Your trip to Australia can be as pleasing and quick as pouring a glass of Jacob’s Creek 2005 Steingarten Riesling.
My first step on Australian soil was only an hour away from my Hoboken apartment. I traveled to New York City’s Upper East Side and was welcomed by John Olsen, the Australian consul general, in his official residence, which is legally recognized as Australian territory. No jet lag for me.
Joining us were Philip Laffer — corporate winemaker for Orlando Wyndham Group, the owner of Jacob’s Creek wines — and three of Australia’s talented young chefs.
We began our tasting of Steingarten Riesling with the 1990 and continued with the 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2006 vintages.
I was skeptical that any of the wines from the 1990s would be alive and well. After all, the general style of Australian white wines — and many reds — is make it and drink it. With the exception of the renowned Grange, and a few others, cellaring Australian wine is not what the genre is about.
My skepticism was quickly dispelled with the 1990 Steingarten Riesling’s citrus and lemon-thyme flavor; this fruit profile continued through the other wines in the tasting. Our market is currently stocked with the 2005 Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling. It has the slight greenish tint displayed in all the wines save the 1990 and the telltale citrus scent of Jacob Creek’s Steingarten Riesling.
Aficionados of Riesling will detect a slight petroleum-like aroma in the background, which, in the 30 plus years I’ve been in the wine world, no winemaker has ever been able to explain why this is found in some rieslings.
The 2005 Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling has a backbone of acidity that is going to allow it to age at least 15 years. It is pleasureful today, but those who cellar it will be rewarded with a much more complex wine during the next two decades.
Following our tasting, Australia’s high-profile chef Luke Mangan prepared a confit of Petuna Trout with pickled cucumber and ginger and a soy and lemongrass dressing to partner with the wine. Partnerships like this will last ages.
While the 2005 Steingarten Riesling will also be delightful with trout, you can enjoy it with all types of Asian foods, Maryland soft-shell crabs, oysters and a New Jersey clambake. The beauty of these wines makes me want to see more of Australia, but I doubt that Consul General Olsen can prevent that jet lag.
The 2005 Jacob Creek’s Steingarten Riesling retails for approximately $29.
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