Vancouver wine festival: two trans-Canada tastings


Vancouver wine festival: two trans-Canada tastings


Here are my notes from the last two seminars that I have to write up from the Vancouver International Wine Festival. These were both sessions that covered Canada’s coast-to-coast wine regions, from Nova Scotia in the east to British Columbia in the west. A spectrum of price points and wines are represented here. The take-home message, if there is one, from the Canadian presence at the festival, is that Canada is coming of age as a wine-producing country. The various regions all have their strengths, and there are some lovely wines being made here. Not everything is perfect, and there are ongoing challenges, but there’s a lot to be excited about.


Nova Scotia

Benjamin Bridge Brut Méthode Classique 2011 Nova Scotia, Canada
Lively, bright and intense with keen acidity. Citrussy and intense with lemons and fine herbs. Beautiful core of acidity here: really fine. 92/100

Blomidon Estate Winery Crémant 2013 Nova Scotia, Canada
Seyval, L’Acadie and Chardonnay, traditional method. Very pretty, floral and grapey with a pithy edge to the linear fruit. Good acidity with a slightly sherbetty character. Lovely fruit expression. 90/100

Benjamin Bridge Methode Classique NV Nova Scotia, Canada
Distinctive waxy edge to the lemony fruit. Zippy and bright with keen acidity. Complex waxy, herby characters here as well as lively lemon and grapefruit. Great precision here, and bracing acid. 90/100

Blomidon Estate Winery Chardonnay 2014 Nova Scotia, Canada
Very distinctive with a nutty edge to the pear and citrus fruit. Lovely acidity with some tangerine complexity. Deliciously rounded with a nice contrast between the ripe pear fruit and the fresh acidity. 88/100

Jost Tidal Bay 2015 Nova Scotia, Canada
Zippy and floral with lemons, orange peel, grapes and talcum powder. Fruity and textural with a light body and a hint of sweetness. 87/100

Gaspereau Vineyards Riesling 2015 Nova Scotia, Canada
Very zippy and lemony with juicy citrus fruits. Light with high acidity. So bright and intense. 89/100


Trius Brut NV Niagara, Canada
This is pretty good, with a subtle toasty edge to the pure citrus and pear fruit. Lively lemony edge with good balance here. Nice fruit expression. 90/100

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2014 Beamsville Bench, Canada
So lively and pure with a lovely citrus mineral core. Lemons and stones with a dry finish. 90/100

Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery Roman’s Block Riesling 2013 Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
Made from vines planted in 1975. This is from the year that Lake Ontario froze. Intense and dry with a stony edge to the piercing lemon and lime fruit. It’s really mineral and vivid with lovely acidity and a long lemony finish. 92/100

Closson Chase South Clos Chardonnay 2014 Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
Rich and full flavoured with fig, pineapple, nuts and spice. Keen acidity with some baked apple notes. A big expression of Chardonnay. 88/100

Closson Chase South Clos Chardonnay 2014 Prince Edward County, Canada
Richly fruited with a herbal, cooked cabbage edge to the pear and peach fruit. Bold with rich fruit, and some toast and spice complexity. An unusual, full flavoured Chardonnay with a touch of mint on the finish. 88/100

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Montague Pinot Noir 2014 Niagara, Canada
Sappy, vivid raspberry fruit here with some red cherry brightness. Lots of fruit, with a subtle minty edge. Structured and quite primary, with the potential for development. 91/100

Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir 2014 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Canada
Lovely wine: fresh red cherries and plums with nice grainy structure and some stony mineral characters. Some herbs and undergrowth in the background. Fresh, cool finish. 91/100

Chateau Des Charmes Cabernet Franc 2014 St. David’s Bench, Niagara, Canada
Fresh and vivid with sweet black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Floral and expressive with some roast coffee and spice hints. Fresh and detailed with good acidity and a savoury finish. 89/100

Château des Charmes Cabernet Franc 2013 Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara, Canada
There’s a lovely chalky, mineral edge to this attractive berry fruited Cabernet Franc. There’s an attractive greenness which integrates well with the cherry and raspberry fruit. Lovely purity. 91/100



Summerhill Pyramid Winery Blanc de Blancs 2010 Okanagan Valley, Canada
Lively, pithy and bright with lovely citrus fruit. Very linear with some grapefruit notes. A tight, primary wine with nice purity, and it belies its age. 91/100

Wild Goose Vineyards Stony Slope Riesling 2015 Okanagan Valley, Canada
First grapes planted here in 1983, in the Okanagan Falls. Fresh and pretty with lively lemony fruit and some melon richness. There’s a bit of table grape sweetness on the finish. So fruity and appealing with lovely purity. Lovely acidity. 90/100

Quails’ Gate Winery Rosemary’s Block Chardonnay 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada
Powerful, spicy and nutty with bold citrus and pear fruit with some peachy richness. There’s richness here, but also nice acidity and complexity. In this richer style, this is a lovely wine. 92/100

Averill Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 Vancouver Island, Canada
Fresh and sappy with a green edge to the supple red cherry fruit. There’s a nice savoury, spicy finish with good acidity. Vivid with nice cherry fruit. Very drinkable and direct with purity and focus. 90/100

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Syrah 2013 Okanagan Valley, Canada
Sweet but fresh blackcurrant and black cherry fruit with some cedar spiciness and hints of mint and medicine, as well as olive and meat notes. There’s a strongly savoury, medicinal, piney finish. The lush, ripe fruit is really appealing, though. 88/100

Tantalus Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada
Supple cherry and plum fruit with nice freshness and hints of meat and olive. Good structure and focus with nice acidity, and a bit of tannic grip. There’s nice density here. 91/100

Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus 2011 Okanagan Valley, Canada
This is modern yet classically structured. It has the gloss and bright, sweet blackcurrant and blackberry fruit that speaks of the new world, but also the lovely structure and acidity of the old. There’s potential for development here, and it’s balanced and appealing. 92/100

Laughing Stock Vineyards Perfect Hedge Syrah 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada
Modern, intense and vivid with some olive savouriness and lovely sleek blackberry and black cherry fruit. It’s modern but delicious with nice purity and luscious ripe fruit. Floral aromatics here. 93/100

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