Wine, summer and Sunday afternoon is a pleasant equation. And this Sunday, Darlinghurst will host all three as the Summer of Riesling festival once again returns to the National Art School's Cell Block Theatre.
The idea of a riesling showcase began in 2008 when Paul Grieco hosted the first Summer of Riesling event at his famous Manhattan wine bar, Terroir. The festival expanded in the US soon after and debuted in Australia in 2011. Sommelier Jacquie Lewis is behind the Sydney event. “The festival presents a rare opportunity to taste this enormously versatile grape in all of its styles – from bone dry to dessert-wine sweet, and to learn directly from the people who produce it,” says Lewis.
The festival will feature wines from South Australian vineyards Grosset Wines, Pikes, Mac Forbes, Mesh, Taylors and Mount Horrocks; as well as Tasmanian producers Parish Vineyard, Stargazer and Moorilla. Rieslings from New Zealand, Germany, France and Austria will also be showcased. “The winemakers are specialists in their field. From the legendary Gary Grosset to more quirky characters like Mac Forbes, the breadth of styles covered is enormous,” says Lewis.
Buffalo Dining Club will whip up its signature cacio e pepe (spaghetti, salt, pepper, parsley and olive oil in a pecorino cheese wheel) as well as serving mozzarella and cold cuts. Oysters Unplugged will shuck fresh oysters to order – an ideal match for riesling.
The enduring attraction of the varietal lies in its adaptability. “For those who like refreshing, zippy wines – riesling is for you. For those who like a bit of body – riesling is also for you. Got a sweet tooth? Riesling.
“The riesling journey of discovery is never-ending, there is always a new style, new producer, new part of the world to investigate.”
The 2016 Summer of Riesling festival will be held on Sunday January 17 at Cell Block Theatre, National Arts School, Darlinghurst. Tickets are $55.