By Zoltan Szabo

Charles Baker... Winemaker

Refreshing notes of green apples, lime – lemon, white blossoms with fresh mint – cilantro and limestone in the background. Opulent over the palate with mouthwatering acidity, which makes its twenty + grams / Liter residual sugar almost unnoticed, just adding mouthfeel, little weight and texture. The finish is long, clean and “snappy”.

“When it comes to Riesling, it’s all about the vineyard”, Baker explains. This wine is 100 % free run juice of less than two tons of grapes / acre coming from thirty years old vines, grown in limestone / sandstone / shale. Discreet and elegant and certainly a delicious Riesling. Somewhat similar to the 2006, which was also a cooler vintage. Highly food friendly, can be matched with a myriad of foods, from shell fish to fish, soft – rind artisanal cheeses to lighter veal and pork dishes, rustic fare, charcuterie and “kocsonya”, handles a bit of spice and herbs well too, or on its own, one bottle for lunch, two for dinner. 10.5 % alcohol here.

Only three hundred cases are produced, and offered at $35 retail, so just below $30 for restaurants.

Anyway, at his fifth vintage, Baker consistently delivers a terrific wine and wonders why restaurants give you two forks, small and large, instead of large ones only, given “the mouth is the same size”. The now forty six years young and proud dad of a fourteen months old baby boy, Levy, Charles clearly remembers the grand opening night of Centro’s back in 1987, when he was personally serving a table of sixteen, the very first table of this landmark establishment, with owner Franco Prevedello among the guests, entertaining his friends and colleagues.

He also worked with chef Jamie Kennedy OC at The Palmerston and chef Michael Olson at The Liberty back in the days, moving to Cave Spring in 1994. Charles Baker is an ambassador of the Niagara Peninsula and honorary chancellor of the People’s Republic of Riesling. Catch him at the fifth edition of Terroir on the 1st of March.

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