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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Aug 20: Vertical Tasting of Semi-Dry Riesling Wines at Vineland Estates


The Date and Time:  Monday, August 20, 2012    8:45 AM to 6PM

The Event: a day long excursion to Vineland Estates in Niagara, for a tasting of Semi-Dry Riesling wines from the past, a lunch, and a sampling of new releases at the tasting room, plus a quick tour of the vineyards.

The Venue: Vineland Estates in Vineland (

The Target Audience: Wine Writers' Circle of Canada members. The Toronto members came down on a Vineland bus; local Niagara members came with their cars.

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available at the winery, some are at the LCBO, the older wines are not necessarily available, but do see below for some older wines that are,

The Quote/Background: Brian Schmidt, VP and Winemaker, took us through the tasting of the Semi-Dry Rieslings and answered any questions on the other wines at our lunch.

The Wines: We began with two Bruts, then seven Rieslings (in their St. Urbain vineyard), followed by oysters and then lunch, with half a dozen more wines, followed by what we each wanted to taste at the tasting bar.


**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Vineland Estates Semi-Dry Riesling Reserve 2004

-Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc 2010, 12.95

-Vineland Estates Chenin Blanc 2011, $16.95

-Vineland Estates Elevation Cabernet 2009, $25

-Vineland Estates Chardonnay Reserve 2009, $35

-Vineland Estates Brut Riesling 2008, $22.95


***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Vineland Estates Semi-Dry Riesling 1989 [from ten year old vines]

-Vineland Estates Semi-Dry Riesling 1995

-Vineland Estates St. Urbain Riesling 2002

-Vineland Estates Elevation Riesling 2011, $19.95

-Vineland Estates Chardonnay Unoaked 2011, $12.95

-Vineland Estates Cabernet Merlot 2011, $15

-Vineland Estates Pinot Meunier 2011, $17.95

-Vineland Estates Chenin Blanc 2007, $16.95

-Vineland Estates Sauvignon Blanc 2009, $16.95

-Vineland Estates Elevation Sauvignon Blanc 2008, $19.95

-Vineland Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2007, $40

-Vineland Estates Meritage Reserve 2007, $85

-Vineland Estates Brut Reserve 2008, $19.95


*** GOOD -- Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Vineland Estates Semi-Dry Riesling 1993

-Vineland Estates Elevation Riesling 2008, $19.95

-Vineland Estates Semi-Dry Riesling 2009, $13.95

-Vineland Estates Fume Blanc Reserve 2007, $25

-O'Leary Unoaked Chardonnay 2011, $14.95


Older Semi-Dry Riesling wines still available (but not tasted by me) at Vineland include the 1992 ($30), the 1994 ($30), the 198 ($30), the 1999 ($30), the 2000 ($25) and the 2004 ($25). There is also a range of Dry Riesling from 1996 ($30) to 1999 ($30) to 2004-5-6 ($25 each). Well-recommended to taste as a vertical.


The Food: with the fabulous cured salmon and mozzarella/tomato appetizer we had the 2009 Semi-Dry Riesling (9% ABV, $13.95). With the stunning pickerel and bok choy, we had the 2011 O'Leary Chardonnay (12% ABV, $14.95) and the Chardonnay Unoaked 2011 (12.5% ABV, $12.95). The cheese platter had a local sheep a blue, and a cheddar, to augment the 2010 O'Leary Cabernet Merlot ($14.95), the 2009 Cabernet Elevation ($25) and the 2010 Cabernet Franc ($12.95). I unfortunately missed most of the grilled local peach dessert (I was at the tasting bar), which was complemented with a 2008 Riesling Icewine.

The Contact Person: or

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 94.

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