2017 Wagner Vineyards “Select” Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York, USA (12.5% Alcohol, 41 g/l Residual Sugar) LCBO Vintages $24.95 (750ml bottle)

This 2017 “Select” from Wagner is a bloody complex beast. Although I am often drawn to more linear Rieslings, this release really shocked me with its multilayered bouquet. Four years have brought a lot to this wine, as with its evolution has come a whole barrowload of complex aromatics (apricot, green apple, canned pear, raw honeycomb, elderflower, clementine, magnolia, musk). The palate is also not to be sniffed at (pun intended), deliciously crisp, even with that sugar, just the way a well-made Riesling should be. I’m rarely disappointed by Wagner’s Rieslings, and this particular vintage is a real beauty. I’d love to revisit it in a couple of years to see how much more it can evolve.

4.5 apples out of 5
(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)

2017 Single Wheel “Patrician Verona Vineyard” Riesling, Finger Lakes, Cayuga Lake A.V.A., New York, USA (12.4% Alcohol, 16 g/l Residual Sugar) LCBO Vintages $33.95 (750ml bottle)

A cool climate single vineyard off-dry Riesling with a little bit of age on it? Yes please! I have no shame in my love for Riesling with a bit of RS, as I’m a great believer in the cliché about Riesling being all about balance, and this one hits that equilibrium right on the head. It actually comes off a lot drier in the palate than the numbers would have you believe, as is the case with many a well-crafted Riesling. Look for loads of zesty lemon/lime here, followed by a lip-smackingly crisp palate, with an almost powdery chalkiness that leads out to an exemplary extended dusty mineral finish. A terrific example of New World Riesling that may be one of the very best I have tasted from the Finger Lakes.

(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)

NV Brotherhood “I Love NY” Red Wine, New York, USA (12% Alcohol, 12 g/l Residual Sugar) LCBO Vintages $13.95 (750ml bottle)

I’ve been known to run a mile from cooler climate red blends with Baco included (I’m looking at you, Ontario!), but the Baco Noir in this particular medium-bodied bottling from America’s oldest winery, Brotherhood, sits rather nicely alongside the Cabernet and Merlot to create a simple, juicy, fun red wine that’s just great for the summer months; it shows particularly well chilled down a bit. Expect vibrant red fruit with cracked black pepper with a touch of plumminess on the extremely smooth palate. There are no jagged tannins to scare anyone off here, just some really enjoyable juice and a very accessible pricepoint. This may well turn out to be my barbecue wine of the season…

3.5 apples out of 5
(Three and a half apples out of a possible five)

All three of these wines are WIDELY available throughout Ontario… please check the LCBO website for distribution.


Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’s always a sucker for NY Rieslings… and that red was fun.