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Thirty Deeds: Thirty Bench Wine Makers produces four Rieslings, including three vineyard specific wines from the Beamsville estate

Riesling is the signature variety at Thirty Bench Wine Makers and it’s obvious why after tasting the quality and unique varietal distinctions that emerge from each of their small lot wines.

The Beamsville estate has been carved into three vineyards: Wood Post, Steel Post and Triangle. The Wood Post’s vines are among the oldest in the Niagara region, planted in 1980, and, for me, capture everything a Riesling ought to be.

Some might complain that Riesling tastes too sweet, but no one can say that about the 2010 Small Lot Wood Post Vineyard Riesling. The nose offers delicate citrus notes, including pink grapefruit and tangerine, and the palate displays the same, along with a kick of lingering minerality on the finish.

It’s a medium-bodied, off-dry Riesling, with great balance — an ideal foil for those in the “It’s too sweet” camp.

But take heed: you won’t find these small lot goodies at the liquor store. Your only access to these rare bottles is to visit the winery or have it shipped. Yet have faith – it’s a Riesling that’s well worth the wait. KELLY SCHWEITZER

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Richie Roberts Riesling Lover

Richie Roberts loves Riesling. As winemaker at Fielding Estate Winery, it’s his favourite grape variety to work with and drink.

“It’s very versatile,” says the Beamsville based vintner, explaining that the grape is adaptable to a wide range of styles — everything from bone dry to sweet and sticky. “I especially love Riesling from here because you can keep that acidity in it… And using that acidity you can create very balanced wines. Very fresh wines.”

Riesling also offers versatility because of the different flavours derived from grapes grown at different sites, he added.

“It’s not a grape variety that requires a lot of manipulation in the cellar. It’s very pure,” says Roberts.

And the grape is well suited to growing in Niagara, flourishing in the region’s climate and mineral rich soils.

It consistently ripens, he says. “Every year in Niagara seems to be a great year for Riesling.” KELLY SCHWEITZER