The judgement of BC
Pinot Noir and Riesling from
British Columbia, Canada, tasted blind against
Last year, to
celebrate the visit of Stephen Spurrier to the Okanagan Valley, the
BC Wine Institute hosted an event curated by local wine expert DJ
Kearney, titled The Judgement of BC. It pitted Syrah and Chardonnay
from British Columbia against global benchmarks.
In June 2016
this exercise was repeated, with different varieties: Riesling and
Pinot Noir. As I was in town for the National Wine Awards of Canada,
I got to taste too, along with fellow overseas judge Elaine Brown.
As well as the two of us, there were 29 Canadian wine professionals
tasting. We were tasting completely blind: all we knew was that half
the wines were from BC, and half were international.
DJ Kearney (above)
had picked an impressive line-up, and when the identity of the wines
was revealed, I think we were all quite surprised.
significance here isn’t who ‘won’; rather, it is that the BC wines
really seemed to belong in this peer group.
doesn’t reveal the full truth of a wine, of course. There are some
wines here that I’d have liked more if I’d known their identity.
Then, some of the clues given in the blind tasting would have made
more sense. Of course, tasting blind keeps you honest. But it’s easy
to misread certain wines.
given the results as decided by the group vote. But I have also
given my own scores and rankings. I think there was more agreement
with Riesling. For Pinot Noir, style issues are hard to separate
from quality judgements, and there was more variation.
was a really interesting exercise and it was great to be able to
take part in it. Prices given here are local market retail in CA$.
RIESLING RESULTS ORDER
Max Ferd. Richter Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2013 |
Mosel Valley, Germany | 9% | $42.99
My position: 1. Some botrytis. Rich apricot, melon and spice notes.
Complex and broad with lovely acidity. 93/100
Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2014 BC VQA | Okanagan Valley, BC | 12.2%
My position: 2. Pure and direct with lovely focused citrus fruit.
Nicely balanced: pure, crisp, linear and integrated. 92/100
3. Wild Goose
Stoney Slope Riesling 2013 BC VQA | Okanagan Falls, BC | 13.3% | $20
My position: 3. Very fruity and lively and pure with nice acidity.
Generous melon edge to the citrus fruit. Such balance. 92/100
Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling 2013 | Columbia Valley
AVA, Washington State | 12% | $29.49
My position: 11. Rounded, sweet, waxy and honeyed with rich melon
and pear fruit, as well as some apples and grapes. 88/100
5. Leeuwin Art
Series Riesling 2012 | Margaret River, Australia | 12% | $42.49
My position: 8. Developed nose showing a limey, spicy character.
Crisp and focused with good acidity. A bit pithy. 89/100
Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Riesling 2015 | Okanagan Falls, BC
| 8.9% | $35
My position: 4. Off-dry and smooth with high acidity. Complex
honeyed, grapey edge to the sweet, lively fruit. Lovely tension
Decora Riesling 2015 BC VQA | Okanagan Valley, BC | 13.5% | $26.99
My position: 7. Astonishing acidity. Very lively and intense with
super-fresh, precise lemony fruit. Very pure. 90/100
8. Pewsey Vale
Eden Valley Riesling 2014 | South Australia | 12% | $19.99
My position: 6. Direct and pithy with lovely citrus fruit and a bit
of honey. Textured and dry with some generosity. 90/100
9. Robert Weil
Kiedricher Riesling Trocken 2012 | Rheingau, Germany | 11.5% |
My position: 5. Complex and lemony with high acidity and lovely
fruitiness. Vivid, intense, pithy and direct. 90/100
Old Vines Riesling 2013 BC VQA | Okanagan Valley, BC | 13.1% |
My position: 12. Sweet honeyed nose with rounded tangerine and lemon
fruit. Fresh, but has a waxy, pithy, slightly oily edge to it.
Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling 2013 BC VQA | Similkameen Valley, BC |
12% | $22
My position: 9. Lively and focusedwith fresh citrus fruit to the
fore. Lemons and tangerines, with high acidity and an open fruity
Riesling 2012 | Alsace, France | 12.5% | $35.99
My position: 10. Very taut and lemony with some pithy notes. Herbs
and citrus fruit, with a bit of nuttiness and some apple. Strong.
PINOT NOIR RESULT ORDER
Bouchard Père Premier Cru Beaune Clos de la Mousse Monopole 2012 |
Burgundy, France | 13% | $66.99
My position: 6. Fresh and supple with a savoury edge to the cherry
and plum fruit. Some tannic grip. Old world style with cherries,
cedar and plums. Probably Burgundy. 89/100
Bachelder Oregon Pinot Noir 2012 | Willamette Valley AVA Oregon, USA
| 14% | $49.99
My position: 9. Supple, ripe, generous and rich with sweet black
cherries and plums. A broad, ripe style with generous plum and
cherry fruit. Ripe and easy. 87/100
Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2014 | Central Otago, New Zealand | 14%
My position: 1. Supple and fresh with lush black cherry and
blackberry fruit. Ripe and appealing with nice smooth tannins.
Bright and quite floral with some grip. So pretty. 93/100
Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir 2014 BC VQA | Summerland, Okanagan
Valley, BC | 13% | $39.90
My position: 3. Supple, fresh and pure with nice bright fruit. A
lighter style of Pinot with fresh red cherry and plum fruit. 92/100
Family Reimer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 BC VQA | Okanagan Valley, BC
| 13.5% | $40
My position: 5. Sweet and broad with nice juicy fruit. Quite dense,
showing spice and herbs, and a savoury dimension, too. 90/100
Gate Richard's Block Pinot Noir 2013 BC VQA | Okanagan Valley, BC |
14% | $55.17
My position: 8. Rounded, ripe and textured, with smooth, rich black
cherry and plum fruit, as well as some blackberry. Appealing. 88/100
Mountain Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 BC VQA | Okanagan Falls,
BC | 12.5% | $39.90
My position: 7. Lively and bright with fresh, slightly tarry spice
and olive-laced black cherry and plum fruit. 89/100
Liger-Belair Bourgogne Les Grands Chaillots 2012 | Burgundy, France
| 13% | $65.99
My position: 10. Supple and perhaps a bit minty with fresh raspberry
and cherry fruit. There’s some grip here: juicy and focused, and
quite tannic. Some greenness. 87/100
Reserve En Famille Pinot Noir 2012 BC VQA | Naramata, Okanagan
Valley, BC | 13.6% | $29.90
My position: 4. Fresh and vivid with bright raspberry and cherry
fruit. Quite primary with lovely fruit focus. Pure and direct.
BK Wines Skin n'Bones Pinot Noir 2013 | Lenswood, Adelaide Hills,
South Australia | 12.5% | $39.99
My position: 11. Hint of mint on the nose with olives, herbs,
cherries and rhubarb. Savoury with some pepperiness. Quite grippy.
Pinot Noir 2013 BC VQA | Naramata, Okanagan Valley, BC | 13.1% |
My position: 2. Vital and lively with lovely black cherry fruit and
some meat and olive notes. Lovely depth of fruit here with a warm,
grainy texture. A generous, ripe style with real appeal. 92/100
Pinot Noir 2014 | California, USA | 13.7% | $25.99
My position. 12. Very ripe and sweet with some spicy oak underneath
the sweet, ripe, slightly jammy fruit. A ripe Californian style.
Canada's BC wine regions (series)
Ontario's wine regions (series)
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