Ezra Cipes, son of founder Stephen Cipes, is CEO of Summerhill Pyramind Winery, just up from Lakeshore Road in Kelowna. On any given summer day, you can look down from the restaurant balcony, see the lake in the not-so-far distance, and, almost right beneath your feet, some rows of well-kept vines. This is where Summerhill Vineyard Riesling ($30) comes from.
Riesling remains to this day a somewhat underappreciated variety. That is in part due to the vast range of styles it can be rendered into, from the classic stony flinty wines of the Alsace in France, through the amazing, fruity, generous, and delicate wines of the various regions in Germany, and on through New World iterations that can in the end be bewildering to work through. But in the hands of good grape growers and winemakers, Riesling is a delight: great with food (especially spicy food), and capable of growing old gracefully, if you have the patience to lay a bottle down once in awhile.
The grape generally yields a less alcoholic wine, as well, making it pretty much perfect to sip on, chilled and wafting its tropical fruit notes, while you continue your journey through the entire catalogue of wonderfulness we call The Simpsons. That’s a lot of episodes, and therefore, thankfully, a lot of riesling.
Ezra sits back, contemplates his glass, looks at the bottle before him. “It is basically a Spätlese style, reasonably sweet, but with the fantastic acidity the Germans do so well, to make it all balanced.” It is a special wine, from a special plot of land, planted to vines over two decades ago, a great example of what magical things can happen for Okanagan wine.