The Goods from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | Each with their own rich history in culinary excellence, David Paterson (Tantalus), John Weber (Orofino), Angus An (Maenam), and Kurtis Kolt (Maenam) have leveraged their collective experiences to craft a refreshing Riesling with character, grace, and a well-defined framework. This 2022 Riesling wine is affectionately named ‘The Riesling Project’ and is a marriage of B.C. terroir—50% grapes grown in the Similkameen Valley and 50% from the Okanagan Valley’s East Kelowna Slopes—born from an idea to create the ideal wine to pair with chef Angus An’s Thai food. Starting today, Tuesday, June 20, 2023, The Riesling Project is available exclusively at Maenam restaurant by the glass ($13) and bottle ($60), and included in a wine pairing flight ($48) to Maenam’s multi-course Chef’s Menu.
“Kurtis and I chose Riesling for this wine project because it is a natural pairing for Asian cuisine and spicy food,” explains An. “We prefer Rieslings with complexity and structure—we wanted to create a wine with a little backbone to pair with our food—not flabby or linear. I believe we have achieved that with Orofino and Tantalus.”
At his lauded restaurant in the seaside Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, An has offered authentic Thai cuisine incorporating exceptional hot, sour, sweet, and salty flavours to guests for over 14 years. With these elements in mind and some key Thai ingredients on the table, the four collaborators tasted through a myriad of Riesling components from Kelowna and Cawston—various vineyard plots, a little skin-contact here, a bit of barrel treatment there. They envisioned a dry-ish, multi-layered, juicy wine loaded with charisma, and the final blend is a pitch-perfect match for Maenam’s cuisine.
“Even after 20 plus years of producing Similkameen Valley Rieslings, the excitement remains, and when given the opportunity to collaborate with the people in this group, I’m all in,” shares Weber. “The wine shines on both regions in one package and is a home run with Chef Angus’s food. Fun project. Seriously good Riesling.”
The unique components for the juice from Orofino was compiled from two parcels of fruit from its sandy-loam Hendsbee site and the granite-based Crossroads Vineyards. A merging of a dry, crisp, and acid-driven juice blended with a healthy splash of a more textural, gently skin-contacted addition. The two lots indeed span the spectrum of Orofino’s winemaking style.
“We jumped at the chance to collaborate with Maenam, Kurtis, and Orofino on this rare project to explore how our terroir intersects alongside Orofino’s,” said Paterson. “A phenomenal exercise and the result is such an expressive, textured assemblage of both our terroirs and winemaking styles—a perfect fit for Angus’s bold cuisine.”
Tantalus fruit was sourced from a late-picked ‘Block 4′ grown on silty soils, bringing a quintessential pure and high-toned mineral expression to the wine. The remaining selection was then made up of a small component of Tantalus’ annual ‘Riesling Lab’ hard-pressed juice, all fermented wild in old Chardonnay barrels, providing great texture to the resulting wine. A cheeky two percent of the final overall blend was a small dash of Gewurztraminer, which offers a wonderful floral lift.
The Riesling Project’s aromatics are abundant, with salty sea air bringing notes of jasmine, lime zest, and fresh-sliced Granny Smith apples. The palate is textured and complex, with flavours of muddled lemon, juicy pomelo, Red Haven peach, and a clever pinch of honeycomb on the finish. For more information about The Riesling Project, please visit therieslingproject.com and follow @therieslingproject on Instagram.