Great Riesling from Slovakia? These were not the first impressive Rieslings I ever tasted from Slovakia (that was the 2001 Château Béla), but the three 2011s I tasted yesterday evening from the Elesko Winery close to Modra, a short drive northeast of Bratislava, were certainly the most startling. How is it be possible to produce Rieslings this far east in Europe (east of Vienna) that taste so totally northerly? If I had tasted them blind I would have guessed that they were from the Mosel or the Nahe! Then there was the fact that all three of them were impressive, though they were so different. The 2011 Riesling “1” is a sleek and lithe Riesling that is almost bone dry with quite a challenging lemony acidity and a long mineral finish. It’s still a very young wine, which will surely grow as it matures over the next couple of years. In contrast, the 2011 Riesling “2” was light in body and medium-dry with that vibrant interplay of acidity and fruity sweetness which people used to say only the northerly regions of Germany could achieve, until New Zealand Riesling producers like Felton Road (Central Otago) and Framingham (Marlborough) proved it was possible there too. I loved both the apple/apple blossom aromas and the succulence of the wine; simply delicious. I should point out that both these wines cost just over Euro 10 from the winery website. The sweet 2011 Riesling is more expensive at almost Euro 16 per half bottle, but it has the combination of concentration and filigree of a really good Mosel or Nahe Auslese. However, the orange aroma is entirely distinctive. That is quite some achievement and puts the Elesko Winery in the first rank of the new Riesling producers in Eastern Europe along with Château Béla and Jozsef Szentesi in Hungary. Maybe I’m amazed! For further information see:
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