We were promised riesling and boy-oh-boy did we get riesling! I had never been to a ‘Riot‘ before so the promise of 70 of the best riesling producers globally, under one roof and right here in Melbourne, had me humming. The riot was held at the Peninsula in Docklands which formed a nice backdrop to start swirling.
I started off in the ‘small’ room and was immediately struck by the scale of the afternoon-to-be. The crowd was diverse with seasoned veterans swirling and spitooning and younger vintages eager to not spill a drop. To get through all the producers was going to be a feat, but nevertheless we zigged and zagged, navigating the throng to get to our favoured drops. The organisers worked the space well and had strategically placed gourmet food smorgasbords (imagine delicious cold cuts, cheeses, pâtés and of course, oysters) throughout the venue. This ensured that the deliciousness was close to hand when we needed a riesling break.
I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with the producers who were all beaming with pride at their creations. Many had travelled far for the occasion with a host of producers making the trek from Germany, Austria and Alsace among local growers from the Clare/Eden Valley. Their enthusiasm for riesling rubbed off on the crowd who, along with me, were in fine spirits a couple of hours into the afternoon.
As expected, the wines were fantastic. The breadth of offerings was astonishing – aside from sweet/fruity/dry that I was well acquainted with, there was a depth of complexity that had me re-thinking my thoughts on riesling. I particularly liked the slightly carbonated/dry/nutty notes and will need to pack away a few bottles for a hot summer night or two.
The event reminded me of the glory days that were the Wine Showcases at Federation Square – unlimited wine and great food. At $65 a ticket for essentially five hours of unlimited wine tasting (if you make it that far!) and unlimited food, the ‘Riot’ was good value for money. After experiencing it for the first time I can also say that I think the event is aptly named!