Fourth Wall Wines - Riesling 2019
Composition: 100% Riesling
The first person chosen for the team. The loud voice at the party you can’t get mad at. All things to all people. Vibrant, vivacious, vinous harmony. On the nose, redhaven peach, lemon verbena, white flowers, lime, and red apple skin. There’s textural substance on the palate from minor lees work — rich-ish, full-ish — kept in check by modest alcohol to keep it out of inappropriately opulent territory.
Winery & Winemaking Team
Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery; Lydia Tomek and Eden Garry
Southern end of Virgil on one of the higher Concessions, quite close to the St. David’s Bench appellation. Though no comprehensive soil analysis is complete, one could speculate that proximity to the slope contributes to minerality (or, it could be hocus smokus). Largely flatland, sandy loam, trained VSP. Clone 21B. Green harvested to prevent overcropping and brought in at 2.6 +/- tons/acre on October 18th and 20th . Although the description sounds identical, it is in fact a different vineyard than the Fourth Wall Sauvignon Blanc. (And both owners would eschew the spotlight.)
Behind the Music
How are you supposed to make Riesling? Where do you draw lines of tension, texture and taste? The fruit selected here is generously ripe, but 2019’s rain and temperature dialed everything back; focused the lines. Lydia and her team had selected a 650L Mercurey puncheon in which to house it.
Testing out an organic, aromatic yeast strain, the ‘little ferment that could’ lasted 30 days. The juice had no more than 5 months in that old, spacious wood with a modest, tempered lees influence. Closer to bottling, a small proportion (approx. 5%) of steel-aged Riesling from the same site was backblended to increase the freshness.
I may be mis-remembering this, but back in the later 90s and early 2000s there were a bunch of dry-ish Rieslings of 12% alcohol and higher. In the last 10 years, lower alcohol with higher residual sugar [and acid] seemed en vogue. Perhaps a mid-way point is the right solution. Classic bottlings in Niagara are all about depth: length, presence, acidity, and to a certain extent texture. I hope you’ll find that spirit here.
Bottling was completed April 2nd, 2020.