very interesting, so very good. Give it time in a decanter, don’t drink too cold. Drink 2021 - 2030.
Mike Bennie - The Wine Front (August 2021)