Hidden Bench : Showcasing the terroir of Beamsville Bench VQA

Hidden Bench : Showcasing the terroir of Beamsville Bench VQA

In Ontario’s Niagara region, about an hour east of Toronto, tucked away on the famous Locust Lane wine route, you will find the Hidden Bench Winery. Founded in 2003, Hidden Bench is an artisanal, estate winery situated in the heart of the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation of Niagara.

Perched in the heart of the Niagara peninsula just west of Beamsville, the Beamsville bench sub-appellations only count a handful of producers. However, the ”Bench”, a narrow terrace covering 6 kilometers in length and 600 meters in width, benefits from deep, ancient limestone-rich soils with optimal drainage and a microclimate tempered by the strong air circulation from lake Ontario, offers unique characteristics ideal for vinification.
Founded in 2003, with the first vintage released in 2005, Hidden Bench has quickly established itself as a quality cool climate wines with a focus on chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling varietals as well as for its forward thinking and use of environmentally sustainable practices. it’s the idea of ”somewhereness” and the ability of Hidden Bench’s wines to transport you to the vineyard that’s so captivating. A quality wine is one that reveals to you what was happening in the vineyard as the grapes were growing and how the grapes were handled once ripe.

Owner Harald Thiel and Winemaker Jay Johnston are both passionate about cool-climate varietals, with their finesse and their delicacy. Their approach to winemaking includes minimal intervention, low-yields vineyards, organic practices, geothermal technology to control the cellar and was the first Ontario winery to generate its own electricity through 105 solar panels. Sustainability and terroir are at the forefront of all their decisions.

Hidden Bench winery has three different vineyards, all with their own unique expressions: locust lane, felseck and Rosomel. The locust lane vineyard was the first vineyard purchased by Hidden Bench in 2003 and is the location of the winery and, as such, is the home vineyard. This vineyard is unique in that it has both a West/East slope as well as a South/North slope, providing excellent air drainage and solar exposure. Originally planted in 1998, wines from this vineyard have shown a depth of character, with dark fruit and good tannin structure. The historic Rosomel was acquired only a year later, but was planted
40 years ago. it steadily produces award-wining single-vineyard wines. felseck means “corner of the cliff” in german and this vineyard is actually situated where the Niagara Escarpment takes a dramatic turn from an East/West direction to a North/South direction. Wines from this vineyard consistently shows great depth, minerality and fruit concentration. The total vineyard area is now around 100 acres, and the last land was planted in 2010. The 66 different blocks on these three vineyard sites are mostly vinified separately. The vineyards can truly be seen as a precise mosaic acting as unique ingredients for vinification.


Hidden Bench Felseck Vineyard Chardonnay 2017
Beamsville Bench VQA, Niagara
Very rounded nose with rich, ripe pear and peach aromas as well as toasty & buttery notes. The acidity is refreshing with a flinty character and a concentrated, mouth filling, creamy texture. it’s a bold chardonnay with big energy and weight.
Score : 16.5/20 (93/100)

Hidden Bench Felseck Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017
Beamsville Bench VQA, Niagara
Un-fined and unfiltered, this wine is fresh and supple with intense dark cherry and plum aromas. Very fruity style but with hints of smoke, apparent french oak and earthiness that brings complexity. The palate is smooth and finely-grained with
graphite character and lots of juicy fruit flavors.
Score : 15.5+/20 (91/100)


by Joanie Metivier

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