The Riesling variety has shown good adaptability finding success in many cooler wine growing regions around the world expanding from its original home in the Rhine in Germany. One of these is British Columbia and more specifically the southwest facing slopes in Naramata of Tantalus Vineyards in the northerly Okanagan. Wonderful foresight in planting the Riesling variety originally in 1978 by both the Dulik family of Pinot Reach Cellars (sold in 2004 to proprietor Eric Savics and renamed Tantalus) and the nearby Sperling family vineyards. Wise decisions. More plantings of Riesling has followed.
On February 9, 2016 Tantalus Vineyards held a vertical tasting of their Riesling back to the first one produced in 2005 by their first winemaker Matt Holmes from Australia using 4 blocks of Clone 21B old vines. Some impressions:
2005: 12 degrees alcohol. Maturing bouquet with complexity showing typical “petrol” (or preferred “marmalade”) notes. Smooth balanced flavours expressing easy drinking Riesling variety character.
2006: 13 More flowery herbal statement shows thick rich body with more length.
2007: 12.4 Floral more vibrant nose. Soft entry but lovely elegant delightful middle and seems fresher.
2008: 13.2 The start of using some of the younger vines. Deeper intense fresh fruit with better structure impresses. Lots of middle depth here. Super flavours in balance. Presently my favourite of the whole tasting.
2009: 13.3 Construction broke ground on a new winery and the talented David Paterson joined as their second and current winemaker. Frost, a very warm year and dominated by young vines coming on stream results in this less open highest alcohol quite soft very ripe flavoured ready for drinking Riesling.
2010: 12.2 Classy cooler aromas vibrant & lively. Leaner with more acidity. Like the delicacy & encouraging age ability promised. Tasting Room & Wine Shop opened with their first vintage of Old Vines fruit used in a Sparkling Brut.
2011: 12.4 Refined petrol yet greener with more floral minerals and a developing creamy texture.
2012: 12.3 Alsace-like statement with full impressive balanced fruit with thicker oily mouth feel.
2013: 12.8 Younger more backward vegetal fruit. Almost searing acidity on entry but lots of fruit underneath for potential depth with more time.
2014: 13 More floral grassy but full of verve. Undeveloped but fresh smooth and balanced. Impressive.
2015: Tank Sample. Possibly their best one yet. Classy in spite of the recent sulphur. Would bet on this vintage developing very well.
All 11 wines showed vintage differences I like but also a one property “terroir” commonality that is encouraging for producing top Riesling. Their commendable beehive program on the property with Arlo’s Honey Farm has grown to 52 hives and is typical of the total environment. Good work and please continue your passionate commitment to world class Riesling!
You might also like: