A Tale of Two Rieslings

I spent the first weekend of my BC vacation on Bowen Island. It rained a healthy stretch and I was able to reacquaint myself with the sensation and smells of being in a lush, damp part of the world. The rain didn't stop us from cooking good food and uncorking an abundance of bottles. A few were wines from BC that I hadn't tasted, including two great dry Rieslings from different regions.

The first was from the Similkameen Valley: Alishan Driediger and Rhys Pender's Little Farm Winery 2013 Riesling. This is only their third vintage and it's made from grapes grown on calcium-rich soils of their 4-acre Cawston property (Mulberry Tree Vineyard). The wine is dry and minerally with a little richness on the palate, spice, and tangerine. There's a distinct individuality to this Riesling that separates it from those grown further north near Kelowna. The texture differs and, while it still has high acid, it doesn't come across quite as lean and sharp. I'd love to taste it alongside a bottle from their neighbours at Orofino to try and pin down the qualities of Similkameen Riesling for myself.

The second was CedarCreek 2013 Platinum 'Block 3' Riesling from 22-year-old vines grown at the winery, twenty minutes south of Kelowna. They harvest the grapes from a particularly expressive plot of their vineyard. This is a wine that is so innately refreshing, you could drink it anytime alongside anything. It's not overly complex, but it's tart and zippy with a heavy flavour of key lime. There's a little sweetness buried in there (14.5g/l), but with such fresh acidity, you'd strain to notice. I love that it's only 8.8% alcohol. Their pairing suggestion sums it up perfectly: We'd pair it with… Another bottle. It’s 8.8%. Live a little.  

CedarCreek's 2013 Riesling has a similar freshness, low-ish alcohol (9.9%) and is a steal at $17.95.

Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.

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