Crawford River 2019 Riesling Release

The 2019’s are without question some of the best new release wines I’ve tried from the winery. SEBASTIAN CROWTHER, Master Sommelier

Pound for pound one of the greatest wines in Australia, by my reckoning, value and quality. Again, great wine here. MIKE BENNIE

considered by many to be Australia’s best riesling producer CAMPBELL MATTINSON

Crawford River wines always bring a smile to me dial. Such a good producer, unnervingly consistent, unique site and reflection in the wines, and geez, the quality ain’t hard to miss. MIKE BENNIE

There’s a deep sense of Aussie country sensibility about the Thomson family who established the Crawford River vineyard and winery 40 years ago in 1975. It’s a unique Australian brand of pragmatism, humility and almost never stated confidence. NICK STOCK

Once a tiny outpost in a little-known wine region, Crawford River is now a foremost producer of Riesling JAMES HALLIDAY

I just sat down to write this offer and I find myself smiling as a type away, perhaps prepare for some hyperbole here, I absolutely love these wines.

What is Australia’s greatest contribution to white wine? Riesling! I mean, seriously, it has to be Riesling! Now I understand an argument could be made (and I would make it at times) that Semillon from the Hunter would be up there and, increasingly, so are our Chardonnays, but they haven’t toppled Riesling from the throne yet. I am reasonably confident most people would agree with that?

If Riesling is our Great White Hope, then who is the best producer in the land? Now we starting getting in to contentious territory. I mean, can we even settle on what the best area for the variety is? No, I don’t think we can and that is a large part of why Riesling is so good here, it has found several places to thrive and where it exhibits very different characters in the bottle. The sponge of place, time, season, Riesling. There are brilliant examples in South Australia, Western Australia and increasingly Tasmania. Iconic producers with long track records and who regularly craft wines of exemplary quality. Producers whose names are well known to most Australian wine drinkers. Producers many would proffer as the answer to my question and would have good cause to do so.

With all that being said, it’s Crawford River. I am wiling to fight my corner here. Consistently over my time in the wine industry Crawford River has produced either my top example of the variety in any given year or one of the top. It rarely, if ever, isn’t in my top handful of Rieslings from a vintage. Crawford River Riesling is one of our great wine treasures and should be celebrated by everyone who likes Riesling, which should be everyone.

Stylistically it differs enormously from the great examples of Clare and Eden. Often Crawford has a different fruit profile, holding true to the citrus aspects but also leans a little in to the pomme and stone fruit characters. Rather than being all acid, drive and line there is a tactile sense of something pithy, occasionally waxy, to their wines, that waxy feel builds with time in the bottle. There is no tricks to the winemaking (that I know of) it is simply a reflection of site, something Riesling does with such joyous clarity.

The 2019s are no different and no reason to alter my opinion of the estate or their wines. The young vines (20 years old now, not sure that qualifies as young anymore) is just so delicious and primary. It’s delicious right now with its youthful exuberance and buoyancy, but its not all show and no staying power. I wouldn’t hesitate to put this asleep for a decade or more.

The big girl has more volume to the fruit, but it’s impeccably well balanced and delivers an overall sense of harmony. The fruit seems to pulsate as it runs the length of the palate with a pithy tactile element and quite but crackling sense of energy. Graceful and poised in its delivery rather than tight and focused. While it is thoroughly engaging now I would love to see this reach it’s 20th birthday, or at least its 10th, to really see all that promise unfurl.

While Crawford River Rieslings are undoubtedly more enjoyable to drink in their youth than most of their South Australian cousins they are also built for the long haul. A properly aged bottle of these wines can be one of the most thrilling things to drink made in this big brown land. I suggest buying up some of both, opening one soon for a look, then putting the rest away for as long as you are able to keep your hands off them once you have tasted just how good they are. I would love cases of these in my cellar.