Juice Fast: Filling the press can be painful work for crush crews
While working a harvest last fall at a winery on the bench in the Niagara Peninsula, I would leave work with new cuts and scrapes each and every day. I didn’t take much notice until the day the Riesling grapes started rolling in and I wished I could turn back time and rid myself of every open wound.
Working with a bladder press requires you to climb on top and manually push the bunches in. Sounds easy right — grapes are easy to squish! In theory it is. But there’s a little matter of the grape’s acidity, which seeps into open wounds turns this simple task into a strategic operation.
Riesling has so much acidity that if you stick a hand with an fresh cut into a press full of it, it’s like squirting lemon juice into a fresh paper cut. Since Band-Aids don’t stick, your only option is to try to avoid using that part of your body. From personal experience, I can tell you this technique usually doesn’t work.
It’s painful, to be sure, but it’s a small price to pay for a delicious glass of refreshing Riesling. ANDREA FUJARCZUK
Semi Tough: Vineland Estates 1998 Semi Dry Riesling is a great example of an affordable Riesling that has the capacity to age
When it comes to collecting, there’s always the age old question: “How long should I hold onto this wine?” Wine lovers are typically concerned about aging red wines. Most feel that white wines, on the other hand, should be purchased and consumed as needed.
We love fresh and fruity whites so much that we forget that they, too, have aging potential. Our patience will be rewarded, especially when it comes to Riesling.
Riesling is ideal for aging because it is a high acid grape varietal and acid is a preservative. This generally allows Rieslings to develop in bottle better than any low acid grapes such as Merlot.
Our favourite grape has another secret weapon. It’s been widely discussed in recent We Heart Riesling posts that Riesling can be made in many different styles, including sweet. Since sugar also acts as a preservative, sweet Rieslings can generally age longer than dry ones, although some high quality, dry examples have been known to age gracefully for more than a century.
Now that you know why Riesling is a great candidate for aging, the next time you shop, grab a couple of bottles, hide them in your cellar and somehow manage to convince yourself to forget that they exist. Odds are good, your future self will thank you.