For thanksgiving: 20 top Canadian wines


For thanksgiving: 20 top Canadian wines


So, it’s thanksgiving day in Canada on Monday. I’ve been to Canada a few times over the last couple of years, and tasted some lovely wines – and I’ve been very lucky to take part in the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada, which has given me a good overview of what’s going on here. So here are 20 that I’ve really liked, in no particular order.

Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
Textured and quite mineral, this Chardonnay shows real finesse with lovely ripe, spicy fruit with some complex mealy notes. Apparently, it took a year to complete its fermentation, and it’s really fine and expressive. 95/100

Haywire Switchback Vineyard ‘Wild Ferment’ Pinot Gris 2012 Okanagan Valley, Canada
So lovely: open and textured but still fresh, with mineral, smoky complexity and hints of grape, truffle and tangerine. Nice mouthfeel and texture, but it doesn’t sacrifice any freshness. This wine has an extra layer to it. 93/100

Norman Hardy County Chardonnay 2013 VQA Prince Edward County. Canada
Matchstick and spice on the nose. The palate is fresh and mealy with nice density and lively citrussy notes. Real presence on the palate with keen acidity and a mineral core. Pear and citrus. 94/100

Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2011 Niagara Peninsula, Canada
With a taut, mineral nose and a fresh lemony palate this is a really impressive, linear Chardonnay with amazing finesse and some good ‘matchstick’ reduction supporting the fruit. Stunning effort, especially considering this isn’t one of their top single-vineyard wines. 94/100

Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2013 Beamsville Bench, Niagara
Pure and lively with lovely grapefruit and lemon notes, showing good concentration and texture. Very focused and pure with some mineral notes and a lovely finish. 93/100

Queylus Grande Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 Niagara, Canada
Pure and sappy with elegant cherry fruit. Such finesse here: floral, fine, juicy and bright. There’s a fine spiciness and nice grip with real potential for future development. 95/100

Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir 2012 Niagara, Canada
Supple, sappy and a bit juicy with lovely sweet, ripe, textured red cherry and berry fruit. Very fine and lively with a lovely red cherry character and nice spiciness. Real finesse. 94/100

Redstone Merlot 2010 Niagara, Canada
Gravelly and smooth with nice textured blackberry and black cherry fruit. There’s a lovely graininess to the structure. Textural, fine and expressive. 94/100

Ravine Reserve Cabernet Franc Picone Vineyard 2011 Vinemount Ridge, Niagara, Canada
Sweet, with a hint of ginger spice and floral cherry aromatucs. A lovely supple wine with elegant sweet black fruits and lovely balance. 94/100

Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir 2011 Prince Edward County, Canada
12.5% alcohol. Pale cherry red colour. So expressive, pure and supple with red cherry and herb fruit and complex, fine, spicy notes. Real precision and elegance with a subtle meatiness under the silky cherry fruit. So supple and pure, with haunting perfume and real finesse. 95/100

Leaning Post Pinot Noir 2010 Niagara, Canada
This is from the Lowrey Vineyard. Very fine and supple with lovely spicy black cherry and plum fruit with some red cherry notes. Nicely textured with fine-grained spicy structure and some sappy detail. This is delicate and silky even in its bigness. 94/100

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012 Vancouver Island, Canada
Leafy, fresh and appealing with juicy red cherry fruit and lovely poise. Really pretty with a fine, leafy, sappy edge to the elegant, light, red cherry fruit. 93/100

Le Vieux Pin Cuvee Violette Syrah 2013 Okanagan Valley, Canada
Violet, pepper and olive nose is really appealing. Fine, expressive, meaty black fruits palate with a sweet core of fruit wrapped in bright peppery notes. Very elegant style. 93/100

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2013 Okanagan Valley, Canada
Very lively with apples, citrus and pear, as well as some herbal tones. The palate is precise with great acidity and good concentration. Notes of minerals and herbs. Dry with keen acid and real intensity. 93/100

Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 Okanagan, Canada
Supple and showing some evolution, with sweet berries and cherries. Real elegance on the palate with chalky, grainy mineral notes, fine tannins and subtle herbs. Elegance allied to ripeness with lovely evolution. 94/100

Hidden Bench Locust Lane Pinot Noir 2011 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
I really like this. It has a fresh, nicely defined cherry and raspberry nose. The palate shows supple plums and cherries with a slight waxiness and some faint meaty notes as well as focused pure fruit and some grippy structure. This is already lovely but has potential for further development. 93/100

Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir Droit 2010 St David’s Bench, Niagara, Canada
Meaty, elegant and spicy with lovely herbal notes. There’s a savoury edge to the black cherry fruit with some black pepper spiciness. Quite brilliant and really focused. 93/100

Nichol Vineyards Syrah 2011 Naramata, Okanagan, Canada
Vivid, bright and peppery with some precision and purity. Lively with a hint of clove, some sweetness and lovely weight and precision. 92/100

Pearl Morissette Cabernet Franc 2010 Niagara, Canada
Sweet and pure with graphite and chalk notes. Lovely structure with fine grainy characters. Ripe and complex with lovely depth, purity and a silky stucture. Essence of Cab Franc. 94/100

Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2012 Okanagan, Canada
So pure and fresh with supple black cherry fruit and some grainy spiciness. Lovely purity here: grippy and juicy but supple with nice purity and fresh acidity. 93/100

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2 Comments on For thanksgiving: 20 top Canadian winesTagged
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

2 thoughts on “For thanksgiving: 20 top Canadian wines

  1. Really tough to find Blue Mountain I believe. Friend in Vancouver thinks mostly cellar door sales only?

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