The grapes to produce the Riesling “Alea” Clare Valley Grosset were gently pressed and only the free run juice was used. The must was left to settle until the desired level of clarity was reached, it was then racked off and inoculated with neutral yeast to maintain focus on the natural fruit flavours and expression of place. Fermentation was carried out at low temperatures in stainless-steel tanks to preserve pristine varietal characters. For the same reason, no oak was used in the winemaking process and the wine was bottled without fining.
The “Alea” Riesling comes from a narrow strip within the “Rockwood” vineyard which Jeffrey has noticed produces more generously flavoured grapes. At 480 metres above sea level, Rockwood is one of the highest vineyards in the Watervale subregion of the Clare Valley. The Riesling vines here are planted on poor orange/red loam topsoils which lie over a thin stretch of hard slate-like red bedrock. The vineyard is farmed organically and pruning and harvesting are done by hand. Shoot thinning and green harvesting are carried out to limit yields and ensure maximum intensity of flavour in the grapes.
For almost four decades, the Grosset ‘Springvale’ and ‘Polish Hill’ Rieslings have shown a consistency of style and quality that has made this one of Australia’s greatest wineries. The ‘hard rock’ blue slate of the Polish Hill site results in wines that are steely and magnificently ageworthy, while the red loam of the Springvale vineyard gives more open and easily accessible – though no less complex – wines. Such is Jeffrey Grosset’s attention to detail that he noted a small strip (22 metres wide by 300 metres long) in his Rockwood vineyard that produced more generously flavoured wines due to a different soil. Jeffrey is fanatical about the quality of his vineyards, which are certified organic and are hand tended, with a focus on sustainability to offset climate change. In the winery, each process is gentle and uncomplicated. No fining agents are used and sulphur is the only addition. By combining a disciplined approach and decades of experience, Grosset consistently achieves the purest expression of variety and place.