Edgar’s Press pays respect to Canberra’s Dr Riek.

Canberra District’s Lake George Winery ( lakegeorgewinery.com.au) has released a special fortified called Edgar’s Press, in honour of Canberra pioneering vigneron, the late Dr Edgar Riek.  

Dr Riek planted the first half-acre at Cullarin in 1971 on the shores of Lake George; in the same year, Dr John Kirk planted vines at Clonakilla near Murrumbateman. In 1975, Dr Riek became the first Canberra District winemaker for more than a hundred years to bottle a vintage, although it was not commercially released. He became an enduring fixture in the region, planting, experimenting, winemaking and showcasing the wines for which Canberra District has become renowned in more recent times.  

Given his love of fortified wines, in particular muscats, it is fitting that Lake George Winery’s current owners, Sarah and Anthony McDougall, have released Edgar’s Press. The couple, with the help of winemaker, Malcolm Burdett, have taken some of Dr Riek’s muscat that had been aged untouched for more than 20 years. It’s been blended using wine made from handpicked estate shiraz and muscat grapes. The muscat grapes came from vines grown from cuttings of Dr Riek’s original plantings and some fruit was crushed with the doctor’s own 1960s small basket press.  

As an endearing homage to the man, this fortified is similarly charming. With its dark ruby robes and wafts of sweet stewed plums, the wine is a blast of treacle-like sweet-savoury flavours.