Friday, September 17, 2010

Niagara Peninsula Ontario Winery Visit: Thirty Bench Wine Makers

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Another in our series of reports on Niagara Peninsula wineries in Ontario.

Thirty Bench Wine Makers in Beamsville, Ontario, is one of the first boutique wineries in Niagara.This was the second stop in our wine tour and was tabbed as a “must see” winery. Thirty Bench is very close to the main wine route and so we weren’t too surprised when we saw that the parking lot was jammed.

When we entered, the tasting room was pretty crowded, so we opted for a special (and complimentary) tasting taking place on the patio outside overlooking the vineyards.

Thirty Bench focuses on small lot wines, with each vine being trimmed to keep yield low with amazing quality. One thing that stood out to us during our Niagara trip was the manicured vineyards with the leaves and vines raised up on the trellis with the fruit hanging free below.

Two wines were being tasted, the 2009 Gewürztraminer Beamsville Bench and the 2007 Merlot Small Lot Bniagara 017eamsville Bench. Beamsville Bench is one of the sub-appellation within the larger Niagara Peninsula designated wine region.  What was unique about the tasting is that you could taste the grapes from which the wine was made and then taste the wine.

Before tasting the vino, we munched some of the respective grapes. This really added a new dimension. You could see the beautifully manicured vineyards that produce the grapes, then eat the grapes, then sample the wine. It was wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable after a long morning ride from the US.
These are two beautiful wines. The Gewürztraminer had a delicate floral aroma and a rosewater flavor notes, The Gewürztraminer goes for $30 Canadian. The small lot Merlot has flavors of cherry, plum and spice. The tannins are soft and smooth. This delicious wine sells for $40 CA.

During our trip the value of the US dollar was almost par with the Canadian ($1 US = $1.05 CA). All the tasting rooms we were at accepted US dollars at par and gave Canadian for change. The loniagara 015onies ($2 coin) were particularly helpful in paying for tastings. We usually charged the bottle purchases and convinced ourselves of the savings ($1 on a $20 bottle).

Thirty Bench is a great winery. We weren’t fully able to enjoy it due to the crowded tasting room. However, all things worked out for the good because it allowed us to enjoy a unique vineyard tasting.

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