A Clare Valley riesling champion will be among more than 130 wines available for sampling at The Australian Wine Club Tasting 2023 event in Sydney on November 15.

Pikes The Merle Reserve Riesling 2022 – which also heads our line-up of superb riesling in our wine club mixed dozen deal this week – has earned the right to be regarded as a standard-bearer of this noble variety through years and years of consistent quality.

Pikes Wines chief winemaker Steve Baraglia.

The Halliday Wine Companion tracks this pedigree, with its reviewers giving The Merle at least a 95-point score across every vintage going back to 2009. What a record for chief winemaker Steve Baraglia, who has worked 20 vintages at Pikes.

Pikes managing director Jamie Pike, whose family trace their history in the drinks game back to 1886, will be among more than 20 winemakers appearing at The Australian Wine Club Tasting event at Lower Town Hall in Sydney’s CBD from 6pm to 10pm on Wednesday, November 15.

Award-winning winemaker Elena Brooks, who crafted the Dandelion Enchanted Garden of the Eden Valley Riesling (tasting note below), will also be attending.

Other wineries attending include Tahbilk, d’Arenberg, Thorn Clarke, Tyrrell’s, Margan, Pikes, Bleasdale, Taylors, Zonte’s Footstep, Hungerford Hill, Mountadam, Byron and Harold, Moss Brothers, Lake Breeze, Miles From Nowhere, Red Heads, Howard Vineyards, Allegiance, Reschke, Loom, CW Wines, Corryton Burge and Seven Hills Cellars.

We will also showcase the latest arrivals from France and Italy, as well as a range of New Zealand pinot noir. Tickets are selling fast, so if you’re interested in coming along, you can book through this link or by scanning the QR code:

The Merle, named after the Pike family’s matriarch and Jamie’s grandmother, is created from fruit grown in the Clare subregion of Polish Hill River, where the Pikes bought 27 hectares of elevated viticultural land almost 40 years ago.

“Polish Hill River tends to be a bit cooler and the riesling shows those pure lime citrus flavours and high natural acid, which is so important in good riesling,’’ Jamie said. “There’s a nice minerality too, coming from the slate soils.’’

The 2021 and 2022 seasons in Clare are rated by Jamie as “probably being the top two vintages for riesling of the last 20 years”.

Tasting The Merle, you are struck by the sheer concentration of aromas and flavours. “It’s like the volume is turned up on everything – there’s more flavour, slightly higher acid, but it’s all in balance,’’ Jamie says.

Being able to experience The Merle as part of the mixed dozen deal is an opportunity to taste a limited-release, reserve wine at a far lower price than normal. If you love riesling, read on!

Pikes The Merle Reserve Clare Valley Riesling 2022

Intense, perfumed aromas of jasmine, citrus blossom, kaffir limes and green apples, with hints of musk. Rich fruit purity on the palate, with lime and lemon flavours flowing along an exciting line of acid to a long, clean finish. Lovely texture and palate weight with a lick of salinity. All poise and elegance. Will reward cellaring but your patience will be severely tested. 95 points from Halliday’s Mike Bennie; 97 points from Wine Orbit. 11.5% alc; RRP $55 a bottle.

SPECIALS $49.99 a bottle in any dozen; $26.99 in mixed riesling dozen.


Sorby Adams Jellicoe Eden Valley Riesling 2022

Sourced from 30-year-old riesling vines at around 475m above sea level. Classic Eden aromas of freshly squeezed lime and crunchy green apple. Lemons and grapefruit pith on the palate drive along a minerally acid line. “Focused, true and just lovely to drink,” Halliday critic David Brookes says. 95 points; red star for exceptional value. 11.5% alc; RRP $35 a bottle.

SPECIALS $30 a bottle in any dozen; $26.99 in mixed riesling dozen.


Knappstein Ackland Vineyard Riesling 2022

Another Clare Valley cracker, this time from the Watervale subregion. Bright and juicy. Brimming with zesty lemon characters and pink grapefruit with hints of orange blossom and lemongrass. In general, the Watervale region gives a softer style and is not as minerally as Polish Hill rieslings. Well balanced and super refreshing. 94 points and red star for exceptional value from Mike Bennie. 12% alc; RRP $30 a bottle.

SPECIALS $26.99 in mixed riesling dozen.


Dandelion Enchanted Garden of the Eden Valley Riesling 2021

A steely Eden Valley riesling that will live on for years and years. Flavours of tart limes, freshly cut cucumber and grapefruit pitch mingle with a spray of salinity. Minerally acid flows to a bone-dry finish. Exceptional length. Age-worthy, mouth-puckering riesling … in the best way. 91 points from Halliday’s Jeni Port. 11% alc; RRP $30 a bottle.

SPECIALS $23.99 a bottle in any dozen; $26.99 in riesling dozen.

RIESLING DOZEN Three bottles of each wine above for $26.99 a bottle. SAVE $126 a dozen.

Order by simply clicking the links to our online store or telephone 1300 765 359 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm AEST. Deals are available only while stocks last. The Australian Wine Club is a commercial partnership with Laithwaites Wine, LIQP770016550. Stockhead is partnering with The Australian Wine Club on this offer.