BC is a cool climate region, but we all know as we travel from South Okanagan northward, the climate does cool down, and that there are preferences for growing warmer climate grapes further south, and more aromatic whites further north. From the BC Riesling Review, we see that Riesling is grown in the Okanagan Valley from the border up past Kelowna, in Lake Country. From my last article on Unique Aromas and Flavours of BC Riesling based on soil type, we did find that there indeed were differences in soil, but I also wondered if latitude may affect Riesling aromas and flavours? Also a related question, does soil or latitude affect Riesling aromas and flavours more?
Going back to my Geographic Information System (GIS), concentrating on the Okanagan Valley, I generated a 20 km grid going from the Canada / US border and worked upward, 6 cells, or 120 km. That takes us into Lake Country. 1 degree of latitude also covers 111.12 km, so this grid also should give us an idea of how 1 degree of latitude may affect flavour/aroma.
I overlaid this grid on my wine tasting notes by vineyard, and created a Word Cloud for the common aromas and flavours of the wines within each grid cell. Why did I pick 20 km and not a 10 km grid? I chose the 20 km grid, so that I could get what I felt was a representative sample of vineyards. On average there are 5 vineyards per grid cell. With a 10km grid, the average sample would be 2-3 vineyards.
The BC Riesling Word Clouds by Latitude
Moving from the warmer south to the cooler north we have the following aroma and flavour profiles.
For aromas, petrol does not appear to be prominent until you get to the 3rd grid cell (60km north of the border) and continues northward. Stone fruit aromas are more predominant in the southern half, while citrus aromas start again around the 3rd grid cell and move north (reasonable for Riesling due to temperature). Flowers or blossom is common for all regions north to south.
For flavours, stone fruit is more common further south with citrus more common in the northern areas, which I think is a reasonable expectation for the Riesling grape and temperature. An apple flavour runs throughout the region.
So one question to ask how much of this is climate/latitude induced, and how much is a product of soil? That is beyond this study, but an interesting question.
Sorry to Kamloops and Lillooet wineries for not including you in this part of my analysis, but you are too far west of the Okanagan Valley.
I am finally reaching the last step in the BC Riesling Review, which is the interactive map. I will have that running soon. Keep your eyes on my Twitter feed, or subscribe to mywinepal RSS feed to get notified via email as soon as the map is online, and for other articles I write and post. Cheers.