After Den’s passing in 2016, we knew we needed to make a wine to celebrate his contribution - not only to Tantalus, but to our industry as a whole. Having owned and operated Pioneer Vineyards in South East Kelowna for several decades (where Tantalus now sits), Den established some of the earliest vinifera in Canada, planting Riesling sourced from the Weis family of Mosel's St. Urban-Hofs winery back in 1978. He then went on to plant parcels of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier in the mid-80’s, bucking the trend towards hybrids and experimenting with riskier, noble varieties at the time.
95 POINTS - David Lawrason, WineAlign.com
94 POINTS - Bruce Wallner, WineAlign.com93 POINTS - Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail
92 POINTS - Anthony Gismondi, The Vancouver Sun
We at Tantalus credit Den, along with his wife Pat and daughter Sue, with much of our early success, not only for laying the foundation for what we farm today, but for the immeasurable, sage advice he passed along over the years. From tying vines in the Spring, to tasting ferments with our winemaking team, to spending hours on the tractor mowing rows - Den was heavily involved in our operations and his wealth of farming knowledge has enriched our practices.
Anyone who crossed paths with him was touched by his sharp wit, infectious smile and caring heart and it is our privilege to continue his legacy of grape growing and winemaking on this piece of land today. We are honoured to pay tribute to him with a wine we are most certain he would have loved.
A pale gold in colour, this wine is brimming with bright aromas of preserved apricot, ripe peach, honeycomb and white cherry. Notes of flint, caramel and marmalade are beginning to reveal themselves, a result of the two year bottle age before release. Fresh pear, warm citrus and roasted pineapple emerge on the palate, bolstered by a chalky texture and nervy minerality. This wine is built for decades.
The fruit for this 2016 Riesling was selected from a handful of rows of our Block 5, Clone 21B 1978 Riesling plantings. Clusters were handpicked and upon reaching the cellar, gently whole-bunch pressed. Fermented wild, in neutral oak puncheons at 12 to 15 degrees Celsius.
Fermentation was then arrested in the first window of balance, paying homage to Den’s love of sweetness and made in a Mosel Spatlese style, inspired by the origin of the parent material planted. Bottling occurred after five months on lees. The wine was then aged for two years in bottle before its release.
The 2016 growing season started off quickly. Bud break was record breaking and the ensuing Spring growth was rapid. Despite the early start to the season, cooling summer rains soon arrived and slowed growth down to a more normal pace. Late summer and early fall turned warm and sunny once again, but with cooler than usual evenings the fruit was able to ripen evenly despite the warm daytime temperatures. The 2016 harvest kept us on our toes with a long, drawn out ripening phase and gave us one of the longest harvest windows to date..