Part 8 of a series on the Okanagan Valley, a
remarkable wine region in British Columbia, Canada
Alan Dickinson (above) is making the Okanagan's most
compelling Rieslings. He's a Riesling specialist, and it shows.
His first wine was from the 2010 vintage, and he was self-taught.
'I'd never used equipment before,' he says. 'I'd never made wine.'
Since then, he's gone on to make compelling and well-priced wines of
incredible purity and focus.
This tasting was a pretty comprehensive look at the range of
Synchromesh wines, not just the Rieslings, but also the stylish
The home base for Synchromesh is the Storm Haven vineyard in the
Okanagan Falls. But Alan also sources from vineyards where he has
long term leases in Kelowna, Naramata Bench (where most of the wines
come from) and Golden Mile.
The name? It gives away Alan's love for cars: he's a petrol head
when he's not making wine.
Thorny Vines is located at the southern end of the Naramata Bench,
immediately north of Penticton, and benefits from the moderating
effects of Okanagan Lake. A cooler North facing vineyard. German
clone 21B Riesling.
Synchromesh Riesling Thorny Vines Vineyard 2012 Okanagan
Valley, BC, Canada
10.4% alcohol, pH 2.91, TA 11.2 g/l,
RS 30.3 g/l. Naramata Bench. Clone 21B, third growing season. Lively
and limey with lovely rich texture, yet precision at the same time.
Pure with some honeyed notes, some baked apple. and also a hint of
pith and a touch of petrol. There's also a fine herby note (fennel
and thyme) in the background, and it finishes with some sweetness.
Quite lovely. 91/100
Synchromesh Riesling Thorny Vines Vineyard 2013 Okanagan
Valley, BC, Canada
9.2% alcohol, pH 2.69, TA 11.7 g/l,
RS 33g/l. Vivid lime zest nose with some richer apricot and honey
characters, as well as some baked apple. The palate is juicy and
lemony with a bit of sweetness countering the keen acidity. Shows
pithy focus. Satisfying stuff with some complexity and freshness.
The acid is so well integrated. 91/100
Synchromesh Riesling Thorny Vines Vineyard 2014 Okanagan
Valley, BC, Canada
9.8% alcohol, pH 2.64, TA 11.6 g/l,
RS 36.5. Aromatic and herby with a bit of green pithiness on the
nose. Zesty, youthful lemony palate with a distinctive citrus peel,
herb, wax and mandarin character in the mouth. Fresh and herby, this
is a bit different, with a core of intense citrus fruit. High
acidity countered by some sweetness. 90/100
Synchromesh Riesling Thorny Vines Vineyard 2015 Okanagan
Valley, BC, Canada
9.3% alcohol, pH 2.78, TA 10.96, RS
36.27 g/l. Linear, pure and lemony with pristine lemony fruit.
Rounded and textured with nice focus and weight. Such a pure wine,
showing lemons, herbs and ripe apples. Lovely density and weight
here, with the very high acidity integrated really well. 92/100
Riesling Four Shadows Vineyard 2014 Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada
10.7% alcohol. Naramata Bench. TA 10.4 g/l, pH 2.73,
residual sugar 51 g/litre. High elevation block, steeply sloped
gravel and clay. This was first crop from this vineyard. Lovely
ripe, sweet pear and mango notes with some peach and apricot. Ripe
and sweet, this shows lovely depth of fruit with fine, well
integrated acidity. Amazing depth here. Such a lovely wine. 92/100
Synchromesh Riesling Four Shadows Vineyard 2015 Okanagan
Valley, BC, Canada
10.6% alcohol. TA 11 g/l, pH 2.78, rs
36 g/l. Very fine and lemony with lovely precision. Textured and
fine, this shows lovely precision to the melon, pear and ripe apple
fruit. There's some richness here, but also lovely precision and
well integrated acidity. This has nice sweet, generous fruit, with
some peachiness, but it’s also fresh. Superb balance. 94/100
Synchromesh Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken Storm Haven
Vineyard 2010 Okanagan Valley, Canada
11.4% alcohol, TA
12.4 g/l, RS 25 g/l. Alan Dickinson's first wine. Just off dry, this
has lovely lemony precision with a bit of pith and spice. Lovely
focus to the fruit with some complexity and just a little
development. Dense with a touch of lime oil on the finish and a bit
of smoked lemon peel. Really pronounced acidity. 92/100
Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2011 Okanagan
9.3% alcohol, TA 12.1 g/litre, RS 55 g/l.
Really refined nose with flowers, lime, elderflower and grapefruit
pith. Sweet on the palate with amazingly vivid acidity, good
concentration and bright lemony fruit. Pure, clean and linear, and
with lots of potential for development. Such a good wine, with
amazing clarity. 93/100
Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2012 Okanagan
10% alcohol, pH 2.88, TA 12.7, RS 29.1 g/l. Beautifully aromatic
with ripe apples, wax, pineapple, honey and lemons, as well as a
hint of almond. So complex. The palate is really fresh with keen
acidity and nut and wax complexity. Lively and a bit pithy, this
tastes drier than the analysis would lead you to expect, and it’s
not as clean as some of the others, but it has such detail. Such
acidity too! 92/100
Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2013 Okanagan
8.2% alcohol, pH 2.68, TA 12.2, RS 35g/l.
Cork sealed from this vintage onwards. So pure, pristine and linear
with textured pear and citrus fruit. The high acidity (astonishingly
high, looking at the analysis) is well integrated into the wine,
with grapefruit, lemons and real delicacy. Such balance and purity,
with potential for development, and just a touch of honey on the
finish. World-class. 94/100
Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2014 Okanagan
9.4% alcohol, pH 2.63, TA 12.6 g/l, RS 35
g/litre. So pure, linear and fine, with well integrated acidity,
even though it's so high! Delicate and fine with amazing finesse.
There’s a smoothness to the citrus fruit, with a bit of grapefruit
alongside the lemon. Youthful but not at all aggressive, with real
harmony and purity. Refined and linear, and with incredible
potential. Just a touch of apple pie filling and mango richness
hidden away, but the lemony purity is the real driver. 95/100
Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2015 Okanagan
8.9% alcohol, pH 2.85, TA 10.95 g/l, RS
45.82 g/l. Very stony on the nose, with a gravelly edge to the
citrus fruit. Pithy, limey and intense with concentrated fruit. It's
so dense and focused right now it's hard to assess properly. It has
put on a bit of weight since the summer when I last tried it, but
there’s a lot more to come. Lovely, potentially. 93/100
Bob Hancock Vineyard: gently sloping gravelly clay facing south, 21B
Synchromesh Bob Hancock Riesling 2014 Okanagan Valley,
10.1% alcohol, pH 2.72, TA 10.2 g/l acid, RS 35.3
g/l. One of the last vineyards on the Northern tip of the Naramata
Bench this vineyard looks South, gently sloping over gravelly clay.
Lively and really fruity with some grapefruit and lemon as well as
stony minerality. Fresh and detailed with a bright personality.
Synchromesh Bob Hancock Riesling 2015 Okanagan Valley,
11.28% alcohol, pH 2.82, TA 10.8 g/l, RS 32.89
g/l. Fresh and direct with a hint of oyster shell on the nose,
alongside the lemony notes. The palate is really fresh and direct
with linear citrus fruit. There's a bit of pith and herbiness here,
as well as some structure. Really bright and focused. 91/100
Synchromesh Turtle Rock Farms Cabernet Franc 2012 Okanagan
13.2% alcohol. From Naramata Bench. Stony
and mineral with lovely gravelly blackcurrant and black cherry
fruit. Sweet berries and cherries. Sweet and bright with lovely
supple, juicy berry fruits. Supple and a bit leafy: this is
benchmark Cabernet Franc. 92/100
Synchromesh Turtle Rock Farms Cabernet Franc 2014 Okanagan
13.4% alcohol. From Naramata Bench.
Fresh, vital and detailed with a green-tinged blackcurrant
character. Gravelly, spicy and nicely savoury with good
concentration of fruit. Fresh and detailed with nice acidity. 92/100
Ontario's wine regions, Canada (series)
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