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Okanagan-Taste

Celebrate Riesling Day

Have a quick look around the interwebs and you’ll find a celebratory day or month for just about any dish, ingredient, or drink.

Case in point: Saturday, March 13, is International Riesling Day, marking the date in 1453 on which Germany’s most important grape was first mentioned in a written document, the cellar log of one Count Katzenelnbogen in the Rheingau region.

In prior years, Wines of Germany has held Riesling birthday parties around the world for this auspicious occasion. This year? Hashtag #rieslingday or #rieslingbirthday to celebrate virtually online.

Riesling is a versatile grape, ranging from austere, bone dry bottles to lusciously sweet ones. Stone fruits, apples, pears are typical orchard aromas, coupled with honeycomb, citrus zest, and a distinct petrol note.

The latter can make this grape easy to identify, usually, if you’re trying to impress people at a blind tasting.

Perhaps maligned by some for being too sweet — avoid cheap mass-produced imports — it is a remarkable grape that seems to absorb the terroir it comes from.

Line up bottles from France’s Alsace region, Germany’s Mosel, Australia’s Clare Valley, and the Okanagan and it won’t take long to sniff and taste the differences.

Speaking of sweet, Riesling makes a mighty fine icewine; a good bottle begins with lush peach and apricot flavours and finishes with a surprise of acidity.

Suggested food pairings are just as versatile as the grape itself:

  • Tart, citrusy Riesling with a Vietnamese-inspired spicy shrimp and noodle salad
  • Lightly sweet Riesling with baked honey ham or pork chops
  • Full-bodied Riesling with a rich roast chicken dish

Here are a few of my favourites to seek out for Saturday night, or ask your local wine shop staff for a suggestion if these are sold out.

Ask if newly released vintages have arrived for spring. Enjoy!

Upper Bench 2019 Riesling: awarded the 2020 Lieutenant Governor’s award for wine of the year. Slightly
off-dry, yet crisp, with gooseberry and orange zest notes.

CedarCreek 2018 Riesling: a tiny portion of this bright Riesling was fermented in French Oak, giving it a nice, subtle roundness. Juicy acidity on the finish.

Quails’ Gate 2019 Dry Riesling: From 30-year-old vines. A crisp, dry bottle with intriguing minerality. A white wine that is age worthy.

Monte Creek Ranch 2018 Riesling: Lemon zest and floral notes lead to lemon, green apple, and lime flavours with a flinty finish.

Synchromesh 2019 Storm Haven Dry Riesling: One of the go-to wineries for Riesling. Honeycomb and apricot notes on the nose, complex lime, pepper, and apple flavours.

Wild Goose 2019 Riesling: A classic Riesling, beginning with fruit forward and aromatic floral notes, finishing with spice, citrus, and minerality on the palate.

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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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