Newly released: What makes Riesling a “BC” Riesling?

By: Amy Chen XEFP_hiE_400x400

As the world’s 20th most grown grape varietal, Riesling is said to have originated from the Rhine region of Germany during the 15th century. Over time, Riesling made its way to Canada, where it is most commonly used to produce stunning Icewine in Ontario and table or sparkling wines, like the Summerhill Cipes Brut, in British Columbia (BC).

Every wine lover knows the importance of terroir in influencing the taste and flavour of a wine. Even if BC is a relatively young wine region, it still has its unique terroir that defines this region.

According to the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI), there are currently 440 acres of Riesling grapes planted throughout vineyards in BC. Regardless of the winemaking style, BC’s Riesling is fairly balanced and acidic.

The general flavour profile for Riesling ranges from fruity flavours of pear, apple, stone fruits, to herbal, citrusy, and floral notes. Minerality and petrol is occasionally tasted in older vintages. It’s also dry to sweet with a light to medium body.

This seems like a wide spectrum of tasting notes for Riesling. So, is there a more specific and distinct flavour profile that is unique to BC Riesling? What makes BC Riesling special?

Acclaimed wine, food and travel writer, Karl Kliparchuk of MyWinePal began to explore this question from the angle of soil. Karl collected BC Riesling (mostly from 2014 vintage) from 35 wineries in various wine regions of BC, including samples from our clients: Evolve Cellars, and Haywire / Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, Monte Creek Ranch in Kamloops, Mt. Boucherie Winery in West Kelowna, and Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna.

Evolve 2014 Riesling

Evolve 2014 Riesling ($16.99)- Lime juicy with floral notes and a touch of honey sweet. Well balanced citrus and peach, smooth and full-bodied with a seamless palate. Pairs well with crab cakes, other seafoods, Asian cuisine (think red curry), or sweet and spicy dishes.

OCP Mike Bernardo Riesling Cabinett 2014

Mike B Riesling Cabinett 2014 ($25.00)- This Riesling was made in a stainless steel tank and a concrete egg to build complexity and showcase a bright acid and mineral style. This wine stopped fermentation naturally, leaving a touch of sweetness which balances the wine magically. Lemons, lime, and pure fresh Okanagan minerality all lead to a bracing zing that only Riesling can deliver.

Monte Creek Ranch 2014 Riesling ($16.99)- This classic Riesling beauty entices with a brilliant green gold colour and aromas of kiwi, lime rind, wet stone, and honey. Mouth watering acidity and a long, flavourful finish that will make you crave more. Harvested October 13th, 2014.

Mt Boucherie 2013 Riesling

Mt. Boucherie Winery 2013 Riesling ($16.00)- An off-dry white. Refreshing stone fruit, apricot, peach and a hint of citrus and green apple on both the nose and the palate. Pair with smoked salmon, fish tacos or a broccoli and apple salad.

Summerhill 2014 Organic Riesling

Summerhill 2014 Organic Riesling ($22.95)- This classic version under-went a cold stabilized stop of fermentation resulting in a balanced, off-dry wine with low alcohol. Pair with egg dishes such as quiche, frittata or omelette. Also try pairing with seafood, salads and tapas style meals or just enjoy as a sipping wine with friends.

His months-long analysis included an extensive comparison of the tasting notes, soil and geographic region of Riesling throughout BC.

The body of work that Karl developed is unlike anything done in the past, and is such a gift to both the wineries who have been evaluated, as well as the industry at large.

To better guide you through understanding BC Riesling, Karl divided his research into several parts, all of which offer an impressive and comprehensive insight into this aromatic varietal in BC.

What’s your experience with BC Riesling? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet us @TownHallBrands to start the discussion.