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
Add Kamloops, British Columbia to the places on the planet producing delicious Riesling. Newcomer Harper’s Trail made a juicy and appealing white from its first commerical crop of grapes from vines planted in 2008 in what’s dubbed the Thompson River Valley region.
Owners Ed and Vicki Collett converted cattle grazing land into a 20-acre vineyard, planting vines on cliff sides to take advantage of the site’s limestone rich soils. Their opening inventory includes a Field Blend White, made with Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, and a rosé, which is a blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The single vineyard Riesling is the star.
Made at Okanagan Crush Pad by winemaker Michael Bartier, Harper’s Trail 2011 Riesling Thadd Springs Vineyard (British Columbia, $19.99, okanagancrushpad.com) offers good, clean peach and apple aromas and flavours. The obvious sweetness on the palate is nicely balanced by racy acidity and abundant minerality. It’s an impressive first effort that represents one small step for man, one giant leap for Rieslingkind.