I've been visiting Thirty Bench for a long time. I've always thought of them as a source of some of the best rieslings in Niagara. Lean wines, yes, but with impressive extract and great balance - interesting mineral expression too, leaning towards petrol and lanolin cream. They make an entry level cuvée, a blend of all their vineyards, which is this bottle, as well as 3 single vineyard rieslings. It's always a great introduction to the Niagara style of riesling. A slight amount of residual sugar and lowish alcohols (around 11%), with searing acidity when they're young. Bottled under stelvin, the obvious question was how well they aged ...
The 2007 vintage was a turning point in my understanding of Niagara. Hot and dry, producing wines with a concentration and density that were rarely seen in Niagara. These wines however, remained balanced and linear. Early picking, the wines see no oak and are made in a reductive style. So, with about 5 years of age, I wanted to see how they were coming along. And like usual, I was surprised. Age hasn't been kind to the wine, and perhaps is revealing its true character a little. Stripping off the varnish, so to speak. The girl you wake up next to and go omfg beer goggles are a bitch!
There's no fruit left. No charm, no finesse. Just an un-harmonized collection of aromas and flavours. Petrol and all that, bitter on the palate, slight amount of sugar underneath it all. Just doesn't work, and a far cry from what I remember tasting a few years ago. Oh well. I want to keep in mind things like bottle variation, the vagaries of aging under stelvin, issues with reduction, sulfur, etc. Or maybe bottle age has exposed all the things that the are (and aren't). That's why we put things away, isn't it?
Heading to Niagara this Thursday. I've been enjoying my week off - getting a lot of housework done, and a bit of drinking too. Fun. You know, usually it seems like time flies during vacations, but this one has felt ... a bit more slow-paced. No complaints. Loving retired life.