Rieslings part two: full of balance and zest

Welcome to part two of my riesling double-header, where we explore some of the sweeter styles, although calling them "sweet" overlooks the intensity of flavour and marvellous sugar-acid counterpoint that is at their core.

Last week I alluded to the uncertainty of placement of some of the wines as I tried to connect drier styles and sweeter styles in two tasting line-ups. I suspect this uncertainty is off-putting for some consumers, but you can approach this group expecting to see sweetness, but also with delightful balance and zest.


2023 Carrick Josephine Organic Bannockburn Riesling 

Price RRP $38 
Rating Excellent

Wisps of wild yeast, a 
line of apple and citrus, 
subtle but engaging. 
Bolder in the mouth, 
initially a little spritz 
perking up the supple 
acidity, a core of apple 
with honeyed richness, 
flowing nicely through 
the palate. Really kicks 
into gear with aeration, 
fleshing out on the palate 
adding spice nuances 
with increasing vibrancy 
all the while. Grows 
nicely in the glass. 



2022 Main Divide North Canterbury Riesling 

Price RRP $21.99 
Rating Very Good to Excellent

A sense of volume, 
musk, honey, apricot, 
a mushroomy umami 
quality. A spritzy 
prickle joins forces 
with the acidity to give 
nice lift. The palate 
more medium-weight, 
a little chewy grip with 
a bittersweet element 
providing contrast. 
With time, the honeyed 
sweetness gathers 
momentum tinged 
with orange zest. Feels 
in a delightful place to 
enjoy now. 



2022 Misha’s Vineyard Limelight Riesling  

Price RRP $34 
Rating Excellent to Outstanding

Beguiling perfume, 
florality, white flowers, 
musk, talc, apple, 
mandarin, each sniff a 
new adventure. Evident 
flavour intensity on the 
creamily textured palate, 
while an attractive 
apricot kernel bittersweet 
quality neatly balances 
the bush honey notes. 
Off-dry rather than 
sweet, just super 
balance and great 
complexity. Will likely 
improve further, but hard 
to resist now. 



2022 Pegasus Bay Aria Late Picked North Canterbury Riesling 

Price RRP $45 
Rating Outstanding 

Swoon worthy nose, 
wood smoke, gunflint, 
musky botrytis, bush 
honey, mandarin, layers 
of aroma. Silky, super 
rich entry, while there’s 
lusciousness in spades 
there’s superb balance 
with a core of acidity 
keeping it fresh. Intensity 
of flavour, dances in the 
mouth, complexity, a 
long, long finish, the 
acidity cutting through 
the honeyed sweetness. 
Simply delicious. 



2023 Riverby Estate Eliza Single Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 

Price RRP $27 
Rating Excellent to Outstanding 

Bold, fragrant nose, red 
apple, apple skin, fruit 
cordial, bright, fresh, 
lovely purity, yeast 
notes later. Nicely 
creamy on the palate, 
green apple joined by 
fruit sherbet, honeyed 
aspects and creaming 
soda remaining 
attractively racy, flowing 
to a richly off-dry close. 
Great flavour depth and 
while this is already 
drinking superbly, I 
suspect there’s potential 
here too. 



2023 Riverby Estate Sali’s Block Single Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 

Price RRP $24 
Rating Excellent 

Tasted blind, there seems 
some familial likeness to 
the previous wine. 
Fragrant with apple, fruit 
jube, white flowers and 
honey. Those characters 
continue on the palate, a 
little fruit cordial too while 
 chalky phenolic hints 
adds to the textural 
interest. The fruit 
sweetness builds but this 
remains just off-dry with 
a lovely tangy contrast to 
 close. Lots of flavour, 
nicely done.