Niagara Riesling: some treats from Cave Spring, Flat Rock and Vineland

Angelo Pavan

On my mini-trip to Niagara last week I got to try a few very nice Rieslings that served to remind me just how well this grape variety does in Niagara. I tasted some Cave Spring Rieslings at dinner with Angelo Pavan (pictured above), then squeezed in a quick tasting of some older Rieslings with Ed Madronich and Jennifer Hart, and then caught up with Brian Schmidt at Vineland for a whizz through their latest releases.

Cave Spring CSV

Cave Spring Riesling CSV 2015 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
From plantings in 1975 and 1978. Very pure and delicate with lovely citrus fruits and some fine pear character. Quite dry wuth lovely precision. Subtle and fine with a delicate crystalline character. 92/100

Cave Spring Riesling CSV 2007 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
Complex and intense with lovely peach and nectarine richness, as well as sweet lemony fruit. There’s a trace of sweetness here, and this is generous but fresh with lovely purity. 93/100

Cave Spring Riesling CSV 2005 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
So complex with lively, pure citrus fruit and some bitter grapefruit pith characters. Nicely spicy with some richness and a hint of mint. Distinctive stuff. 93/100

Flat Rock Cellars

Flat Rock Nadja’s Riesling 2007 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
This is a drier style of Riesling made from a higher portion of the vineyard where the dolomitic limestone is close to the surface. Complex and a bit waxy with some nuts and lanolin. Lively with a bit of pithiness and nice evolution with a lovely mineral character and great acidity. Lovely complexity with an amazing finish. 93/100

Flat Rock Nadja’s Riesling 2004 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
There’s a subtle creaminess here. Some mineral character under the citrus fruit, and lovely lemony delicacy. Has sweet fruit with good textured and delicacy, showing refined acidity. 93/100

Flat Rock Nadja’s Riesling 2013 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
Very linear and pure with delicacy and precision. Lovely fine, pure lemony fruit. Lots of potential here. 92/100

Flat Rock Estate Riesling 2006 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
This is 19 g/l sugar and pH 3.24. It has lovely weight. Off dry with a seamless purity and hints of honey and lemon. Quite mineral with lovely citrus fruit. 92/100

Flat Rock Estate Riesling 2008 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
37 g/litre sugar, pH 2.8. Amazing acidity here: lemony and intense with a fine spiciness. There’s some sugar here but it tastes just off dry because of the acid. So intense and pure, and quite lovely. 93/100

vineland riesling

Vineland Dry Riesling 2016 Niagara, Canada
3.8 g/l sugar. Lovely freshness here with bright lemony fruit. So linear with keen acidity and a stony edge to the fruit. Pristine, pure and expressive, this is a real steal and will age beautifully. 90/100 (CA$15)

Vineland Semi-Dry Riesling 2016 Niagara, Canada
The flagship wine of Vineland. 10.8% alcohol, 20 g/l residual sugar. This is so pretty. It’s off dry with a steely edge to the lemony fruit and some subtle melon and honey notes. Has a bit of tangerine character on the finish. So pretty. 89/100 (CA$15)

Vineland Elevation St Urban Vineyard Riesling 2016 Niagara Escarpment, Niagara, Canada
1979 plantings. 37 g/l sugar. Concentrated and expressive with lovely transparent lemon and tangerine fruit, with a hint of apricot richness. Lovely mouthfeel and weight. Very stylish with good acidity nicely balanced with some sweetness. 91/100 (CA$20)

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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