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It's highly unlikely you and I will ever get a chance to sip 'wine of the year' 2018 Old Vines Riesling ($35) from Tantalus Winery in Southeast Kelowna.
You see, the pure, concentrated and mineraly Riesling won the highest honour at last night's BC Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards in Kelowna.
But Tantalus sold out of not just that wine, but all of its Rieslings, weeks ago.
"I know it's a shame," said Tantalus winemaker and general manager David Paterson.
"But that's what happens when you only make 320 cases of it, it's a pristine expression of Riesling and the vintage in the Okanagan and we had to submit to the awards four months ago."
There may be the odd private liquor store out there that still has a bottle or a restaurant or two might still have it in its wine list.
Paterson is animated when he speaks of the Old Vines Riesling, so named because the grapes used to make it come from vines planted in 1978, some of the oldest in the Okanagan.
"It's just off dry, but beautifully balanced by its acidity," he explained.
"It's power, balance and concentration with a profile of pineapple, green apple, lime and wet rocks with just a little bit of that petrol-diesel character."
Otherwise, we'll just have to imagine how exceptional the 2018 Tantalus Old Vines Riesling is.
One thing is for sure, this award, considered the most prestigious in the province, will spark a buying frenzy when Tantalus releases new Rieslings, including a sparkling Riesling, in the spring.
Tantalus sells most of its limited production from the winery's tasting room and shop, to its wine club members and a few select private liquor stores and restaurants.
Riesling has been on a tear at the BC Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards of late.
Last year, the 2019 Riesling from Upper Bench Winery & Creamery on the Naramata Bench snagged 'wine of the year.'
"Riesling performs well in the Valley," said Paterson.
"I think it's one of the best varietals in the Okanagan."
In fact, Paterson likes it so much that Tantalus, as a result, is a cool-climate Riesling and Pinot Noir specialist.
But, it also makes a mean Chardonnay.
Tantalus' 2018 Chard won a platinum medal at the same lieutenant governor's awards.
The BC Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards are held every year in early October as part of the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival.
Because of COVID, the awards again this year were virtual.
As well, all the other big in-person tastings, dinners and events of the festival had to be cancelled.
In addition, to 'wine of the year,' the BC Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards also granted 20 platinum medals and an array of gold and silver medals.
The platinum winners are:
- Arrowleaf Cellars – 2019 Riesling
- Burrowing Owl Estate Winery – 2019 Syrah
- CedarCreek Estate Winery – 2020 Platinum Home Block Rosé
- Chain Reaction Winery – 2019 Tailwind Pinot Gris
- Enrico Winery – 2020 Shining Armour Pinot Gris
- Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Winery – 2018 Estate Riesling Icewine
- Kismet Estate Winery – 2018 Cabernet Franc Reserve
- Liquidity Wines – 2020 Rosé
- Maan Farms Estate Winery – 2020 Raspberry Table Wine
- Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Terroir Collection Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc
- Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Perpetua
- Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2020 Original Vines Sémillon
- Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2018 Reserve Syrah
- Silhouette Estate Winery – N/V Boyd Classic Cuveé
- Silkscarf Winery – 2017 Syrah-Viognier
- SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Saddle Block
- SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Cuveé
- SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Golden Retreat
- Tantalus Vineyards – 2018 Chardonnay
- Three Sisters Winery – 2019 Rebecca
The full list of winners is here: www.thewinefestivals.com