Crawford River Riesling 2023


Very light, bright yellow colour with a haunting fresh fragrance of lemon-peel, lime juice and high-toned estery floral notes. The wine is tremendously intense and rich in the mouth, lifted in the core by a tickle of sweetness which niftily counteracts the quite high acidity. There is a firmness that stops just short of austerity. Long, long carry. This is seriously impressive young Riesling, brilliant now but promising much for the future. 97 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review)


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Producer Profile

Founded all the way back in 1975 by John Thomson, whose daughters Belinda and Fiona have now taken the reins, Crawford River is in Australia’s coolest GI, so site selection is imperative. It is no simple task to ripen grapes in these climes. The growing season is long, but the proximity of the Great Southern Ocean moderates the potential of extreme weather and unusually warms what would otherwise be too cold a climate.

The estate is not certified organic, too much bureaucracy, but the vineyard is grown without any synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or fungicides. The vineyards are all picked and tended by hand. Composting is organic and the farm’s sheep help keep down the weeds, their hooves aerate the soil and their waste fertilises it too. Yields are moderate. Yields that are too low for Cabernet and Riesling produce wines that are too concentrated and inelegant. When you drink any bottle of Crawford River you cannot help but notice the poise, balance and coolness.

The winemaking is simple and classic. Whites are fermented and aged in tank, with a combination of whole bunch and crushed fruit, depending on vintage. Reds are all destemmed, cold soaked for a week and fermented in open top fermenters. Absolutely no plunging occurs until after fermentation as the extraction is easier to control and the fruits freshness is better retained. Ageing occurs in French oak, for 24 months, depending on vintage.

Riesling is what’s forged Crawford River’s reputation and they are certainly incomparable. Immensely powerful, and in the best of vintages full of dry extract and heft. They have piercing acidities to make the mouth water, but there is volume of fruit, pillowing the structure. The Cabernet based wines are supremely elegant and fragrant, with a combination of freshness and power that is reminiscent of St Julien. In the Australian landscape they are quite singular. Medium bodied, with supple textures and long fine tannins.

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