SOHO ‘Betty’ Riesling Spatlese 2017


The New Zealand wine industry has committed funding to research the development of low-alcohol wine, especially with respect to our most grown variety Sauvignon Blanc. The balance of sufficient fruit flavour, ripeness, acidity and residual sugar, along with phenolics has been the focus of work in the vineyards and in the winery. However, the Riesling variety has the natural ability to work well in the low-alcohol style, as demonstrated by the German wine industry for decades, and in New Zealand with the work of Dr John Forrest with his ‘Doctors’ Riesling. It is nearly incomprehensible that our industry has not strongly followed his lead, but then the image of sugary ‘sweet Riesling’ as in the past has had negative connotations for many wine drinkers. Rachael Carter of SOHO has been very positive in showing that low-alcohol Riesling has the balance, finesse and quality to make the style a very viable path to take. She introduced the lower alcohol ‘Betty’ Riesling with 9.4% alc. with the 2015 vintage to instant critical acclaim and gold medal winning status, followed by the 2016 vintage which followed suit. The wine is labelled ‘Spatlese’ as in the classical German category of quality wine. Here, I review the new release 2017 vintage. www.sohowineco.com


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