Archives for category: In the glass
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Tom Who? The Dave Frederics is a refreshing blend of Riesling, ruby grapefruit juice and ginger ale.

Although there were many well-known personalities at last week’s 2012 InterVin International Wine Awards, the star of the show proved to be Dave Frederics, a Riesling-based cocktail.

Like its namesake, the origins of the Dave Frederics cocktail are cloaked in mystery. At first, many were leery to try the fresh, fruity concoction — the spectre of poorly made white wine spritzers had left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. But tasting is believing. By the end of the night, winemakers, wine writers and sommeliers alike could be heard at the bar saying things like “Hit me with another Dave!”

Colourful, delicious and very refreshing, the Dave Frederics was embraced as the official cocktail of InterVin and was quickly added to the cocktail menu at Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine in Port Dalhousie.

You can see what all of the fuss is about by making your own. Mix 2 parts Riesling (preferably from the Niagara Peninsula), 1 part ruby Ruby Grapefruit Juice and 1 part diet ginger ale (regular ginger ale also works) in a wine glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange or grapefruit slice and enjoy!

It should be obvious by this point that we have a major thang for Riesling. Don’t get us wrong, we love other selections too — Riesling just happens to be the wine of summer! To prove our appreciation, we want to share this fantastic white blend, which just so happens to have Riesling in it.

Bodegas Amalaya 2011 Torontes-Riesling (Calchaqui Valley, Argentina $10.95, 270470) is a well-priced Argentinian wine which offers a bouquet of floral, apricot and juicy apple notes with a hint of cinnamon. On the palate, the racy wine showcases mineral, lime and melon. Its lingering pear finish will make you crave strong cheeses or white fish.

So to sum up? We love our Rieslings sparkling, sweet, dry, with food or, even, in a blend.  We just can’t get enough.

First Impression: The taste of a fresh and fruity Riesling is less intimidating for many consumers.

Working at a tasting bar, you learn the tricks of the trade: What makes peoples mouth water. What heightens their experience. And, what makes them buy wine. I quickly discovered that the average customer is looking for wines that are easy to appreciate and understandable. They are not necessarily looking for complexity, but rather for characteristics they can identify.

Ontario Riesling is easy to enjoy because it is fresh, fruity and less intimidating than oaked Chardonnays or complex Pinot Noirs. Whenever someone told me they liked Riesling, I was delighted because it made my job easier. I didn’t have to worry about convincing customers that they liked the wine or confusing them with wine-speak. The wine always sold itself.

Having something people can relate to makes it more approachable — that’s a big part of Riesling’s charm. Not only is it honest and truthful, it’s relatable and easy to love. I mean, who can resist the refreshing characteristics of apples and peaches? Certainly not me. ANDREA FUJARCZUK

The Alsace region is known for its intricate white wines and because of its close proximity to Germany, it has strong German influences. They produce similar grapes and also label them by the varietal (which most of France does not do) but where Germany is known for its sweet Rieslings, Alsace typically adopts a much drier style.

Lucien Albrecht 2009 Cuveé Henri Albrecht Riesling (Alsace, 23.95, 281402) is a delicious dry white, which is a great representation of its picturesque border town. It is a well-integrated Riesling created with copious amounts of intriguing layered flavours.

Delicate aromas of pear, apple, spice and honey and flavours of melon, mineral notes, nuttiness and smoke come together in this complex wine. The long finish of nutmeg rounds out the racy Riesling. Offer this white to your red wine loving friends, it might be the bottle that has just enough substance to open their eyes to new options.

Riesling is a source of endless fascination because the wines of this grape precisely reflect where they grew and who made them, making them more diverse than those of any other white wine grape.

Stuart Pigott, British wine critic

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Hot Sun, Cold Riesling: Having a great long weekend. Wish you were here.

Featured on the Spin Sip page of VINES‘ latest edition is a food and wine pairing that will get any sushi lover’s heart fluttering. David Gelb’s documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, is the only way most will ever experience Jiro Ono’s celebrated restaurant Sukiyabashi. Located in a Tokyo subway station, the 10-seat establishment has been awarded a Michelin three-star review and is the destination for sushi lovers from around the world. Enjoy with the attractive and refreshing Wynns Coonawarra Estate 2010 RieslingCoonawarra, Australia $17.95 (528216)

The new issue of VINES includes a feature about talented Niagara winemakers who are working outside of the established norm. They don’t own vineyards. They don’t own wineries. But they have figured out ways to follow their passion and produce stellar Ontario wines. One of the four, Charles Baker Wines, only makes Riesling. Here is an excerpt of the article, explaining how Baker is making it work.

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Baker’s Choice: Charles Baker produces two distinctive Rieslings from two contracted growers in Niagara.

“There is a big difference between myself and the other three being featured (in the article),” Charles Baker said on a break from our photo shoot. “They are bona fide winemakers… I am enabling these vineyards to be put into bottle. I am the one facilitating the introduction of somebody’s vineyard to a bottle and, after that, to somebody’s glass.”

All four of them share the same desire to find new ways of putting Niagara into a bottle, he added. Baker has just bottled the seventh vintage of the Picone Vineyard Riesling. Two years ago, he added a second site to his portfolio – the Ivan Vineyard, located near Tawse Winery in the Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation.

“The ambition is to capture Riesling from different vineyards from across the peninsula,” Baker says.

“I only work in Niagara. I have to work within the parameters of my daily life. I have to work within the building where I am employed at Stratus, who are amazingly generous to allow me to do this. But I am not stopping it at two vineyards. The idea is to look for different expressions from different appellations.”

Baker doesn’t have a timeline for expanding his network of superior Riesling sites. He hopes that serendipity will play a role. “I think in time I will meet other grape growers who will want to work in the same vein.”

Charles Baker Wines 2010 Picone Vineyard Riesling Vinemount Ridge $35 The warmth of Niagara’s 2010 vintage is evident in this ripe, concentrated Riesling that still manages to showcase the expressive mineral, floral and savoury notes common to the Picone Vineyard. Ripe citrus and a hint of honey on the palate are nicely balanced by the wine’s natural acidity and a slightly minty/herbal note that lingers on the finish. The wine comes across as dry, which is a significant departure from the 2009 release, but is merely a reaction to the weather conditions of the growing season. 440 cases.

Read more at vinesmag.com

Mission Control: Winemaker John Simes lets the purity of the fruit shine in the Mission Hill Family Estate 2011 Reserve Riesling

We consider Riesling a pure and honest grape, which can offer layers of complexity and finesse. It can benefit from aging, neutral oak barrels, or bubbles, but it doesn’t require any of these practices to make a great wine. Sometimes letting the grapes take their own course is the best course of action.

Mission Hill Family Estate 2011 Reserve Riesling ($19.99, missionhillwinery.com) is a well-crafted refreshing wine that is distinctly shows the grape’s personality without all the bells and whistles. Stone fruit, tangerine and melon aromas greet you on the nose, with green apple notes bobbing along just behind. The palate offers flavours of cantaloupe, honey and mineral notes. Racy acidity balances well with hints of residual sugar and a long finish give the mineral notes it’s time to shine.

Winemakers who are lucky enough to receive healthy and clean Riesling grapes often think of one thing: don’t change anything and keep it healthy and clean. The grapes are trying to express where they came from and what they’ve been through, so let them tell their story. Sometimes it’s best not to mess with a good thing.

Booster Club: Jancis Robinson singles out Riesling as the greatest white them of all

I think that Riesling is indisputably the greatest white wine grape in the world but many people think I am mad.

The problem I think, is that Riesling has so much character compared to Chardonnay, the other most obvious candidate for greatest white wine grape. Whereas Chardonnay in most cases presents the winemaker with an almost blank canvas on which to paint the traces of his techniques and processes, Riesling has its own very distinctive character, which varies immensely and excitingly according to exactly where it is grown. Riesling responds rather badly to winemaking tricks. It is happiest when it is just fermented as simply as possible and the pure fermented juice bottled with minimal resort to oak, malolactic fermentation, lees stirring and so on.

Jancis Robinson