Thursday, February 19, 2015

Surprise. An Ontario Riesling

Chinese New Year and the Year of the Sheep has arrived and I arrived home from work to find that Boo had hit the local Asian supermarket and fashioned an inspired meal (inspired in that probably only he could come up with some of the combinations involved).

As can often be the case with me and white wines, I grabbed a Riesling - although this wasn't one that I was familiar with at all. Ontario wines aren't exactly common place out here on the West Coast. I know that I've said it before but it bears saying again: It confounds me that it can be easier to find wines from Hungary, Uruguay or Tasmania than it is to find wines from other parts of our own country. Canadian liquor laws have to be as antiquated as they come. C'mon people, rise up. Let's see some direct action and demands for better access to our own Canadian products.

Thank you. I will now leave the ranting to Rick Mercer.

1864.  2011 Thirty Bench Riesling (Beamsville Bench VQA - Ontario)

Although I can't say that I know much about Ontario wines, I do know that the regions there are known for Riesling and Thirty Bench is, at least, a winery name that I've heard before. When I saw the bottle in one of our government stores, I eagerly reached for it. With the help of Mr. Google, I found out that Thirty Bench is under the Andrew Peller umbrella and - given the size of that group and their heavy presence in our province - that likely explains why one of Thirty Bench's wines made it to a shelf out here in BC.

Ontario's winemaking regions are divided into various appellations and, according to the back label of our bottle, Beamswille Bench is a "narrow strip of land near Lake Ontario that boasts sloping vineyards and deep, dry soil" where Riesling is a standout grape. Thirty Bench, itself, started out as a boutique winery in 1981, producing no more than 10,000 cases annually. The winery was purchased by Andrew Peller in 2005 but the winery has continued its smaller scale of production.

The winery is particularly known for its Rieslings, especially its series of single-block Rieslings. The bottle I found is the winery's blend from its various vineyards and it is primarily sourced from the winery's younger vines. Being the Riesling fiend that I am, I won't say that I'm going to go cross country to find another bottle. It was a touch off-dry - which may have paired better with dinner if Boo had spiced up his dishes a bit more - but, more than that, I found the palate to be a bit thin. There was nice acidity but the fruit just didn't sing at all.

I think I'd be more inclined to keep an eye out for one of the small lot bottlings.

So, inspired combinations of food and wine or not, I'll readily admit to the tastiness of the dinner. I could have refilled my plate all over again with Boo's appetizing fare. Luckily though, I remembered that I already get "Gang Way Fat Boy" at work instead of the traditional New Year's greeting "Gung Hey Fat Choy" and I thought it better to pass on seconds. Funny, there was no leftover wine however.

No comments:

Post a Comment