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Day 13 of Clare Valley Vintage - Riesling on the agenda

Published:  23 July, 2008

G'day Folks. It's right about now during vintage that I start to realise just how much of my life is being taken over by grapes.

My shoes are fermenting, I've exhausted all clean clothing options and I can't remember the last time I read a newspaper. Providing the road from Watervale to Clare suffers no form of consternation, I'm clearly oblivious to what is happening in the world. I'm hoping you're all still out there.

Currently my life is based around glucose, fructose, caffeine and alcohol. Whilst I'm sure if you looked hard enough you could find the 5 major food groups, no doubt an "expert" would have a field day. At least I'm a non-smoker. As it is in all the complex vintage chemistry - even the vices find their own equilibrium. Put it down to osmosis I suppose.

It seems that ironically, whilst my body is enjoying a totally unreal form of daily existence, my precious tanks of juice and wine are being kept on a very strict diet of realness.

Let me explain. Deep down I'm a hippie chick that likes to let the natural course of action flow and so from grape to glass my philosophy is to draw upon our natural surrounds to maximize our quality. I'm not into tits and botox - or at least fining, added tannin or extract.

With a focus on natural farming principles, when it comes to turning our hard work from the vineyard into stunning wines, I like to keep it simple and let the terroir do the talking. I believe it was Oscar Wilde that wrote "In matters of grave importance - style is the vital thing." It's our regionally distinct Australian wines that show character and personality that take us to a new level of discovery. They're wines that show the smile lines on their faces, those that can tell stories and are intrinsically proud of where in the world they come from. They're wines that are happy to have some flaws because at the end of the day it makes them far more interesting and drinkable. They're wines that are the life of the party.

After reviewing all of my Riesling juices today for KT and The Falcon from the same Peglidis vineyard in sunny Watervale, I'm so excited that my babies are already showing distinctive personalities.

KT1 is richer and fuller and almost exotic in its perfume. It's sourced from the Southern end of the vineyard which sits on the sandy free draining soil from the block and tends to ripen earlier than the others. At 12.8 Be' it's the perfect choice for the naturally fermented more Alsatian style of Riesling I produce.

KT2 is showing more lemon balm and citrus punch and is screaming at me out of the glass with its obvious flavour. From the Northern most point of the vineyard it is planted on the hungrier more slatey soil and we generally have to fight the bordering thirsty eucalyptus trees for whatever we can get.

Finally there's KT3 which is from the middle of the vineyard and is planted on some beautifully rich red loam over limestone which looks good enough to eat. With its fine water holding capacity, the limestone helps to maintain the leaf coverage and protect the delicate bunches and reduce the harder phenolics. This juice is kind of like the introvert sitting in the corner. Spicy and delicate and layered with character, it's tightly wound and utterly captivating. The fact that I need to work harder to see it means that I know it's worth it.

Stylish or not Mr Wilde. I think that's pretty cool.

Kerri Thompson is winemaker/director of KT & The Falcon