In cooler winegrowing areas, one could easily think that the appearance of a warm, dry, sunny vintage would always be greeted with enthusiasm and happiness by winegrowers and winemakers. The reality, however, is more nuanced: very hot years can be as much of a challenge as cool, wet ones. It all depends on what you’re making. And if you’re making Riesling, a variety that is at its best when it shows up crisp, with loads of mouth-watering, refreshing acidity and lined with mineral notes, a vintage like the exceptionally hot 2010, in riesling-loving places like the Finger Lakes or Ontario, sticking to that program is quite demanding, when even that particular grape wants to turn tropical and lush. As a result, a lot of 2010 Rieslings from the Niagara are a bit on the soft side. But smart winemakers like Emma Garner, who makes delightful Rieslings and Cabernet Francs at this great estate located towards the western end of the Niagara region, managed to find just the right balance, thanks to good picking and winemaking decisions that preserved freshness without sacrificing too much depth of flavor. This may not be her most complex cuvée ever (acid fiends should look to the delicious 2008s and 2009s, right now), but it has a very nice set of fresh apple and white fruit aromas, as well as citrus notes and good length. Very pleasant, well-defined and balanced. Recommended. RC

Who : Thirty Bench Winemakers
What : 100% riesling
Where : Beamsville Bench VQA, Niagara, Ontario, Canada
When : 2010
How Much : $18.75 CDN, at the winery

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