BC Riesling Review – The Tasting Notes

The hard part of the BC Riesling Review is done.  I tasted through 35 wines over a period of 3 months.  I can say that it has been a very interesting experience.  Below are the notes.  I tasted each wine two times.  The first time was as soon as I poured the wine in my glass.  The second time was the next day.  I kept the cork or screw cap on the wine, and kept the wine cool, but this time allowed the air to interact more with the wine.  So the first tasting would give you the idea of what the wine would probably taste like for most people, while the second tasting would give you the chance to see if/how the wine changed with exposure to oxygen.  I made note if certain aromas or flavours diminished with air, or if new aromas and flavours appeared.  The wines all came from the 2014 or 2013 vintage, except for 1 wine from 2011.

The wines came in at different price points and levels of quality from the fun to quaff up to the very serious to contemplate. You will see that I did put in my 5 star rating, but that is not of primary importance to the BC Riesling Review.  The goal of the BC Riesling Review is to determine if there are common aromas and flavours that can be associated with different soil types in BC.  I will also try to see if latitude has some effect, as our climate is warmer at the Canada-USA border, and cooler and you move north.

I would like to say thank you so very much to all the BC wineries that participated in the BC Riesling Review and sent me samples of their wines.  I could not have undertaken this review without your support.

The Parts of the BC Riesling Review

The listing of my tasting notes can be viewed as Part 1 of the BC Riesling Review.

In Part 2, I will describe the different major soil types that are associated with the vineyards where the Riesling grapes are grown, and the characteristics of these soil types.

In Part 3, I will compile and present the common aromas and flavours of the Riesling wines by each soil type.  If my hypothesis is correct, we should see differences in the aroma and flavour profiles.  In Part 3 I will also test the hypothesis that the warmers, southern BC vineyards produce different aroma and flavour profiles than the cooler, northern vineyards.

Part 4 will be an interactive map where you can view the vineyard locations and the wine tasting notes for each wine.  I will also try to depict on the map, unique aroma and flavour regions (terroirs?) in BC.

My BC Riesling Tasting Notes

Synchromesh Thorny Vines, Gehringer Brothers Classic, Tantalus Old Vines, and Synchrmesh Storm Haven Vineyard Riesling

Synchromesh Thorny Vines, Gehringer Brothers Classic, Tantalus Old Vines, and Synchrmesh Storm Haven Vineyard Riesling

Gehringer Brothers Classic Riesling 2014 – Pale straw colour.  Medium intensity, pleasant stone fruit with lime aromas.  Medium body, round, soft and silky mouth feel.  Green fruits along with stone fruit, particularly peach flavours.  Some pine needles and green apples mid-palate to the finish. The acidity kicks in on the finish together with citrus, lemon rind and honey flavours.  Rating: 4 Stars

Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Riesling 2013 – Medium lemon in colour.  Very light intensity nose, with aromas of baby powder, lime rind, blossom and a hint of apricot.  With air, the baby powder aroma dissipated.  Light body, light mouth feel and smooth.  Missing acidity.  Flavours of green fruit, peach, lime and almonds.  With decanting I also detected pine needles.  Minerality and citrus rind toward the finish.  A bit astringent on the finish.  Maybe this wine will become more interesting with age?  Rating: 3.5 Stars

Wild Goose Vineyards Riesling 2013 – Pale straw coloured.  Lots of citrus lime, green melon, white peach, together with hints of white flowers, apricots and petrol on the nose. Between dry and off-dry, this wine has medium body but medium plus acidity.  It is round in the mouth but has an acidic edge.  Stone fruit, in particular apricots, light intensity citrus and a hint of petrol. Also some almond/yeast and stony character.  Medium plus length.  Mouth watering acidity on the finish, with flavours of crab apples and almond pit.  A very light, refreshing, lively, fruity wine. Rating: 4 Stars

Wild Goose Vineyards Stony Slope Riesling 2013 – Medium lemon coloured.  Very light aromas in the glass of baby powder, blossom, orange, apricot and peach.  With decanting there was addition of petrol and honey.  Dry with medium body.  Medium acidic prickle on your tongue, but still leaves the wine feeling soft.  Light fruit flavours pick up with decanting.  Peach and apricot primarily, followed by citrus, and sweet spices. Some yeast as well as stoniness in this wine.  Softer finish with medium acidity.  Citrus and some bitter flavours on the finish.  A more restrained Riesling. Rating: 4 Stars

Backyard Vineyards Riesling 2014 – Pale lemon green colour. Nice nose.  Aromas of apples, pears, peaches, and a hint of mandarin orange.  With decanting you can add lychee.  Between dry and off-dry, this wine has medium body and some roundness that is balanced by medium acidic prickle on the tongue.  Flavours of apples and blossom with lesser amount of tropical fruit, lime rind and green leaf.  The lime rind became more prominent with decanting. Mouth watering acidity, with pepper and stoniness on the finish. A well balanced wine. Rating: 4 Stars

Kalala Organic Estate Winery Dostana Riesling 2011 – Deep gold colour in the glass.  Pronounced developing aromas of petrol, dried apricots, honey, very ripe pears and brown butter.  Dry, very round and soft, but quite mouth filling.  Thickness on the palate.  The dried apricots and brown butter carries across to the palate, along with pears and baked apples.  Medium plus length.  Silky finish, some acidity but not mouth watering, and some sort of a woodiness component. Very high quality. Rating: 4.5 Stars

Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Series Riesling 2013 – Pale lemon colour. Medium intensity nose, with lime, blossom, almonds, and a hint of green fruit and peach aromas.  Between dry and off-dry, soft with light body and light acidic prickle.  Interestingly get more viscous in your mouth after a bit of swirling.  Green fruit and green leaves with a hint of peach on the palate.  With decanting I also got a whiff of pine needles.  Some almond flavour toward the finish.  Mouth watering acidity on the finish.  Rating: 3 Stars

Moraine Estate Winery Riesling 2014 – Pale straw in colour.  Medium intensity nose with aromas of lychee, apples, stone fruits and a hint of leafiness.  With air you also get some herbaceousness.  Medium-dry, soft with a very light acidic prickle.  The sweetness is quite pronounced and overrides the flavours of the wine, which include pine needles, apples, and pears.  Some spice from mid palate to finish.  Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sonoran Estate Winery Riesling 2012 – Medium lemon colour in the glass.  Light aromas of petrol, lemon, dried pears, and honey.  With air you also get beeswax. Dry, soft, with medium plus acidity and body.  Citrus, honey, and pears, followed by pepperiness on the mid palate.  With a little air you also get stone fruit, and more air, beeswax and blossom.  There is also some leafiness in the background, as well as a stony/mineral component toward the finish.  The finish drops off quite quickly. Rating: 3.5 Stars

Road 13 Peter’s Vineyard Riesling 2013 – Pale straw coloured.  Medium intensity nose, with aromas of white flowers, citrus green melon, and stone fruit.  With decanting you get some petrol.  Off-dry, soft with silky sweetness.  Low acidity.  Very light acidic prickle on the tongue.  Apples and apricots, with a hint of lime.  With decanting you can add lime rind and petrol.  Mouth watering acidity on the finish dries up the sweetness. Crab apples, citrus and yeast on the finish, and some hotness on the back of the throat.  Rating: 3.5 Stars

Stags Hollow, Lang Vineyards Legacy Series, Backyard, and Wild Goose Vineyards Riesling

Stags Hollow, Lang Vineyards Legacy Series, Backyard, and Wild Goose Vineyards Riesling

Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard Riesling 2014 – Pale lemon in colour.  A medium intensity nose with aromas of green leaves, pine needles, with flowers and lychee behind.  With decanting I also picked up on lime rind.  High acidity in the beginning which then tapers off mid palate, and then picks up again on the finish.  Very high toned bright green flavours (unripe citrus) and light stone fruits. Puckering finish with some bitter leaf and the unripe citrus flavours.  This is not your typical Riesling, and I wonder where this vintage will go as it ages.  Rating: 3.5 Stars

Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Reserve Riesling 2013 – Medium golden colour.  Very aromatic with petrol, lemon and stone fruit aromas.  With decanting you also get pine needles.  Off-dry, round, with medium mouth feel and light acidic prickle.  Medium intensity flavours of petrol, stone fruit, red apples, and a hint of honey.  Medium length with mouth watering acidity, and citrus flavour.  With decanting I also picked up minerality on the finish. This sub $15 wine offers $20 quality.  Rating: 3.5 Stars

Lang Vineyards Farm Reserve Riesling 2014 – Pale lemon colour.  Medium intensity aromas of citrus, citrus rind, lees, and a hint of green fruit.  Off-dry, with medium acidity and body.  Soft mouth feel.  Not too acidic.  Just a bit in the beginning followed by red apple flavour, and then picking up on the acidity at the finish.  Besides the red apples, you also get citrus, green fruit, and hints of stone fruit, blossom and pine needles. Mouth watering acidity on the finish with some minerality and flavour of sour crab apples.  Rating: 4 Stars

Lang Vineyards Legacy Series Riesling 2014 – Medium straw in colour.  Medium intensity nose of sweet honey suckle, green citrus, blossom, lychee and a hint of mandarin orange.  A very nice nose.  Medium minus mouth feel, dry with alight acidic prickle.  Citrus, green fruit, lime rind and lychee followed later on by stone fruit flavour and some stoniness.  Mouth watering acidity on the finish with a hint of pine needles.  A nice wine that I think will age well. Rating: 4.5 Stars

St. Hubertus Estate Winery Riesling 2013 – Pale lemon green in colour.  Medium plus intensity nose with aromas of petrol, citrus, flowers, and some lime.  Between dry and off-dry, this wine is lighter bodied but above average acidity.  Green apples, citrus and lime, together with some minerality.  With decanting you also get petrol and honey, and distinctly tastes better.  Medium plus length with light mouth watering acid on the finish, and flavours of green apples.  With decanting there was also lime rind on the finish.  Rating: 4 Stars

Upper Bench Estate Winery Riesling 2013 – Medium lemon colour.  Medium intensity nose.  Aromas of blossom, lees, sweet lemon, lanolin and a hint of green citrus.  With decanting I also detected petrol.  Dry with very high acidity. Waxy roundness on the palate.  Bright citrus flavour followed by ripe pears and stone fruit.  Honey and a hint of petrol in the background.  The honey flavour becomes more pronounced with decanting.  Medium length.  Quite tart through to the finish. Citrus, petrol and honey on the finish.  I think this wine needs to age 3-4 years, if enjoyed on it’s own, or could be paired with rich food, to cut the acidic edge.  Rating: 4 Stars

Fort Berens Estate Winery Riesling 2014 – Medium lemon colour.  Medium intensity aromas of lees, stone fruit, blossom and orange.  The aromas were more subdued after decanting.  Dry with medium plus acidic prickle giving this wine an edge, which then smooths out on the palate.  Red apples, stone fruit, and green fruit flavours.  There is some minerality in this wine.  With decanting you get pine needle flavours.  Medium plus length with mouth watering acidity on the finish and some leafiness.  Quite a refreshing wine.  Rating: 4 Stars

SummerGate Riesling 2014 – Pale straw in colour.  Medium intensity  nose, with aromas of lime, blossom and McIntosh apples.  With decanting there was also grapefruit scent.  Between dry and off-dry, light mouth feel, and light acidity on the tongue.  Red apples on the palate followed by pine needles, then citrus.  With decanting the flavours went from apples to honey to citrus.  Medium length with mouth watering acidity.  Citrus, red and crab apples and honey, together with a hint of minerality on the finish.  An elegant wine. Rating: 4 Stars

Mike B Riesling Cabinett 2014 – Between pale and medium lemon colour. Medium intensity nose.  Aromas of pine needles, lemon rind, honey, and blossom with a hint of orange.  Between off-dry and medium-dry.  Lighter bodied with light mouth feel, and light acidic prickle.  A mix of red and green apples, pears, and honey, with peach in the background and a hint of lemon.  Some minerality and steeliness to this wine.  Medium plus length with mouth watering acidity on finish. Apples on the finish.  May need 2-3 years of aging to add more character to this wine. Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sperling Vineyards Old Vines, Moraine, Road 13, and SummerGate Riesling

Sperling Vineyards Old Vines, Moraine, Road 13, and SummerGate Riesling

Evolve Riesling 2014 – Pale lemon green in colour.  Medium intensity nose. Zesty aromas of lemon and lime, together with blossom and honey suckle.  Dry, very soft and silky with lower acidity.  Light to medium intensity citrus flavour with light peach, and apple behind and a hint of pine needles.  With decanting the peach diminishes and you get more citrus rind and green fruit.  Medium length.  Mouth watering acidity on the finish, with flavours of lemon and lime.  With decanting you also get citrus rind.  This is an everyday sipper and I recommend to drink it as soon as the bottle is opened. Rating: 3.5 Stars

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2012 – Medium lemon coloured.  Medium intensity nose with developing characters.  Petrol most prominent followed by green apple, lime and blossom. Dry, medium body, round with high intensity acidity.  Pronounced petrol flavour at first sip but then gets lighter over time. Minerality also quite prominent.  Lime, citrus rind, and hints of blossom, honey and steeliness toward the finish.  More mouth watering acidity on the finish together with sour green apples and citrus rind.  With decanting it appeared that the acidity level felt greater on the palate.  This wine is built for aging, so I would wait at least another 2 more years before sampling this vintage. Rating: 4 Stars

Tantalus Riesling 2014 – Between pale and medium intensity lemon green.  Between light and medium intensity aromas of citrus, blossom and lees.  After decanting there was also apples.  Dry with searing acidity. Lighter body. Angular.  Flavours of lime, apple and hints of blossom and honey.  With decanting, flavours of green apples became more prominent as well as some yeast was detected.  Also of note that this wine has a steely feel toward the finish when first opened and tasted, but with decanting that steeliness became more mineral.  Lime rind and apples on the finish.  This wine needs time, 3-4 years at least before you should first try enjoying it.  Tantalus is well known for their wines, so don’t fret about waiting.  Rating: 4 Stars

CedarCreek Estate Winery Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2014 – Pale straw in colour.  Medium intensity nose with a light petrol, citrus and green fruit nose.  With decanting the nose became more floral and crisp apples.  Slightly off dry, soft mouth feel with medium acidity.  Mineral.  Light red apples and a hint of petrol, followed by peach, melon, sweet spices and lime.  The lime flavour gets stronger with decanting and you also get more green fruit flavours.  Mouth watering acidity on the finish with sour green apple flavour.  With decanting you also get lime rind.  I like how the fruit flavours and acidity slowly fade together on this very balanced wine. Rating: 4 Stars

Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2014 – Pale straw in colour.  Medium intensity nose with light mandarin orange, citrus, apple, lemon rind and a hint of lees.  Off-dry, medium body, with medium plus, nervy acidity.  Crisp ambrosia apple with lesser amounts of stone fruits, particularly peach, and flowers, followed by lemon flavour.  Mineral.  Medium length with mouth watering acidity on the end and finishes with the crisp apple again.  A very nice wine that I’m sure will build some interesting character with time in the bottle.  Try again in 2-3 years. Rating: 4.5 Stars

Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Riesling 2014 – Between pale and medium straw coloured.  Medium intensity nose with aromas of flowers, honey suckle citrus and peaches.  Medium-dry this wine has a very salty, mineral flavour and a viscous feel on the tongue.  Higher acidic prickle on the tongue as well.  Flavours of peach, apricot, followed by apple, then floral, and finally citrus.  Honey suckle throughout, with hints of lime and petrol.  Medium length. Very citrusy finish.  This wine has everything to make it outstanding: acidity, fruit, minerality and sugar. Rating: 4.5 Stars

Synchromesh Naramata Bench Okanagan Falls Riesling 2014 – This wine is a blend of their 4 vineyards.  Medium lemon in colour.  Between light and medium intensity aromas of baby powder, perfume, pears apricots, and a hint of pineapple.  With decanting you also get some citrus.  Medium sweetness with medium plus acidity and body. This wine has a heavier mouthfeel without being too round. Very flavourful.  Pears, apricots, apples, and honey with hints of petrol and citrus. Medium plus length with citrus and apple followed by honey flavour.  A big feeling wine that command attention.  So many different flavours coming and going on the palate. Rating: 4 Stars

Synchromesh Thorny Vines Vineyard Riesling 2014 – Between pale and medium intensity lemon in the glass.  Medium intensity aroma of lemon withy a hint of petrol, earthiness and wet wool, but with decanting the earthiness almost cleared and the wet wool went away, and was replaced with the aroma of marmalade.  Medium-dry , medium body, mouth filling feel but not round.  Light acidic prickle in your mouth with the fruit flavours sitting on top of the acidity.  Quite citrusy, as well as waxy, honeysuckle, pear, stone fruit and citrus, with a hint of petrol.  Medium plus length that finishes with apple skins and dried stone fruit and astringency.  With decanting you get greeness and marmalade flavours on the finish.  A very interesting wine I think to age.  Rating: 4 Stars

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling 2013 – Medium lemon coloured.  Medium intensity complex with aromas of citrus, lemon rind, apples, hints of peaches and honeysuckle.  Off-dry, medium acidity, soft with light mouth feel.  Light crisp apples, peaches and some green fruit.  Medium plus length, with bitter apple seed and a hint of mandarin orange flavours.  The wine is smooth till the finish when you get a bit of acidic prickle on your tongue. A tasty, understated wine. Could age 2-4 years.  Rating: 4 Stars

Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery Riesling 2013 – Medium golden pear skin colour.  Medium intensity nose with yeast, peaches and a whiff of petrol. With decanting you also get some pine needle scent.  Dry, medium body, slightly round with a light acidic prickle.  I get a mineral “chalky” edge to this wine upon first tasting, but it goes away after decanting.  Flowers, pine needles and peach flavours.  With decanting you also get pears and some petrol.  Medium plus length, with flavours of pears, and lemon.  A bit astringent on the finish.  With decanting you get grapefruit rind on the finish.  Rating: 3.5 Stars

Red Rooster Riesling 2013 – Quite golden yellow in colour.  Medium intensity nose with pronounced petrol aroma with hints of flowers, baby powder, and apricots.  Dry, soft and round, with a heavier mouth feel.  Light acidic prickle on the tongue.  Petrol flavour is quite pronounced and overpowers the fruit.  Pears, grapefruit rind, blossom with some honey flavour toward the finish.  A bit astringent finish with lime rind, honey and petrol flavours.  Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synchromesh Four Shadows Vineyard Riesling 2014 – Between pale and medium straw colour. Medium intensity nose with citrus, floral, and a hint of apricots and petrol.  With decanting the petrol disappeared and was replaced by citrus rind.  Medium sweetness, and medium plus acidity.  Had a silky, heavier mouthfeel thanks to the high sugar level.  Light acidic prickle on the tongue.  Pears, green apples, lemon skin and a hint of apricot flavours.  With decanting you also get green fruit flavours.  Medium plus length.  The wine tries to dry up with higher acidity on the finish, but not quite.  Green apples and dried apricots on the finish. Rating: 4 Stars

Synchromesh Bob Hancock Vineyard Riesling 2014 – Medium lemon colour.  Medium intensity nose with pine needles honey and stone fruit aromas.  With decanting you get smoky, flinty and tropical fruit aromas.  Off-dry, medium body, round and soft.  This wine has medium plus acidity but you cannot tell until the finish.  In the meantime you get to enjoy green apples, green fruits, honey and a hint of pine needles and petrol.  With decanting you also get lime, and the petrol going away.  Medium length with some green citrus and bitterness on the finish.  With decanting you also get dried apricots and green apples on the finish.  This wine needs to breathe before it can express itself, so give it some decanting time.  Rating: 4 Stars

Inniskillin, Kalala Dostana, Evolve, and Fort Berens Riesling

Inniskillin, Kalala Dostana, Evolve, and Fort Berens Riesling

Harper’s Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard, Pioneer Block 2013 – This wine was a medium minus lemon in colour.  A youthful, medium intensity nose with candied lemon, peaches, white flowers, and pineapple/vanilla.  Quite a pretty aroma.  Between dry and off-dry this wine was medium bodied with a light acidic prickle on the tongue.  Soft with medium roundness and a bit of weight on the palate.  Flavours of pear, crisp green apple, lime skin and a hint of peaches.  There was a hint of mineral chalkiness at the back of the tongue.  Medium length with some yeast, citrus, honey and mouth watering acidity on the finish.  I also tasted the wine a few hours later, and it brought out a bit of bitter leaf on the palate.  Overall quite an elegant wine.  Rating: 4 Stars

Harper’s Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard, Silver Mane Block 2013 – This wine has about 1% less alcohol than the Pioneer Block, that came in at 12.2%.  This was a bit deeper lemon in colour.  Light, youthful nose with aromas of Mandarin orange, lemon & lime skin, white flowers and pineapple.  This wine is off-dry, and quite round in the mouth with a lighter acidic prickle.  The acidity is lower than in the Dry Riesling.  Flavours of pineapple, lychee, and pears, followed by pineapple and citrus.  I also picked up sweet spices like cinnamon. Medium length with mouth watering acidity, mint, pepper, and some bitter leaf on the finish.  I tried this wine again over the next 2 days, and it kept it’s flavour profile.  On the third day I started to taste some of the chalkiness in the wine.  Very good quality.  More in a Kabinett style from Germany. Rating: 4 Stars

Summerhill Pyramid Organic Winery Organic Riesling 2013 – Medium lemon in colour with a clean, youthful nose of citrus, honeydew melon, stone fruit and apples.  With a very low alcohol content at 8.6%. this leaves a bit of residual sugar, and gives you a medium-dry wine. This wine has medium plus acidity which helps to balance out the extra sweetness.  I really liked the flavours in this wine of green apple, pear and a hint of lime and honey.  The apple and pear flavours in particular didn’t fade and stretched from first touching your lips till you swallowed. I also noted a bit of mineral backbone in this wine. It finishes off dry with green apple.  You don’t notice the higher acidity till the finish, due to the medium sweetness of the wine. It was overall quite soft and round in your mouth and made a very pleasant wine to drink. Rating: 4.5 Stars

Monte Creek Ranch Riesling 2014 – Medium lemon in the glass.  Youthful aromas of grapefruit rind, white flowers, lees, and hints of orange and peach.  With decanting you can add some herbal notes.  This wine is dry with medium acidity, and a little bigger, rounder mouthfeel than you may expect.  Mainly grapefruit rind and peach flavours, some yeast, and then followed by ripe apples.  This wine gets really smooth on the mid palate.  Medium length, mouth watering finish with more grapefruit rind flavour. Very tasty.  Rating: 4 Stars

Ex Nihilo Vineyards Riesling 2013 – Medium straw colour.  Youthful nose, medium intensity with aromas of ripe stone fruit, McIntosh apples, and a hint of petrol.  The petrol became more pronounced with decanting.  It is dry, fuller mouth feel, round and soft.  It has medium plus acidity and flavour intensity.  You get pears, green fruit and other stone fruit with a hint of petrol, and bruised apples on the mid palate, and minerality on the finish.  It has a more austere finish with mouth watering acidity, lime skin and ripe apple flavours.  A complex wine.  Rating: 4.5 Stars

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Some people prefer red wines. Some only like Cabernet Sauvignon. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I met many great wine makers. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

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