A Wine Lover’s Weekly Guide to $10 Wines – An Organic Canadian Riesling

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I am starting to taste a lot of organic wines. But you won’t see many of them in this column for one very good (actually very bad) reason. Organic wines tend to cost more than other wines. So when I saw this bottle I snapped it up. Actually, I’m sort of cheating. The bottle cost under $ 10 but it’s only 500 milliliters, 2/3 the size of a regular wine bottle. So I took smaller sips.

FrogPond Farm is Ontario, Canada’s only certified organic winery. They don’t use insecticides, herbicides, synthetic fungicides or chemical fertilizers and even their electricity is green. So I thought that it was only fair to give them a chance. And I’m usually happy to taste Rieslings.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed:

Frogpond Farm Organic Riesling, 2006 12.2% alcohol about $ 9.50

Let’s start with the marketing materials. Description: Our Quality Assurance Laboratory has determined that this wine contains 6 mg/L of free sulphur. Tasting Note: Made in an almost Alsatian style, this is a racy/fresh version of Riesling. Nose is of orange marmalade, green apple, mineral and lime. Dry, very clean and fresh, with good fruit/mineral replays on the mid-palate. Needs 2-4+ years, or try it tonight with a Cajun catfish, or, if you eschew spice, grilled salmon steaks. (VINTAGES panel, Feb. 2009). And now for my review.

The cork crumbled as I was opening the bottle. I wasn’t impressed, I can’t remember the last time that happened. I started by sipping this wine alone. The first sips were long, moderately sweet with balanced acidity. I started with schmalz herring (a fat herring) in oil. The wine was appley with good acidity. The meal itself was a hot-weather, don’t turn on the oven ensemble of reheated sweet and sour barbecued chicken wings, potatoes, and a good helping of salsa. The wine picked up strength with the wings. It had a lot of body for a white wine. But it couldn’t quite keep up with a spicy tomato, garlic, pepper, and lime salsa. It weakly, or semi-weakly able to put out the moderate fire. And there was no lime in the Riesling to accompany the salsa’s lime.

The second meal was fried liver and onions. This time I tasted lime in the wine and there were apple notes as well. The wine managed to remove some of the livery taste of the liver. It was more forceful with green beans in tomato sauce.

The final meal consisted of a roasted Atlantic salmon steak in soy and maple sauce accompanied by rice. The Riesling displayed bright acidity but was somewhat thin and not a lot of fruit came through. Dessert was better. With a high-quality vanilla ice cream bar covered in dark chocolate the wine showed nice acidity and sweetness with some fruit.

I finished the tasting with two cheeses. With a Havarti the wine was too acidic. With an Emmenthaler (Swiss) the wine’s acidity was balanced and the nuttiness of the cheese came through.

Final verdict. I’m just not sure. I usually liked this wine but given the small bottle, it isn’t really a bargain wine. Honestly, I never would have guessed that it’s organic but I think that’s the way organic wines are supposed to be.