Friday, September 12, 2008

Rieslings to lovingly put away

New LCBO release today! Of course, these releases happen every 2 weeks, but I'm always so excited. Especially excited today because some of the 2007 Niagara whites are coming out.

2007 is a great vintage for Niagara. One of the best in its short history, in fact. If you remember last summer, we had a beautiful spring, good sunshine in the summer, little rain. Complete opposite of this year. There will be wines of power, concentration, flavour and great ripeness.

I picked up 2 wines today. As I've written about before, my favourite Niagara riesling is Thirty Bench. We visited the winery, had a great time talking with the staff, and I came away very impressed with the vision and style of the winemaker. She's unafraid to take risks, unafraid of sharp acidic wines - just the type of winemaker that the region needs to become great. Why is it that the best Niagara wines are always made by women? In any case, they are doing a fantastic job.

I bought a few bottles of Thirty Bench's estate riesling, 2007, to put away. Also, you remember from my trip that we also visited Featherstone Winery. We had the pleasure of speaking with the owner. From my tasting notes, I wrote that Featherstone's wines had grace, complexity, but some of their reds lacked bouquet. Nevertheless, I was fascinated with some of the viticulture methods they use. We were told by other wineries that Featherstone uses falcons to chase away grape-eating birds, and sheep to eat vegetation and fertilize the vines. Really interesting stuff. I also bought bottles of their 2007 'Black Sheep' riesling.

What I love about these wines is the crispness and focus brought by their acidity. You need good acidity for clarity, as well as aging capability. I'll leave these wines until at least next summer. They're complex wines, have great varietal characteristics, and I believe also have a great sense of place. There's no mistaking that these are cold-climate wines. As long as we have these quality wines being created in Niagara, this region will soon come into its own. Wines of finesse and grace, that are also quite capable of slapping you in the face.

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