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Somewhereness 2013: Charles Baker

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Charles Baker currently makes two wines, both Rieslings and both from purchased grapes. (A red may be in the works.) In absence of a dedicated winery, the wine-making is done at Stratus, where Baker is director of sales. The wines are made only with the post-crushing free-run juice and are fermented and matured in stainless steel. They clearly express a sense of place, being true to both the grape and their origin – not mock German, Alsatian or Austrian but unique, with their own sense of style, their own somewhereness.

Riesling 2011, Picone Vineyard, Twenty-Mile Bench VQA, Charles Baker ($35.25, Rézin, 6 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from 30-year-old vines grown in the Picone vinyeard on Vinemount Ridge. Screwcapped. 20 g/l residual sugar. 11% ABV.
Fresh, clean nose: dusty limestone, lemon/lime, green apple and a floral note. Smooth, even tender in the mouth. Present but not heavy, off-dry but with a tart substructure. Long limestoney finish. Remarkably poised for an adolescent. (Buy again? Yes, despite wishing it was in the $25 to $30 range.)

While the 2011 Picone was the only wine Baker was pouring at Somewhereness 2013, I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to post notes on two more of his wines that I recently enjoyed.

Riesling 2006, Picone Vineyard, Twenty-Mile Bench VQA, Charles Baker
The second vintage of the wine. 100% Reisling from 25-year-old vines grown in the Picone vineyard on Vinemount Ridge. Screwcapped. 25 g/l residual sugar. 11% ABV.
Complex, engaging nose of petrol, spice and citrus. Balanced intensity. Tense but not tight. A shade sweeter than the 2011 on the attack but drier on the finish. The fruit and minerals are fully integrated, inseparable: the product of time. Great length and purity. Transparent in the sense that the grape and terroir come through like light through glass. Saying this is the best New World Riesling I’ve tasted doesn’t do it justice: truly world-class. (Buy again? If only I could.)

Riesling 2012, Ivan Vineyard, Twenty-Mile Bench VQA, Charles Baker ($27.00 at Stratus)
100% Riesling from young vines grown in a 12-acre vineyard planted at the turn of the century. Screwcapped. 13 g/l residual sugar. 11.5% ABV.
Lime, linden, green leaves. Clean, tart, refreshing. Sour apple upfront, limestone more in background. Pure and intense with a lip-smacking finish. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

November 3, 2013 at 10:11

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  1. […] QVA 2012, Riesling, Picone Vineyard, Charles Baker ($35.50, 12718482) Some background on Baker here. 100% Riesling from vines averaging 30 to 35 years old and grown in the Picone vineyard. Sees only […]

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