Your 2023 Riesling from O’Leary Walker Wines (Polish Hill River & Watervale)

O leary walker polish hill riesling Organic Australia Winery

Polish Hill & Watervale O’Leary Walker Rieslings. Same Region Yet Dramatically Different Wines (Includes Tasting Notes)

A five-star rated winery with a one-of-a-kind relationship between vineyard and third and fourth-generation winemakers. That is one way to describe O’Leary Walker wines. Another is two exceptional winemakers, David O’Leary and Nick Walker, with a lifelong love of wine. They craft small batches using only the absolute best Clare Valley produce.

Both vineyards are in the Clare Valley, yet Polish Hill River and Watervale Rieslings are surprisingly unique. The (not so) secret that differentiates the two is terroir – notably, the limestone at Watervale and the slate at Polish Hill(*1).

Read on to:

• Find tasting notes.
• Discover more about the Watervale and Polish Hill vineyards.

Watervale and Polish Hill vineyards quality soil

O’Leary Walker Watervale & Polish Hill River Vineyards (What Makes Their Rieslings Different?)

Acidity, juiciness, fruit maturation, flavour profiles. All driven by what is found just below the surface of the natural landscape. When you combine the right fruit crop with the best of the naturally occurring elements of the local soil and micro-climate, great things can happen. That is exactly what O’Leary Walker wines have in the Clare Valley in South Australia.

Vineyards next to each other can produce superb wines of the same varietal, but with completely different flavour profiles.

This is the magic of the Clare Valley.

The Watervale and Polish Hill vineyards are perfect examples of how vineyards growing the same varietal, in the same region can produce distinctly different wines of true personality.

Watervale Vineyard – O’Leary Walker Wines

This vineyard boasts traditional Watervale soils, characterised by red loam overlaying limestone and facing west(*1). Fruit is pruned and picked by hand and the vineyard is dry grown. Many crops would suffer without irrigation. However, the soil is rich in limestone, which boosts moisture retention(*1). Vertical shoot positioning is key to the viticultural methods in this vineyard(*1). Vertical shoot positioning benefits the vine in two ways. It encourages uniform ripening and offers vital shade to shield from sunburn(*1).

Does Limestone Soil Influence the Flavour of Wine?

There is no doubt that terroir is essential for producing wines of difference. For example, limestone soils are said to bring minerality, youthfulness, length and natural acidity to the wine(*2).

Polish Hill River Vineyard – O’Leary Walker Wines

Despite growing these vines organically since their planting in the 1970s, 2010 marked the first year of NASAA Organic Certification(*3). Neighbours, Martin and Joan Smith and Molloy’s vineyards consistently produce excellent fruit from Polish Hill(*3). This is a testament to the quality of this sub-region in the Clare Valley. Polish Hill features grey loam acid soils on sandstone and slate, with rocky topsoil(*3).

What are the Benefits of Slate Soil in Vineyards?

Riesling thrives in slate-heavy soils. To look at a vineyard with a rocky, harsh-looking topsoil, you would be forgiven for wondering how a lush and juicy fruit vine could thrive in such conditions.

Slate holds heat which assists with vine ripening and it contributes to a well-draining soil(*4). Vines grown in slate-heavy soils are at lower risk of becoming water-logged during the rainy season. When you consider how varied and extreme the weather in Australia and across the globe is becoming, it is no wonder that areas that do experience bouts of high rainfall find these well-draining soils to be most beneficial.

O’Leary Walker Wines Watervale Riesling

O leary walker watervale rieslng organic wines, Australia. Same Region Yet Dramatically Different Wine
O leary walker watervale riesling organic wines, Australia. Same Region Yet Dramatically Different Wine

• Vineyard: Watervale
Colour: Pale straw yellow(*1).
Aroma: A lifted medley of kaffir lime and tropical fruits with a hint of fennel(*1,5).
Palate: The palate reveals a delicate intensity of lime and citrus notes. The lemon-lime fruit is complemented by tight acidity(*1,5).
Finish: Balanced with natural acidity (perhaps thanks, at least in part to the limestone at Watervale)(*1,5).
Cellaring: Excellent cellaring potential for 10 years or more(*1,5).

 Price: Great value for money from only $22 per bottle.

O’Leary Walker Wines Polish Hill River Riesling

O leary walker polish hill riesling organic wines, Australia. Same Region Yet Dramatically Different Wine

• Vineyard: Polish Hill River.
Colour: Light lemon yellow with a hint of green(*3,6).
Aroma: Another fine medley, however, this one is quite different from the Watervale Riesling. Expect to encounter musk, talc, and bath salts which are elevated by the freshness of freshly cut lime wedges(*3,6).
Palate: Delicate and fine minerality, talc and citrus. The natural acidity gives the palate youthfulness and balance(*3,6).

Finish: A lasting finish that pairs beautifully with seafood such as fresh oysters(*3,6).
Cellaring: A youthful and enjoyable wine to enjoy immediately or can be cellared for 10 to 20 years for future enjoyment(*3,6).

Price: Great value for money from only $22 per bottle.

O leary walker polish hill riesling organic, Australia. Same Region Yet Dramatically Different Wines

Browse all O’Leary Walker Wines available on the Summer Hill Wine Shop website.

When you would like advice on what kind of wine to buy now or to cellar (or both), you are always welcome to contact the Summer Hill Wine Shop team – or drop in if you are in the Sydney area.

Not in Sydney? The thousands of bottles of wine available on our website can be shipped Australia-wide.


Phone: 02 9798 7282
Visit: 7 Lackey Street, Summer Hill NSW 2130

Send a message through the Summer Hill Wine Shop website.


*1. O’Leary Walker Wines. 2023 Watervale Riesling. 2024.
*2. Gaither, J. Understanding Limestone Soils in Wine. Wine Enthusiast. 2023.
*3. O’Leary Walker Wines. 2023 Polish Hill River Riesling. 2024.
*4. Wine Enthusiast. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: 8 Wines Grown on Slate Soils. 2022.
*5. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2023 O’Leary Walker Watervale Riesling Clare Valley. 2024.
*6. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2023 O’Leary Walker Polish Hill River Riesling Clare Valley. 2024.

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