Friday, November 19, 2010

An Old Viognier and a New Riesling Walk Into a Bar...

I'm sure there must be a joke somewhere in the title to this posting but... I'll just leave it for another occasion. The only thing that makes the Viognier "old" and the Riesling "new" for now is that we've already enjoyed a bottle of this vintage of the Viognier and it, therefore, can't be added to The List, while the Riesling is the first bottle to be added to The List from this particular winery - despite it being well-known in BC circles.

2007 La Frenz Viognier (Okanagan Valley)

I shouldn't be too surprised we've already opened one of these bottles. There are likely as many La Frenz wines that have been added to The List as there are for any one winery. Regular visitors to the blog likely know it's one of our favourites. The Viognier, in fact, has already been added for two vintages - the 2006 (at #28) and the 2007 (at #256). Neither one of those entries saw much of an opportunity to add much in the way of information though; so, maybe I'll expand a little - despite not adding a new number to The List.

As much as Viognier has quickly caught on as a popular varietal in BC (and North America), I find it can be made in all styles - much like a Riesling. This is definitely a rich and fruity one and, as such, is an easy sip - particularly with its slight sweetness.

The '07 obviously caught on with various competition tasting panels as well. Owner and winemaker, Jeff Martin, is known to only enter a couple of competitions a year, but this Viognier won a Gold Medal, "Best of BC" award and the "Best White Wine of Show" trophy at the 2008 North West Wine Summit. That entitled Jeff to enter the 2009 Winepress Northwest's Best of the Best Competition - where it won a further Platinum medal. The latter competition is perhaps the most prestigious in the Pacific Northwest.

That's got to be worth a few bragging rights. Too bad it was our last bottle.

I hadn't realized this when I grabbed the following bottle for dinner the next night but it turns out that this bottle has a pretty similar pedigree to the La Frenz.

646. 2008 Gehringer Brothers Estate - Private Reserve Riesling (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Although Gehringer Brothers is located on the Golden Mile right around Oliver (one of our favourite wine regions in the province) and it makes 22 wines under 6 brands, this is the first bottle that we're adding to The List.

Gehringer actually offers three distinct styling to its Rieslings - a dry, a less crisp general release and this reserve version which is flush with a nice touch of residual sugar.

Looks like there was a reason that this is one of the few bottles of Gehringer that I've picked up over the years. Much like the previous Viognier, this vintage of Riesling must have tickled the taste buds of more than a couple judging panels. Having won a Gold medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships (and a silver at the Northwest Summit), Gehringer entered it in the Winepress Northwest Best of the Best where it also walked away with a Platinum medal.

That was a bit of a fluke that we opened two Platinum winning wines in a row - especially since both were slightly off-dry. If only all the bottles we opened were so honoured.

Since I didn't realize the pedigrees of the two bottles when I chose them, I hadn't actually expected this entry to be as lengthy as it turned out to be. Accordingly, I think I'll have to commit to picking up another bottle of Gehringer Brothers so that I can discuss the winery a tad more down the road.

In the mean time, I suppose it might seem like we'll be back to more "pedestrian" wines after this.

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