Acid Haus by United Cellars Australian Design Centre Sydney, AUS February 16, 2017
The wines the sturdy, late-ripening white grape Riesling, at times referred to as the “king of grapes” and one of the most aromatic wine varieties in the world, are based on, is very high in acid often not seldomly likened to fruit juice, with primary fruit aromas being nectarine, apricot, honey-crisp apple and pear, as well as interesting nuances ranging from honeycomb to chemical aromas, e.g. rubber and diesel fuel.
It is these complex, acidic flavours and the intoxicating effect the consumption can have, that inspired United Cellars to host a celebratory tribute to the psychedelic qualities of their favourite Rieslings:
Acid Haus, a smart pun on the genre-defining label with a nod to the inofficial homeland of Riesling, Germany.
Established in 2004, United Cellars has moved beyond the traditional wine club, bypassing the middlemen, to work directly with leading wineries across Australia and around the world to arrange educational tasting events and wine experiences on a regular basis, which serve as a casual forum for attendants to tap into the knowledge of sommeliers and United Cellar’s bespoke wine advisory service called "Cellar Angels".
With the Australian Design Centre serving as the launch pad, which is dedicated to embracing the highest degree of craftsmanship and the committed to advance contemporary design practices, United Cellars took us on a voyage to taste local Australian, varieties of New Zealand via Austria and the steep slopes of Germany’s Rhine and Mosel.
Riesling also performs well in neighboring Austria and Alsace. In Alsace, contemporary producers are building richer, fuller style wines through later harvesting, longer fermentations and extended time on lees. Textured examples were the Domaine Barmès Buecher Riesling Hengst Grand Cru, of which the complex 2007 and 2010 varieties were available mastering the tightrope walk between a smidgeon of residual sweetness and electric acidity, finishing dry. Delish.
Interestingly, there is more Riesling planted in Australia than in France. Much of it was cultivated by Silesian settlers to South Australia. These Rieslings retain acidity due to cool night-time temperatures, while exhibiting aromas of mainly lime and citrus marmalade; with age and the nights favourite and recommendation from your humble narrator was Brackenwood – Adelaide Hills, SA (bio dynamic), with its Riesling 2015 and Riesling Botrytis 2014 varieties, textural and mouthfilling wines with a lovely cushioning of fruits.
The schist soils of Central Otago convinced with Lake Wanaka’s bio dynamic Riesling Jeunesse 2015 and Riesling Mature Vines 2013 varieties, which provided a smooth, lip smacking acidic transition to the top examples for Germanic Rieslings, a category in which Dr. Loosen’s WS Kabinett 2015 with its steeling crunchy acidity and the more affordable, aromatic 2014 Wittmann Hugel 100 with its floral top notes and hint of ripe tropical fruits managed to convince.
The evening which had a total of 40 Rieslings on offer was accompanied by freshly shucked oysters from the Ralston brothers, cheeses from Simon Johnson and a soundtrack that was much more agreeable than the emissions of the Acid House movement of the late 1980s.
Photos by KAVV