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Mr. Riggs

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Ben Riggs
8 May 2015 | Ben Riggs

Mr. Riggs 2012 The Magnet Grenache a wonderful pairing with Gouda

Andrew Hanna (from John Hanna & Sons Ltd, Canada) has struck again with his captivating blog pieces. This time, he talks about wine and cheese pairing in his blog piece: 'Wine & Cheese Pairing: Perfect Wine Matches for 11 of the World's Greatest Cheeses'. Mr. Riggs 2012 The Magnet Grenache is spoken about as a great mid-weight red wine to go nicely with Gouda. See below.

Gouda can be produced in both semi-hard and hard styles, and is made in Holland from cow’s milk. Gouda is a terrific example of a cheese whose profile, texture, flavour and value differs greatly based on how long it has been aged. With roots in Holland dating back almost 1,000 years, it should come as no surprise that the Dutch have had plenty of time to explore and learn about the optimal conditions and length of aging to produce amazing flavours. Even the most aged expressions of Gouda are not “over the top” with flavour, so we recommend mid-weight red wines (here’s a perfect example!) with moderate silky tannins, as not to overpower the complex flavours that come with aged expression of this cheese.

Read the full article here.

Ben Riggs
5 May 2015 | Ben Riggs

Our Watervale Clare Valley Riesling gets a mention in '5 Killer White Wines With Amazing Aging Potential'

Coming in at number 4, the Mr. Riggs Clare Valley Riesling gets a mention in Andrew Hanna's (John Hanna & Sons Ltd, Canada) latest blog piece about white wines with amazing cellaring potential. Cheers Andrew!



So, when most of us start thinking of Aussie wines our minds immediately gravitate towards reds – particularly Shiraz. And if I were to ask you to think about Aussie whites, you’d probably come back with Chardonnay. With all that in mind, it might come as a surprise to many that Australia is home to one of the great Riesling terroirs you’ll find anywhere in the world about 100km north of the City of Adelaide in a place called Clare Valley.

Due to its relatively high altitude, the Clare Valley offers up a cooler climate perfectly suited to the production of high quality age-worth Rieslings – and Riesling as a varietal offers some of the longest aging potential and amazing value of any white wines. Young Rieslings can be delicious and refreshing and clean – but if you have the patience to give it some time in the cellar, the rewards are worth the wait (and here’s a fabulous producer to watch for!).

As Riesling ages, it tends to evolve texturally, developing added layers of richness and viscosity making it an even better partner alongside fine food. Rieslings that begin their life somewhat off-dry tend to become more dry as they age and their natural acidity also tends to trend downwards with time in the cellar. Aged Rieslings become a perfect partner next to Indian or Asian food; I absolutely adore wines like this served with dishes offering up a bit of heat and spice.

Now for the best news of all – you can get your hands on delicious expressions of Riesling that are well suited to a bit of aging for $20-$30 per bottle, many of which will evolve and improve gracefully for 10-20 years, sometimes longer. In terms of pennies per year of aging potential, you’ve got to love this wine math!


Read the full blog article here.

Ben Riggs
23 January 2015 | Ben Riggs

Celebrating my Summer with Alternate Varieties

I plucked my motivation and inspiration for experimenting and use alternative varieties in my range from my travels and work across Europe. Particularly, Spain and Italy.

Let's start with Tempranillo. Whilst working in Bordeaux in the late 80’s, which is a beautiful part of the world but a little restrained for a 20 something Aussie bloke, a friend suggested we head to San Sebastian for the weekend. Well restrained it isn’t! The food, the friendly people, the girls, the free poured G&T’s... oh dear, what a place. Anyway did I mention the wines? Well I had known about Rioja but that was my first immersion in all things Tempranillo. I’m not sure if it was just the wines or my fond memories of the above but that kick started a bit of a quest to play with Temp. One of my first jobs in my new consultancy business in 2002 was to do a report on Scott Hicks and Kerry Heysen-Hicks Yacca paddock vineyard, as the contracted winery was trying to lower the price for the fruit. My report was: I will buy it! The fruit looked amazing, and so, the 12 year odyssey began.

For 3 years I consulted to Wineries on the East coast of Italy, Marche, Abruzzo and Puglia where I fell in love with a few things: the amazing coastline, beautiful sleepy ancient towns, incredible food, and of course Montepulciano. Most of the vineyards I worked with had a mixture of Verdicchio, Sangiovese and Montepulciano as well as some Shiraz, Petite Verdot and Cabernet. But by far the standout variety was the Monte.

I was amazed with how resilient it was to disease, how versatile it was being grown with both modern viticulture trellis VSP etc and traditional Tandonne pergola trellis, how adaptable it was to being grown in the cooler northern parts of Marche along with the hot southern parts of Abruzzo as well as performing in rocky incredibly low vigour hillside vineyards, and also fertile high vigour river flats. In every case, I made better wine from Monte than any other variety made from the same vineyard.

Some speculate that Monte is actually the genetic parentage for Sangiovese as well as being related to Agioritiko (St George, Nemea) from Greece. But whatever you want to say about its parentage,  Monte makes amazingingly structured, fleshy, exotic wines and I just had to make some in Australia. Enter Caj Amadio, who was born in Abruzzo and who keenly planted some for me on his Kersbrook Vineyard.

It was in Marche, also in Italy (see map below) that my inspiration for making a sticky Viognier heralded from. Here I was captivated by a similar style of sticky made by drying Verdicchio on racks in a shed, to then concentrate it, then crush, press and ferment in mostly new oak. The wine is delicious, and who would have thought! Verdicchio shares a couple of traits similar to Viognier: firstly it starts with V, and secondly, it is an aromatic variety which has a lot of tannin (almost as much as some red grapes). By drying the grapes you concentrate the sugar, acid and flavour, but unlike using botrytis to make a sticky, you get to keep the aromatics intact - making a crisp refreshing style of sticky.

Ben Riggs
14 November 2014 | Ben Riggs

[Ein] Riesing to the occasion – so what’s the difference between our two Riesling's?

For those of you unaware, there are typically four different styles of Riesling: traditional dry citrusy Australian, rich ripe slightly oily Alsatian, fine tangy low alcohol German, as well as the sweeter German-style.

In my range, I offer two Rieslings quite distinct from one another. Firstly, we have the Watervale Riesling, a traditional Australian dry style grown in the Clare Valley.  Clare Valley Riesling is one of the leaders of the world’s Riesling collection; my preference being for the Watervale subregion which produces fuller richer Aussie styles. This wine is more about the richness of the grape with lovely floral fruit. So go ahead, sip on this perky little number and be dazzled by its lifted citrus persuasions balanced by full fruit sweetness.

Secondly, I offer you the Ein Riese Riesling, a German off-dry style which was my first introduction to Riesling. My parents tended to drink this style, and its actually the first I ever tried and what started my love affair with wine. After years of bemoaning the loss of this style, I decided in 2004 to give it a go myself and was one of only three producers in Australia (that I could find) to make it.

After years of damage control by telling everyone that “Riesling is dry”, when the industry tried hard to kill off Riesling by calling generic sweet wine Riesling (even though not a grape of Riesling went near the cheap sweet cask and flagons), I decided to swim against the tide and release a Mr. Riggs German Style Riesling in all of its inspiring awe. My staff christened this wine the ‘Ein Riese’ (German word for “Giant”), partly due to my stature and also because I truly believe that it is one of the superior figures amongst all other wine styles.

The Ein Riese is delicate and floral on the nose, but take a sip and be transported to your happy place – the mix of sweetness and tang with a superb length of flavour slips down easily and ends with a bright, crunchy finish. It’s possibly one of my favourite creations. Pair it with spicy food, as an aperitif (or hold on and use it in our November recipe from In the Kitchen with Mr. Riggs Monday 24th November).

Give my Riesling’s a try, I know you will love them and they are absolutely perfect for this warmer weather. King of the Grapes.


Time Posted: 14/11/2014 at 4:15 PM