Note: my new wine blog is at Sharp Rich North - Wine.

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.

Visit Local Wine Events, a great source of tastings and other happenings for many locations in Canada, the U.S., and other countries. And vote for this blog!

Tantalus Riesling 2008

July 4th, 2009

Medium gold; very pronounced grapefruit nose. Dry, good acidity, perhaps a little one-dimensional but good citrus notes. I’m just not sure I really get much Riesling from this, despite a bit of a mineral finish. Good, but not up to par with some of the other BC Rieslings I’ve been tasting, particularly as it’s pricier at CAD$23. See Tantalus Vineyards.

8th Generation 2007 Riesling Dry

June 27th, 2009

Clear medium gold appearance, citrus floral nose. Slightly off dry (despite the name) with honey-apricot, slate, and grapefruit notes with a nice balance in the acidity. The best BC Riesling I’ve tasted in a while, probably since the 2007 Joie. About CAD$20 at Village VQA Wines. See 8th Generation Vineyard.

Cedar Creek 2008 Riesling

June 20th, 2009

Yet another BC Riesling. This one is light to medium yellow-gold with a solid ripe pineapple-grapefruit nose. Dry with medium acidity, good body, and a sharp apple-grapefruit palette making a deeply buried hint of sweetness. Perhaps slightly more depth or complexity than some of the others I’ve tried, this is a good drink but I think I prefer the Kalala to it. At about CAD$17, another good value.

Kalala 2007 Riesling

June 19th, 2009

Third on my recent list of BC Rieslings is this organic wine from the Okanagan Valley. Very light clear silvery appearance. Nice grapefruit-petrol nose with just a hint of apricot. Dry with good acidity; grapefruit notes are most prominent and there’s a very nice earthy mineral quality. So far the best of the BC Rieslings I’ve been tasting; sometimes I think that organic wineries have that edge because of the purity of growing methods: flavours are preserved just that much better. Well-priced at about CAD$17. Kalala Organic Estate Winery.

Road 13 2007 Riesling

June 13th, 2009

Second in my current string of British Columbia Rieslings. I tasted the Road 13 2008 Chardonnay at the Fine Vintage Wine Club a couple of months back, and was impressed.

This is a clear, medium yellow-gold-green. Nice nose with apple-grapefruit qualities, with an earthiness and a hint of apricot. Dry with good acidity, strong citrus quality, and that good old Riesling stone/slate palette. Good value at about CAD$17. Road 13 Winery.

Red Rooster 2008 Riesling

June 6th, 2009

Riesling is my grape, and I picked up a number of local (British Columbia) Rieslings at Taylorwood Wines the other day, so will be making some notes on those over the next several weeks.

First is the 2008 Red Rooster. Clear medium golden-yellow with a grapefruit-honey nose balanced with a hint of grassiness. Sweeter than expected on the palette, with perhaps not quite enough acidity to balance, but a nice honey-peach quality. Higher alcohol than I’m used to with the varietal at 13%. About CAD$17, a good drink at this price, and very nice to see the development of quality Rieslings in BC.

Urban Riesling 2007

May 23rd, 2009

This Mosel Riesling is a clear medium gold-green with a petrol-apricot nose. Sweeter than I expected, it combines stone fruit notes with a hint of honey and mineral qualities. Recommended. $24 at Kits Wine.

Joie Farms “A Noble Blend” 2008

March 22nd, 2009

Was looking forward to Joie’s 2008 offerings. This is clear and very, very light, almost colourless. Peach (Okanagan!) and citrus on the nose, with a distinctive quality that I swear I can pin down to Joie. I don’t know exactly what this could be, but it’s shared with the 2008 Riesling, and the 2006 and 2007 vintages I’ve tried. A very nice balance on the palette, with citrus qualities, good acidity, and again that distinctive Joie quality. Recommended. About $28 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar. See Joie Farms.

Pfaffenheim 2007 Riesling

March 8th, 2009

This Alsace Riesling has a pale gold-green appearance. Medium petrol-citrus nose. Acidity is on the low side; has a nice balanced palette with straightforward slate and the slightest stone fruit notes, but this is a dry wine. Recommended, especially at the price: CDN$22.

Joie Farms Riesling 2008

February 28th, 2009

I’ve been waiting for this one and ran into it unexpectedly after it had been on the shelf at Broadway International Wine Shop for just half an hour. Joie’s 2007 Riesling was one of my favourites of last year, and showed real promise for BC Rieslings. Distinctive nose—I am tempted to say I could detect a Joie wine—with little hint of sweetness: pineapple-sage on the nose. Medium body with nice crispness, good acidity, and ever so slightly off-dry. Honey and citrus notes, great balance. Another winner from Joie.