Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Best of BC: Riesling

When Riesling is done well in BC, it is done very well. The Western-most Province may not have as many top-notch Rieslings as Ontario, but the interest, and quality, is increasing.

The Riesling coming out of the Central and Northern parts of the Okanagan Valley attracts most of the acclaim and represents the largest acreage under vine for this Germanic and winter-hardy varietal. Much of the Southern Okanagan Valley is too warm for quality Riesling, but there are a few pockets here and there that are producing excellent fruit used in both blends and single varietal wines.

Below, arrange by price-point, are our favourite Rieslings from British Columbia.

$20 and below:

Fort Berens Estate Winery 2014 Riesling - $18
This single-vineyard Riesling is one to sip slowly, despite the urge you may have to take a big gulp of the finely balanced, off-dry fruit cup, cool stonefruit and zesty citrus characters.
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SynchroMesh Wines 2012 Thorny Vines Vineyard Riesling - $19
'Thorny Vines' is SynchroMesh's "other Riesling", essentially a nice companion piece to their $30, Lieutenant Governor's Award of Excellence winning Storm Haven Riesling which is produced from their home vineyard vines in Okanagan Falls.
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery 2013 Organic Riesling - $20
Fans of the "Dr. L" Riesling, and there are many of you, should take note of Summerhill's Organic Riesling as a locally made alternative, made in a similar, opulent, fruity, fully off-dry style (36.5 g/l of residual sugar).
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La Frenz Winery 2012 Riesling - $20
Off-dry levels of residual sugar are well-balanced by the mouth-watering green apple and pineapple acidity on the palate adorned with boisterous orchard and tropical fruit flavours. A nice vein of minerals runs through the palate to the long, balanced finish where just a hint of spice is perceptible.
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2013 Riesling 0 $20
The nose boasts lively apricot, white peach, lime peel and orange blossom notes while the off-dry palate preens with honeyed citrus fruit flavours off-set by mouth-watering green apple acidity through to a moderate finish
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$30 and below:

SpierHead Winery 2012 Riesling - $22
Flinty with lemon-lime citrus notes aplenty, this well-balanced wine hails from East Kelowna yet adheres to the Niagara Riesling formula of matching sweetness to acid while keeping the alcohol low and maintaining a light and mineral-y texture.
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Upper Bench Estate Winery 2013 Riesling - $22
Impressive depth on the expressive nose and the off-dry palate with added tangerine, kiwi, honeydew and flint aromas and flavours with light kerosene notes floating in the background.
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JoieFarm 2013 Riesling - $23
The palate is unabashedly off-dry, bursting with pineapple, kiwi, Fiji apple and mineral flavours, yet, finely tuned with generous amounts of lemon/lime acidity keeping the sweetness in-check, without detracting from the delicate tropical fruit characters.
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