Riesling tends to be one of those wines people either love or hate.

Those who love it, call Riesling the king of white wines and revel in its perfumed nose, racy acidity and lush fruit and honeyed flavours.

Those who avoid it fear it's flabby, sweet and cloying.

Such people have to try Riesling again to be converted to lovers of the varietal.

Quality modern interpretations of the wine always balance Riesling's lush fruit and natural sweetness with bright acidity for a drink that's divine on its own or incredibly food-friendly paired with anything from cheese to spicy Indian.

There's a bit of a Riesling resurgence going on in the Okanagan.

At the recent B.C. Lieutenant Governor Wine Awards at the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, two of the 12 platinum-medal-winning wines were Reislings.

The 2018 Pioneer Block Riesling ($18) from Harper's Trail in Kamloops is an off-dry, but balanced, expression of apple, pear, lime and flint.

My wife, Kerry, made coq au Riesling (chicken in creamy Riesling white wine sauce) using the Harper's Trail vintage for us to savour with even more Harper's Trail Riesling.

The 2018 Qwam Qwmt Riesling ($24) from Nk'Mip has a peach, lime and honey profile.

I most recently enjoyed the Qwam at The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry restaurant at Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos paired with seared scallops.

Spirit Ridge is located right next door to Nk'Mip and its restaurant's wine list has many Nk'Mip options.

Harper's Trail had another Riesling win, a silver medal at the B.C. Lieutenant Governor Awards.

The 2018 Silver Mane Block Riesling ($18) is also off-dry, but with a snappy minerality, that lets its aromas and flavours of pineapple and peach shine.

Another silver winner at the awards is the 2018 Riesling ($18) from Fort Berens, the first winery in Lillooet.

It's off-dry, but nicely balanced by glowing acidity, to highlight its caramelized apple, lychee, honey and grapefruit profile.

The Fort Berens Riesling has also won a slew of other awards this year including best of class at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition in San Bernardino, California, gold at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition, gold at the Great Northwest International Wine Competition in Hood River, Oregon, and silver at the National Wine Competition of Canada.

Fort Berens also makes a 2018 Dry Riesling ($19) in limited quantities, so it doesn't enter it in contests.

However, it's equally as exceptional with aromas and flavours of apple, orange peel and lime backed up by lip-smacking minerality.

We can't talk about Riesling without mentioning Germany, the varietal's native land.

So, my wife and I had to try the Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Riesling ($27) from Germany's renowned Mosel Valley.

The rocky slate soil of the Mosel imparts a pleasant minerality that's almost salty to an off-dry, but balanced, wine that also features a smoky-floral nose and glazed apricot, melon and peach cobbler flavours.

The German beauty is imported by Renaissance Wine Merchants and is available at most government liquor stores.


To celebrate its 15th birthday, Waterfront Restaurant+Wine Bar in Kelowna is pulling out all the stops with a six-course, wine-paired dinner Nov. 4.

Since it opened its doors Nov. 4, 2004, Waterfront has been a hit with locals and visitors alike for its early adoption of the farm-to-table movement.

The Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards honoured Waterfront as best in the Okanagan for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years.

"While new restaurants continue to pop up, none can match (chef and owner Mark) Filatow's blend of artistry and inventiveness all wrapped in a cloak of informality," wrote Vancouver Magazine one year.

Filatow, who is also a sommelier, is keeping the menu and wine list secret.

Although he does promise it will "showcase the essence of the Okanagan, bring together amazing food with outstanding wines."

He gives a couple more hints with talk of "our favourite dishes, alongside a few gems from our wine cellar."

Waterfront has been in the same cosy location for 15 years at 1180 Sunset Dr. downtown near Prospera Place.

However, Filatow has expanded the concept by opening Waterfront Cafe & Catering at 2245 Abbott St.

Only 50 tickets are being sold for $150 for the 15th anniversary dinner.

Email info@waterfrontrestaurant.ca or call 250-979-1222 to reserve.


Admittedly, I've never been to France's Loire Valley.

But I image it’s beautiful, just like La Petite Perriere 2017 Sauvignon Blanc ($17).

The grapes for the wine were grown on the slopes and plateaus that line the Loire River, where soils are chalky, limestone and clay.

That, combined with the sunny summers and mild autumn of the region, results in grapes that produce a Sauv Blanc with a white flower nose and flavours of green apple, peach and lychee.

La Petite Perriere is a prime example.

The wine is imported by Renaissance Wine Merchants and is available only in select private liquor stores in the Okanagan like Urban Liquor at 2395 Gordon Dr. in Kelowna.


Steve MacNaull is a reporter with The Okanagan Weekend. Reach him at steve.macnaull@ok.bc.ca. Also catch Steve's Okanagan Wine & Dine show exclusively on OkanaganValleyRadio.com on Saturdays at 11:15 a.m. If you miss it then, it's always in the podcast vault.