I can finally call it: it’s summer, which means it’s cottage season. Last week I went up to a cottage with my boyfriend for a few days. Before we left, I thought long and hard about a perfect white wine for the cottage until it came to me – Riesling. Now, before you start closing this browser screen, hear me out me – Riesling is not the too-sweet white wine you think it is. It got a bad reputation in the 1970s and 1980s thanks in part to the German Wine Law of 1971, when the wine making laws in Germany changed so that the quality of the wine was dependent on must weight, which is the amount of sugar the grape juice contains at harvest. Most wine laws have to do with terroir aka the surrounding environment of the grape. The logic is that some grapes grow better in specific locations, and different environments help create different flavours in the wine. There’s a reason why a German Riesling made in 2011 tastes different than an Ontario Riesling produced in the same year, and that’s part of what makes wine (and writing about wine) so intoxicating; there’s a complexity to both the production of wine and the drinking of it.
A good Riesling is tart, it’s refreshing, and we can get it right in our own backyard. Yes, Riesling is one of the best wines we can grow in Ontario. That’s because it’s a resilient grape that fairs well in both extreme heat and cold. Cave Springs makes a great Reisling. It is located in the Beamsville Bench, in Jordan Ontario and is just over an hour away from downtown Toronto – traffic permitting.
All this talk of wine is getting me really thirsty; so let’s get down to wine-y business.
The Wine: Cave Springs Riesling Dry
Grape Variety: Riesling
Cave Springs Riesling Dry is tart – it’s like biting into a granny smith apple and then having the apple explode with gooseberry and buttery undertones. I find this wine is best when it has warmed up a bit; so the more you drink it, the more the flavours come out. This also makes it the perfect wine for sipping whether you are on your deck, relaxing on the dock or out on a boat. What I love about this Riesling is that it has the body and the weight of a Chardonnay, without the traditional Chardonnay oakiness. It’s bold, but it’s still fresh. Rieslings are very clean and crisp wines, with sweeter Rieslings having more peach flavours and dryer ones more grapefruit and citrus flavours.
Pro Tip: Rieslings go well with spicy dishes; so if you love hot flavours, grab a bottle of Riesling and a bottle of hot sauce and go to town.
Okay, back to the wine in my hand: I can’t believe how well the Riesling goes with the cottage air. The floral aroma and the fresh scents of trees and the lake make for an intoxicatingly good combo. We really are lucky that we have both wine and cottage country just a few hours away from the city. You can choose your own summer adventure in our own big backyard!
If you are going up to a cottage anytime soon be sure to grab a bottle or five, and while you’re at it, invite me along – I make a great cottage guest. All I need is a hammock and a big glass of Cave Springs, and you won’t even know I’m there.
The Final Wine Word: 4 bottles out of 5
Until next time, Happy Wine-ing