While the country might be best known for its icewine, Canadian still and sparkling wines are well worth seeking out. Canada is still a relatively new player in the drier end of the wine market – until the 1970s, most Canadian wine was sweet, but a handful of wineries sprung up and the country hasn’t looked back.
No single grape variety dominates – in fact, there’s healthy competition, with a host of international varieties including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the twin heartlands of Ontario and British Columbia.
This year’s IWSC saw an impressive haul of medals for Canadian wine. On the white side, Silver medal winners Black Hills Estate Winery Chardonnay 2018 oozed tropical notes of mango, kumquat and lime zest; Bartier Bros Sémillon 2019 was leaner and drier, with aromas of green apple, steely minerality and a hint of olive; while Road 13 Viognier 2019 offered a fruit basket of flavours, with nectarine, orange peel, banana and rose petals among the tasting notes.
Among the reds, Arterra Epoca 2018, made with 100% Merlot, was an opulent example, with notes of cedar, leather and toasty aromas, and Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir 2019 had plenty of red-berry, cherry, strawberry and plum aromas.
Canada’s cool climate is also ideal for sparkling wine, and the likes of Gray Monk Estate Winery’s Odyssey White Brut 2018, with its aromatic notes of lime and apricot, and the ‘crowd-pleasing’ Trius Winery’s Brut NV, which offered orchard fruit and notes of pear and apple, both impressed the IWSC judges.
Every Canadian wine in this year’s IWSC was judged by an expert panel, led by Masters of Wine John Hoskins and Alistair Cooper. They were assisted by Master Sommeliers Eric Zwiebel and Matthieu Longuere, along with Wine Society buyer Sarah Knowles MW.
Canadian wine is a treasure trove packed with delights, and it’s a country that delivers no matter what the style. We’re delighted to present our pick of the best Canadian wines as judged by the IWSC.
20 of the best Canadian wines from the IWSC
- Arterra, Epoca 2018; Niagara Peninsula, Ontario. 93/100
- Bartier Bros. Sémillon 2019; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 91/100
- Black Hills Estate Winery, Chardonnay 2018; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 91/100
- Clos du Soleil, Capella 2019; Similkameen Valley, British Columbia. 91/100
- Flat Rock Cellars, Pinot Noir 2019; Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario. 91/100
- Gray Monk Estate Winery, Odyssey White Brut 2018; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 91/100
- Liquidity Wines, Reserve Chardonnay 2019; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 91/100
- Megalomaniac, Reserve Cabernet Franc 2018; Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario. 91/100
- Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, Chardonnay 2018; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 91/100
- Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Oldfield Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019; Golden Mile Bench, British Columbia. 91/100
- Colio Estate Wines, Lily Extra Dry NV; Ontario. 90/100
- Cedar Creek Estate Winery, Aspect Collection Block 5 Chardonnay 2019; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 90/100
- Frind Estate Winery, Premier Cabernet Sauvignon 2019; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 90/100
- Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate, Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2018; Niagara, Peninsula Ontario. 90/100
- Lakeview Cellars, Merlot 2017; Niagara Peninsula, Ontario. 90/100
- Mission Hill Family Estate, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 90/100
- Road 13, Viognier 2019; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 90/100
- Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Spadefoot Toad Syrah 2014; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 90/100
- Trius Winery, Brut NV; Niagara Peninsula, Ontario. 90/100
- 50th Parallel Estate, Chardonnay 2019; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. 90/100
HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
MORE FROM CLUB OENOLOGIQUE
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