Firstly let’s clarify what’s meant by ‘off-dry’ because many think it’s winespeak for sweet. It’s not.
Wines with more than about 45g/l residual sugar are considered sweet. Coke has about 110g/l and Château d’Yquem usually has around 120-150g/l. At the extreme end is the free run juice of the botrytised berries for the rare Tokaji Eszencia (Essencia) in Hungary which is between 500-700g/l, sometimes even higher! Now that we have some context - the 2022 vintage of this wine has 12.8g/l sugar, so it really is ‘off-dry’ rather than sweet.
Even when there is residual sugar in wine it isn’t obvious if it’s well countered with acid. Getting the sugar/acid balance just right makes riesling sing and is something John obsesses over.
The fruit for the No. 5 comes from the same vineyard as the No.3 in the Clare Valley, although from a different block, with lighter soil (grey loam over limestone). It’s picked earlier than No.3, resulting in more acid. Then the ferment is stopped early, leaving residual sugar in the wine. John’s talent for finding the perfect balance is obvious here.
Don’t expect overt sweetness - the robust acid counterbalance gives a crisp, clean finish. So easy to enjoy - especially at only 9.5% alcohol. Yum - it pairs well with so many foods.
Buy the Rieslingfreak No.5 Clare Valley Off-Dry Riesling 2022 from Bottle & Glass Wine Merchants.
Rieslingfreak No.5 Clare Valley Off-Dry Riesling 2022 Review
"A year like 2022 with an abundance of natural acidity in the grapes, makes it a perfect vintage for exquisitely balanced Off Dry Rieslings; and John has declared that the 2022 No.5 is the best Rieslingfreak No.5 he’s ever made! The bouquet is richly imbued with aromas of Meyer lemon, orange blossom and sweet nectarine, while the lusciously flavoured palate abounds with freshly sliced grapefruit and spiced apple pie. The natural sweetness adds an unctuous richness to the mid-palate, while the driving natural acidity imparts linearity and length with a crisp, clean finish. A fabulous Off Dry Riesling to enjoy now, or put away for the future."
John Hughes on the Rieslingfreak No.5 Clare Valley Off-Dry Riesling 2022.
"Pale, almost colourless in the glass and the fruit is partially obscured on the nose by free sulfur dioxide. There's a trace of gardenia which appears more strongly in the mouth. Chalky mineral notes, too. The wine is a slightly off-dry style, delicate and refined, with mandarin/citrus flavours and loaded with potential. This is lovely; it needs more time and will richly reward a little patience."
94 points. Huon Hooke (The Real Review). A good score from him.