Long recognised for their blisteringly dry rieslings, many of Clare's winemakers have found a new challenge in adjusting to the oncoming fad of off-dry styles. Rieslingfreak's John Hughes has taken an interesting and perhaps cautious approach to his off-dry riesling, by releasing a wine with relatively modest residual sugar (10.8g/L) checked by a fair T/A of 7.56g/L.
Fruity, rather tropical scents of tinned pineapple, green melon and mango announce the aroma of Rieslingfreak's No. 5, which is more openly expressive than its dry stablemate, without being as pure or direct. Interestingly, there is a faint thread of sweetness that juices through the palate, however, were it not for the labelling, I might not have mentioned it, as it seems to effect the wine's acidic backbone as much as (if not more than) its taste. The acidity actually does well to deliver the wine to the finish, where notes of kiwi-fruit and pineapple join its ripe melon/lemon squash notes, but unfortunately, there remains some softer, sweet edges to the finish, which are never truly zipped up or cleansed by its structure. I must say, as I sit over these off-dry Clare rieslings, my enjoyment of them generally lessens as the bottle empties. Not a good thing in my opinion.
O Although a fair enough interpretation that's well suited to younger drinkers, Rieslingfreak's No. 5 is fairly typical of my recent experiences with off-dry Clare rieslings. My loyalty clearly remains with Clare's dry styles. Drink to 2015.