Blending wines is an old, old part of winemaking. Blending winemakers' talents and their grapes can be either an ego battle or a blessing. Tierce is the latter.
This Saturday, a trio of winemakers from three distinct wine-growing sub-regions of Seneca Lake will unveil their 2012 Tierce Dry Riesling during festivities at Red Newt Wine Cellars. The collaborating winemakers are Peter Bell of Fox Run Vineyards, Johannes Reinhardt of the Anthony Road Wine Company, and David Whiting of host Red Newt. Stuart Pigott, a noted British wine writer, will do the honors of introducing the new Tierce Riesling to the crowd. Tierce is prominently mentioned in his new book, "Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Book."
The winemakers, who have been friends for years, have been producing Tierce -- Latin for "third" -- annually since 2004. Their collaboration blends the varying vineyard expressions of Seneca Lake, along with their individual philosophies. The shared venture brings into play complexities and nuances that set it apart from all other bottlings coming from single wineries.
As Bell explains it, “It’s a one-third each blend of lots from each winery. It’s all done by a series of punishing tastings where we do lots of trial blends, mostly based on hunches. Such as, what will this smoky-scented lot do to the wine in differing percentages? And ultimately we’re looking for an austere style. We talk about minerality, electricity and tension. Can you quantify them? No, but we know what we’re looking for.”
Tierce is produced in limited quantities, approximately 300 cases each vintage year. In January 2013, it was served at President Obama's inaugural luncheon. On Saturday, after guests have the opportunity to taste the separate varietal components of the 2012 Dry Riesling, the newest Tierce will be poured. Tickets, available online, are $45 per person. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Red Newt Cellars is located at 3675 Tichenor Road in Hector, Schuyler County. Phone: (607) 546-4100.