Taste test these delicious Canadian wines during your Canada Day celebrations
I’ll be honest, I didn’t used to like Canadian wines. They were a little expensive, there wasn’t much selection to choose from, and if you didn’t want a riesling, they were pretty lean on fruit or lacking in balance.
Canadian wine has come a long way since I used to think that in the ‘90s. Now, I am proud to bang the drum for Canadian wines at home and abroad. Almost every Canadian winery should be considered a boutique winery on the global scale, and the care and attention these wines are made with is among the best out there.
Canada’s wine producing regions are generally confined to two distinct areas — the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia and the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario, although plenty of great wines come from other parts of the country. Canada is the northern fringe of where wine viticulture can be successful and it used to be thought that if grapes could be produced, only the cool climate varieties such as riesling would be worthwhile.
Boy were those “experts” wrong.
The small size of our industry means that most vineyards are miniscule compared to some of the big international wineries. Vineyards can be placed almost anywhere with precision and we get this incredible patchwork of great sites planted with the right grapes, and only the right grapes in the right spot. Parts of Canada are planted with anything from syrah to gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc to pinot noir, and yes, we make the best damn icewine in the world.
So maybe your Canadian spirit longs to break free from only drinking local beers, maybe your barbecue needs something other than a rye and coke, and maybe, you should look at these tasty Canadian wines to grace your table. (Prices are approximate)
Happy Canada Day!
Sandhill Cabernet Merlot
Always a solid table-side performer. Good tannins, some fresh berry fruits, and a nice spicy kick. Perfect for any barbeque. $19
Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noir
Everyone who drinks BC wine is familiar with Mission Hill-for good reason. They make plenty of great wines. The reserve pinot is packed with tart cherry and the right acids to go with anything from duck to salmon. $25
Sibling Rivalry White
From Henry of Pelham, the sibling rivalry is a fresh and lively blend with a touch of sweetness. Tropical fruits and no oak, go well with salads to seafood. They also make a great rosé and a red in this line too. $20
Burrowing Owl Chardonnay
Maybe you like your chardonnay big and buttery, maybe you are spending Canada day with some fresh lobsters too? A well-made and stunning chardonnay for any occasion. $35
Summer Hill Cipes Brut
These are the pyramid wine guys, and also biodynamic viticulture leaders in the Okanagan. Also known for their great sparkling wines made in the champagne method, if you need a wine to toast this great country of ours… $32
I’m a huge fan of Okanagan merlot and this is a go-to bottle for me. Big, dense fruits, some firm tannins, and lots of complexity. Pair with anything from big steaks, to even bigger steaks (possibly burgers). $25
Hester Creek Cabernet Franc Reserve
Cabernet franc is on the rise, this grape is usually part of the blend but in the Okanagan it reaches dizzyingly spicy heights. Plenty of oak to soften the tannins it’s drinking great on the deck. $30
Quails’ Gate TBA Optima
A beautiful after dinner wine, its late harvest so it isn’t quite as sweet as icewine, but it has such great acidity that it is never cloying. Bright citrus characters make it perfect for fruity or pastry desserts or even lemon sorbet. $38