Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tasting at Fielding Estate Winery

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It's been a while since I've been to Fielding. I have one of their wines in my cellar - a 2006 riesling icewine I believe, one of those head-scratching purchases that you just can't explain. Not that it's a bad wine; if I recall, it was quite nice, balanced with good acidity, a rarity among Ontario icewines. I just don't have any experience with Fielding's wines, a good reason to pay another visit and taste. Hoped to taste the 2009's, as well as the 2010's. Some producers are more open to allowing you to taste barrel samples - this one was not. But that's fine, I'm not naive as to the reason why.

Beginning as always, with the whites. They have a Riesling Sparkling Brut, not vintage dated, but this is made entirely from 2009 grapes. I find these wines odd - riesling just doesn't seem as aromatic as a sparkling wine, doesn't have that lift or intensity. 2009 Riesling, much more successful, extracted and long. The 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay, made with 50% chardonnay musqué, was balanced, with good richness and nicely contrasting acidity. The 2009 Chardonnay is soft, and unfortunately, without character.

The red wines I tasted were certainly interesting. The 2008 Pinot Noir was intense, complex, and well-structured. 2007 Merlot, very interesting, one of the few Ontario merlots surprisingly more than just mediocre. Tight and structured, but already quite fine. And then we got to my favourite - the 2007 Syrah. I have high hopes for this varietal in Niagara, and this wine fits the exact profile of what I'm looking for. 2007 was a hot, dry vintage, and this wine reflects that with pure fruit, fine tannins, and incredible aromatics. Just a hint of white pepper underneath the fruit, but this needs a good 7-10 years to unwind. A great success - expensive, but a wonderful wine.

The philosophy behind this producer is unique - they're focused on making wines according to vintage conditions for each varietal. Therefore, you won't find, for example, a riesling every year. That's unique, and not necessarily something I agree with. A modern producer all around, making stylish wines that manages to yield a few surprises (a syrah!!!).

DF

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