While attending the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) I tasted a small lot Chardonnay, 2015 vintage, by Thirty Bench Wine Makers from the Beamsville Bench in Ontario. That wine stood out among the other Chardonnays that I had tasted at i4C. So once the i4C was over, and I had some time to visit a few wineries, I made it a point to visit Thirty Bench Wine Makers.
When I arrived at their tasting room, I was told by my host that they do specialize in Riesling and Pinot Noir. That is great for me, as they are two of my favourite grapes, as you can tell from my BC Riesling Review and BC Pinot Noir Review that I have done in the past. They also make their wines in small lots so that they get the best possible flavour from their wine.
Their winemaker, Emma Garner, studied in the Oenology and Viticulture program at Brock University, in Ontario, but has experience in France, Australia, and other countries. Many winemakers in Ontario have come from Brock University as well as a few in BC. Emma began working in the Niagara region at Trius Winery, then moved over to Thirty Bench Wine Makers in 2005. In 2010 she became the lead Thirty Bench Wine Maker. With these 12 years of winemaking experience it appears to me that Emma has a very good grasp of their terroir and brings out the best in her wines. If you are in Ontario, please go and visit this winery; and if you are visiting from elsewhere, please go and visit this winery. It is that good.
My Tasting Notes
Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Wood Post Vineyard Riesling 2015 – Light petrol, citrus and white flowers on the nose. Off-dry with medium-plus acidity. Apple with hints of mandarin orange, floral, and petrol Long length, with mouth-watering finish.
Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Steel Post Vineyard 2015 – Petrol honey and citrus on the nose. Dry with medium body and higher acidity on the palate. Honey, petrol, peach and apple flavours. Have a thick roundness on the palate. Quality.
Thirty Bench Small Lot ‘Triangle Vineyard’ Riesling 2014 – Light apple nose; a little closed. Off-dry, round, with quite a salty mineral component. Lime and citrus, along with some peach flavours. Very fruity. Really enjoyable.
Thirty Bench Wood Post Riesling 2008 – a special sip I was provided by my wine tasting host. This aged wine had a deep, bright lemon colour. No petrol on the nose. Light oaky, meaty, honey nose. Full body, high acidity, but still round. Woody/meaty, dried lemon skin and lanolin/honey flavours. Also some toffee. Very interesting.
Thirty Bench Small Lot Pinot Noir 2014 – Cherries, red berries, and touches of vanilla and sweet spices on the nose. Dry, medium body and acidity. Fine tannins. Flavours of raspberries and other red berries. A hint of oak. The tannins do get stronger on the finish.
Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2014 – Deep garnet colour. Nice nose, with aromas of cedar, red fruit and capsicum. Full body, round with medium acidity. Capsicum, plums, red fruit, red currants and light sweet spices on the palate. Also, you get some pepperiness on the finish. Medium-plus length. Very nice.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
I did a quick check online and if you are in BC, I don’t think you can buy the wines here. BUT they do have a wine club where you can get wine shipped to you four times a year. Here is a link to their Wine Club. If you are in Ontario, you can also sign up to the Wine Club, but you can also get their wines through the LCBO. Here is the LCBO link to the Thirty Bench wines that they carry. Enjoy.