Having gained a reputation for endorsing some of the wine world’s more eccentric creations, it comes almost as a surprise to see the latest Hot 100 Wines first prize go to a wine style with such established credentials. With its 2019 For Love Riesling made in the variety’s Australian heartland, the Clare Valley, Shut the Gate Wines’ have turned 13 into a lucky number.
Co-proprietor Richard Woods, who tells The Adelaide Review he was shocked by getting top spot in a competition he admires for its creativity, is also pleased on behalf of his region and the variety. “The Hot 100 historically has been, I guess, a little bent towards the funkier end of town, so it was nice to see the evergreen Clare rieslings come up,” Woods says.
in Clare is pretty friendly and pretty close, so if one of us gets a win up,
whether it’s Jim Barry or someone small like the Koerners, there’s always a
good feeling round the Valley.”
he is not a “natural” winemaker – he saw too many unstable wines in the 1970s
and 80s to turn his back on technology – Woods does believe in minimal
interference, especially when it comes to riesling.
lot of wines, like riesling, make themselves in the vineyard, and all we can do
is stuff it up,” Wood says. “I think of riesling as a mirror, so that the more you
touch it the more fingerprints it shows. When you’ve got great growing conditions
in places like Watervale and Polish Hill River, you should respect the fruit
and let it do its thing.
“The ’19 Watervale is a really good example of that. It was free run juice, no sitting on solids; there’s nothing tricky about it at all. It’s a clean, light, delicate riesling, and there are a few of those floating around Clare at the moment, so it’s not on its own.”