Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Niagara - Thirty Bench

Thirty Bench Vineyard

Thirty Bench Winemakers. I've been following their single-vineyard rieslings since the 2005 vintage, and have consistently been impressed with the terroir-imprint of their wines. Just delicious rieslings, made by a very talented team.

We started with glasses of their 2008 Winemaker's Riesling. Estate level riesling, showing quite a developed minerality, with good fruit and balance. Always a good wine for them, I'm finding. 2008 Triangle Vineyard Riesling showed the best for me. Oily minerality, with a stunning acidity. 2008 Steel Post Riesling, less aromatic, more closed. Maybe it's at an awkward stage, maybe it's the bottle. Needs more time, but this is my favourite vineyard. 2008 Wood Post Riesling showed quite a bit of spiciness, with minerals and a creamy texture in the mouth. Good overall, but this vintage is clearly one that needs some age to fill out.

Moving onto the 2008 Rosé, this was quite impressive, with nice fruit, good structure. More of a red wine than a blush. Impressive. The 2007 Chardonnay was oaky, buttery, and rich - certainly a style that many would appreciate, but a bit too much for me. Good acidity, but the finish resonates with vanilla and creamy oak. Everything needs to integrate, before we get a clearer idea of what this wine is. The 2007 Red was greenish, with that road-tar aroma I often find in Niagara cabernet fruit.

Overall, the rieslings were solid, as always. We'll see in a few years how these will show, with some age. Buyers of the single-vineyard bottlings will be disappointed if they open them too soon, especially if they've had a taste of the 2007's. Be patient. I believe the 2008's will show a lot of regional and varietal typicity, if we allow them some bottle age.

As always, photo courtesy of ROKChoi.


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