Get your Rieslingfreak on
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 in News
Riesling's rising star in Australia is without a doubt Rieslingfreak, otherwise know as John Hughes.
Owner and winemaker of the Clare Valley based brand, John Hughes is the man behind one of those overnight success stories that take a lifetime to realise. Rieslingfreak's moment is now and John is grabbing it with both hands.
Last year, John Hughes was a Young Gun of Wine finalist and won the Winemakers' Choice Award. At a time where young, cutting-edge Australian winemakers are making waves, John Hughes stood out and was voted for by his peers.
At the Royal Sydney Wine Show 2017 Rieslingfreak swept the awards with one, two, three, four, five trophies including Best in Show, the first time a Riesling has taken the gong since 2003.
If you want to understand winemaker John Hughes' philosophy when it comes to winemaking and Rieslsing, the clue is in the Rieslingfreak name.
John is totally obsessed with all things Riesling. Exploring the variety and showcasing how its flexibility as a wine grape can capture the characteristics of terroir and convey the choices, craft and personality of the winemaker.
Getting to know Rieslingfreak beyond the brand name is a numbers game. Each bottle is numbered to indicate a region and style. The No. 3 Clare Valley Riesling 2017 was the Royal Sydney Wine Show hero with five trophies while the No. 10 is the Zenit, a 'super Riesling' crafted by John for his wedding day.
The No. 8 Riesling is a wine made in a more Germanic Kabinett style – higher acid, higher sugar and lower alcohol. This traditional Schatzkammer style is a classic closer to the Rhine Valley but it's in Australia where it is finding a new home. It's lower alcohol suits long lunches in the heat and the higher sweetness and acidity make the No. 8 the ideal wine for Asian cuisine. Think fresh mint and chili dishes!
It has been an incredible few years for John Hughes and his Rieslingfreak project. And seemingly he's the right winemaker in the right place at the right time. 2017 is widely regarded as one of the great Riesling vintages in living memory. Speaking to Langton's, John confirmed his unapologetically confidently declaration about the vintage in no uncertain terms, "2017 is the best Riesling vintage I've ever seen." And five trophies in Sydney backs that up. More specifically the vintage was wet with a longer growing period, perfect for growing Riesling according to John."We had three or four extra weeks on the vines for the grapes to really develop. In my experience, the bigger the berries the better the Riesling."
Get your Rieslingfreak on and try John Hughes' awarded winning, much lauded wines with a portfolio six-pack of what could be your next wine obsession.