Sunday 19 December is judgement day for a dozen of our top Riesling winemakers. They will be judging twelve different wines made from Riesling grapes harvested from the Mud House vineyards in Waipara that were given to each of them to make in a style they saw fit as the best interpretation of the grapes.
The Riesling Challenge was devised by Mud House shareholder and director as a celebration of one of the great wine varieties and also as a new promotional event for the variety that is notoriously difficult to sell, despite its status. On a personal level, the winemakers involved were very keen to show their skills, there being a degree of competitiveness quickly emerging. Each of the winemakers have had critical success with the Riesling variety.
In April 2010, four tonnes of Riesling were harvested and delivered to each of the twelve winemakers. They were permitted to vinify the fruit in any way they liked, to make the very best wine, to be pitted against the wines of the other winemakers. The only constraints were to follow export certification rules, which allow no less than 85% of the grapes to be part of the finished wine, thus enabling differences and extra complexities to be built into them. The winemakers were responsible from then to complete and bottle their wines, producing at least 250 cases.
The twelve winemakers are:
The judging of the wines will be conducted under the chairmanship of Bob Campbell MW, and the winner announced at the ‘In Praise of Riesling’ event on 31 January 2011. The winner will receive the inaugural New Zealand Riesling Challenge Trophy.
Case lots of the twelve Riesling Challenge wines will be available for purchase. Each wine will bear the signature of the winemaker, and the labels will show the sweetness level on the International Riesling Foundation scale. For more information or if you wish to purchase the wines, go to www.rieslingchallenge.co.nz