Palliser Estate Noble Riesling 2016

Sweet wine is one of the more difficult styles to make successfully. The number of variables and their balance must be considered carefully. Proper fruit ripeness, as in all wine styles, is crucial, and when botrytis is involved, there are more constraints and parameters. Noble rot, rather than ignoble rot is necessary, where the berry skins have not degraded to allow spoiling microorganism infection, and the skins retaining integrity to allow positive dehydration and the retention of the enriching and complex botrytis elements that are produced. Stylistically, some varietal expression is ideal, and the Riesling variety can show alongside the botrytis better than other varieties. The balance of sugar and acidity are other factors that come into play, and the resultant wine must have sufficient freshness and vitality to ensure the wine is not flabby or cloying. Here, I review the 2016 Palliser Estate Noble Riesling, made by Allan Johnson, who is very aware of the intricacies involved in making fine sweet wine. For him, the vintage conditions must be suitable. Previously he has made a Noble Riesling in 2008 and before that in 1999, as well as some Noble Chardonnays in the same period. This is a particularly decadent bottling.


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