Winemaker: John Hughes
After John Hughes, (Rieslingfreak) tasted the first two 2018 Rieslings released under the Otherness label, he expressed a keen interest in being involved in this project and joining Riesling maestros Ian Hongell and Neil Pike in contributing his skills towards the crafting of a third expression of my favourite variety.
I was immediately excited by this offer. John has garnered incredible respect over the last decade and the success he has achieved on the Wine Show circuit and in the market place is quite extraordinary. I was careful to suggest that a John Hughes Otherness wine didn’t duplicate any wine within his own Rieslingfreak portfolio, and initially suggested that he looked outside the Barossa and Clare for a source of outstanding fruit.
Then one day our mutual friend Natalie Fryar visited fermentAsian, ostensibly to show me her most recent (and brilliant) Bellebonne Sparkling releases. Accompanying her that afternoon was Hugh McCullough, Natalie’s partner and winemaker / proprietor of Wellington & Wolf Wines. Hugh is also involved in making Riesling in the Tamar. The conversation turned to the essential qualities of fruit from this cool, marginal Tasmanian region, and I felt compelled to ask the question: could we possibly source some quality Riesling fruit for a John Hughes-made Otherness wine? Nat answered in the affirmative: If we wanted ten tonnes, she would be unable to help, but if we required one or two tonnes, she could make it happen.
I mentioned this possibility to John, and I could see the excitement play across his face. And so the plans were made.
In John’s words:
“I was super excited, when receiving the chilled juice from Tasmania. Tasting the elegance and purity of the juice, I knew we were going to end up with something special in the bottle. The tight acid structure, screamed Off Dry to me, in terms of wine style. We monitored the ferment daily, tasting and waiting for that moment of balance. Coming in at 9.4% alcohol and 35 g/L Sugar, we found balance and contentment in the glass”.