Giesen are indisputable masters of the Riesling grape. This is the third vintage of Gemstone Riesling that we have seen, the first two garnered great acclaim and accolades, in fact the 2018 is the Number 1 Riesling in the February 2021 Cuisine magazine but unfortunately has all sold out from the winery. We're not quite sure what happened to the 2019, but just landed is the equally fabulous 2020 vintage.
Once again this has a good portion of the wine fermented and matured in Giesen's very special granite tanks. Why granite? Granite has been used for centuries in Europe, where Giesen sourced these tanks made from a single slab of granite. The tanks moderate the fermentation temperature and act in a similar way to barrels without imparting oakiness into the wine. An off-dry medium style, this is definitely a different take on Riesling having much more subtlety and rounded texture.
Winery notes (2020 Vintage)
"Enticing and textural with notes of luscious citrus blossom and white florals. A beautiful flow and balance with subtle sweetness and hints of smokiness. A portion of the blend is fermented and matured in granite tanks. It’s the use of granite which makes Gemstone special.
Granite tanks are made from one giant slab of plutonic rock and the French have been fermenting in them for centuries. Granite acts a little like oak barrels, it lets air in and the ever so slightly ‘sweats’, this slight evaporation adds concentration to the wine. This ensures the wine portion matured in granite is clean, bright and full of flavour. A unique Gemstone of a wine."
91/100 NZ Wine Rater, March 2021 (2020 Vintage)
"Fresh, fruity and primary on the nose with lifted aromas of lemonade, gala apple and honeysuckle. Pure, zesty, tangy and lemony on the palate, showing the hallmarks of the variety. Finishes delicately sweet, balanced by saline, crystalline acidity."
Reviews for previous vintages below…
5 Stars, No.1 & Best Buy Cuisine Riesling Tasting, February 2021 (2018 Vintage)
"At 39g of residual sugar, Gemstone flies the flag for approachable medium-sweetness riesling boasting an inviting golden hue in the glass. Bright and fresh on the nose with both spicy and floral characters that follow through to a palate laden with citrus rind, clementine and vanilla spice. A touch of well-defined botrytis is present, balanced against incredible acid and great texture culminating in a long yet balanced finish. Very smart."
93/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review MW, August 2018 (2018 Vintage)
"Medium riesling with citrus, lime and wildflower flavours. Initial sweetness creates a lovely tension with fruity acidity, which helps drive a lengthy finish. An ethereal texture adds delicacy and charm."
96/100 NWWA 2018 (2018 Vintage)
"Very attractive lemon, lime floral notes, quite perfumed and a very balanced palate. Salty mineral notes add to the good fruit weight, creamy texture and sweetness with acid drive. Something new from Giesen, a winery that frequently tops the awards in Riesling. This is often New Zealand's best value white wine variety and, if your will power is strong enough, it will improve with age."