As a wine columnist, I love to recommend wines that most people haven’t heard about. I’m sort of like the shifty guy in a trench coat on the street corner hissing, “Hey buddy, try THIS!” I love to find something that is available but undiscovered, and to hear later that lots of people enjoyed it. But I also chafe when a terrific wine is not widely available for some reason or other.
So I’m frustrated at the Penfolds Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling 2010 ($20), which defies many preconceptions. First, Penfolds is known primarily for its red wines, most notably the Grange, Australia’s iconic shiraz. My column this week in The Washington Post will be about a recent recorking clinic conducted here by Peter Gago, Penfolds’ charismatic chief winemaker.
Secondly, Australia isn’t really known for its Riesling, though I rather think it should be. Cool-climate areas such as the Eden Valley produce a number of excellent examples, in a dry but effusively ripe style. The Penfolds Bin 51 is searingly dry, with impressive acidity and peach/apricot fruit that will pair well with seafood. I would guess that it should age well, but it doesn’t need to as long as it is washing down some grub. And that’s why it is marketed primarily to restaurants, I guess. In D.C., it is only at a few steakhouses and hasn’t been picked up by retailers. That’s a shame, because this wine could set many a dinner party off on the right note. Note to Penfolds: Please send more!