In early 2006 I took the Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 1 Foundation course in wine tasting. The course was taught by James Cluer of Fine Vintage Ltd in Vancouver. For these posts I am using the Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine (PDF, 50K). Wine is evaluated according to Appearance (clarity, intensity, and colour); Nose (condition, intensity, and aroma); Palate (sweetness, acidity, tannin, body, flavour characteristics, and length); and a conclusion on overall quality. I prefer whites, or I am more familiar with them, so that is what I will focus on, at least initially. I will sample wine from a variety of countries, and search out good BC wines. Let me know if you have any comments or something to suggest.
Pale yellow-gold. Very fruity nose with citrus and sage qualities and perhaps a hint of oak. Medium body with nice acidity and a well-balanced Sauvignon palette; grapefruit and apple, a bit of a floral quality. Very nice, very drinkable; recommended. A bit pricey at CAD$35 (Kits Wine); see Black Hills Estate Winery.
Medium gold-lemon appearance. Distinct mineral-grassy nose, with a hint of petrol. Medium body, strong acidity, dry with citrus, lemon-lime, and earthy notes. Very nice.
Thought I’d take a break from BC Rieslings and go back to a benchmark, German Mosel.
Medium golden appearance. Ah, the nose! — stone fruit, petrol, slate. A lovely smooth honey-citrus palette with nicely balanced acidity and strong mineral finish. There’s not much more to say; it’s very nice. The lower alcohol content (7.5%) may have something to do with the balance.
This is what I hope some BC Riesling producers are aspiring to, though the French may be more what they’re looking to. The 2007 8th Generation came closest to my ideal; the family is from Germany. It will be interesting to see what the 2008 is like; it has apparently been released so I will search it out.
Medium lemon-gold appearance. Light geosmin nose with a touch of honey. Peach-lime on the palette; dry with good acidity and a medium body. Nice lemon rind finish. This one takes its place among the better BC Rieslings I’ve tasted recently. It’s pricier than most, at about CAD$25 (Kits Wine Cellars). See Wild Goose Winery.
Light clear silver appearance. Light grassy-melon nose with a touch of honey. Dry and a bit dull on the palette; not a complex wine but some appealing aspects of grapefruit, green fruit, and peach. Doesn’t quite have the acidity required to balance, but quite drinkable and inexpensive (about CAD$15). Gehringer Brothers doesn’t seem to have a web site (!); some information here.
Medium gold appearance, grapefruit-apple mineral nose with a hint of residual sweetness. Dry on the palette with good acidity; citrus, green fruit—definitely appropriate for an Okanagan wine—and a hint of Riesling steel/petrol. This is a good one, among the better BC Rieslings I’ve tasted. See Ya Later Ranch.
Really enjoyed the 2007 “Dry” Riesling, and there were a few bottles of the 2006 left at TaylorWood Wines.
This vintage is pale silver-gold with medium citrus-apricot and a hint of sweetness on the nose. A little drier than the 2006 with a strong acidity that almost obscures hints of green apple, stone fruit and honey. Although it hints, perhaps, at the quality to come in the 2007 vintage, this is not one of the better BC Rieslings I’ve tasted (this is the ninth I’ve tried recently). See 8th Generation Vineyard.
Clear medium golden, nice sweet earthy stone fruit nose. Well balanced on the palette, a bit of sweetness with fine acidity. Honey-slate with a citrus finish. I tasted the 2006 last year and this continues in the same vein. First time I’ve seen it in Vancouver (though admittedly I wasn’t looking that hard); got last year’s at the vineyard. Definitely one of the better BC Rieslings. See Lang Vineyards.
Medium clear silver-green appearance. On the nose, qualities of grass, earth, and citrus-apple. On the palette, lacking a bit in acidity; tending towards a light body with notes of apple and lemon balanced with a muted background of slate-apricot quality. Very slightly off dry; lingering dull green fruit finish that’s not altogether pleasant. Quite a different quality than the other Okanagan Rieslings I’ve tried. I like it but wish that it had just a bit more bite. About CAD$18. See Mission Hill Winery.