Framingham 2017 Sweet Riesling Wines

12-Dec-2017

The Framingham Winery is recognised as arguably the best producer of the Riesling variety in the country. This is based on winemaker Dr Andrew Hedley’s obsession with the grape, and his stupendously high quality and fascinating releases based on covering the full range of pradikat levels as employed in grading German wine richness and sweetness. The first release of the full range, from Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese was with the 2011 vintage, with a number of equally stunning releases since. While there are other makers of outstanding Riesling, and some with a longer pedigree, no other maker makes such striking Rieslings of different styles with such quality and consistency. This includes the dry, wild yeast and lees and skin-influenced ‘F-Series’ ‘Old Vine’ Riesling.

Andrew attributes much of the quality and consistency of his Rieslings to the resource of 10.5 ha of mature vines over 35 y.o. And then there’s over 16 years of working specifically with botrytised Riesling fruit that must account for much in the resulting wines. Andrew matter-of-factly says that making such wines is not difficult. It’s all about the balance of fruitiness, alcohol, acidity and phenolics, and only the use of clean noble-botrytised grapes. He surmises that capable winemakers don’t make these wines, as there is a very limited market for them.

2017 was a challenging vintage in Marlborough, and for that matter, most of New Zealand, due to high amounts of rain during the growing season and at harvest. This meant a high risk of disease, and susceptibility to botrytis from soft grapes, a result of low cropping, according to Framingham. A crucial factor was not to pick early, and to allow full ripeness, achieving this enabling the making of the more serious and sophisticated styles of Riesling wine. And also how to select only noble botrytised fruit, this coming from the accumulated experience over time in making these wines. From 2017, there are 9 Riesling wines were made, all but one incorporating various degrees of botrytis infection. Here I review the 7 sweet Rieslings from 2017 bottled to date. They are presented in order of increasing residual sugar. www.framingham.co.nz


FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW

  • Framingham ‘F-Series’ Marlborough Riesling Kabinett 2017
  • Framingham Marlborough ‘Select’ Riesling 2017
  • Framingham ‘F-Series’ Marlborough Riesling Spatlese ‘Gold Capsule’ 2017
  • Framingham ‘F-Series’ Marlborough Riesling Auslese 2017
  • Framingham Marlborough Noble Riesling 2017
  • Framingham ‘F-Series’ Marlborough Riesling Beerenauslese 2017
  • Framingham ‘F-Series’ Marlborough Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 2017

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