Have you ever been curious about the range of rieslings? When visitors join us at our tastings bars at the wine Pavilion on Pelee Island or at our Kingsville Winery, we like to include one of our delicious rieslings in the line up. Often we receive an “I’m sorry, I don’t like sweet wines” in response. We’re here to share that although yes, riesling does make a wonderful dessert wine, its style and sugar content vary greatly from one wine to another.
Riesling is very tolerant of cold winters and buds late. This means it avoids damage from spring frosts making it very suitable for cool climates. An added bonus is that it is good to leave on the vine late into harvest season. It is in this grape growing cycle that the winemakers work in most of their adjustments as to how to the finesse the style for the riesling they will be making.
Grapes develop sugar only while they are on the vine. As soon as they are harvested, sugar production stops. If a winemaker is looking to make a dry Riesling, they will pick the grapes early in harvest. If they want a sweeter wine they will leave the grapes longer on the vine.
Depending on the wine making style, riesling ranges from dry and refreshing with lots of minerality to lusciously sweet and full bodied with lots of ripe tropical fruit with all the shades in between. Riesling is such a versatile grape thanks to its high acidity. When it’s made dry , it’s refreshing like lemonade. When it’s made sweet, the acidity adds balance and character.
Here’s how our Pelee Island Rieslings fit on that spectrum:
Lighthouse Riesling VQA 145417- Dry, Light and Crisp 9 G/L
Pale straw in colour. With a fragrant aroma that opens the nose to ripe orchard apples this is a rich tasting and zesty white wine. The balance of acidity and residual sugar will dance on the palate with this Riesling.
Pair with: Lemongrass BBQ pork with rice- vermicelli salad or fried shrimp with bacon.
Lighthouse Semi Sweet Riesling VQA 470526 – Semi Sweet & fruity 39 G/L
Pale lemon in colour. The nose will open to a fragrant orchard fresh aroma with delicate notes of citrus and peach. Fruity and clean in texture moving smoothly across the palate into a long expressive finish. Won Gold in the 2017 Challenge International Du Vin
Pair with: Spiced duck leg, Indian dhaal curry or soft cow’s milk cheese.
Late Harvest Riesling VQA South Islands 136010- Semi Sweet Aromatic and Flavourful 41G/L
Pale lemon in colour. The intense bouquet is laced with hints of peach, nectarine, and lime. The fresh, crisp acidity is complimented by the honeyed late harvest character. It is an ideal balance of cool climate acidity with a fragrant orchard-fresh aroma and a delicate peach bouquet.
Pair with: Lemon or honey cheesecake, roasted duck with apple dressing, sausage stuffed jalapeños with blue cheese or spicy jambalaya.
P.S- If you love blue cheese Pelee Island Late Harvest Riesling and some blue cheese is a life changing pairing. It is temporarily available in select LCBO stores as a Vintage Limited Release.
Riesling makes a great sparkling and is very rarely oaked. It also is a lovely grape to combine with other varietals. You can try these Pelee Island Winery favourites: ECO Vidal Riesling VQA, Tailwind Gewürztraminer Riesling VQA and Forward Crisp Pinot Grigio Riesling.
We hope you enjoyed this guide to Pelee Island Riesling and enjoy a glass of Pelee Riesling with whatever you’re eating tonight!
Pssttt… Don’t forget while you’re here to sign up for our Birthday Club and receive a $20 Gift Voucher for your birthday!