White Wines from the Great White North

30 Oct

What do you do when you’re on the road and can’t review the wines in your queue? You punt! (Hello, it’s football season!) Seriously: what could be better than to try some of the local wines?

Let me be direct: I know NOTHING about Canadian wines, only that they exist. And let me be perfectly frank: I was nervous about Canadian wine. The servers and bar staff in the restaurants I visited my first few days in Toronto didn’t speak well of the local wines. As a matter of fact, they seemed entirely uneducated. I was told the same thing time after time from Canadian servers when I asked about Canadian wines: “They aren’t very good.”

Instead they suggested house wines: low budget California, French, and Italian bottles we’ve all seen and dismissed in the store. NOT my idea of drinking local! I’ve heard about Canadian wines at #WBC. I know better than this. So I enlisted the help of a few Canadian blogger buddies and asked for their help. Leeann Froese of Town Hall Brands and Valerie Stride of The Demystified Vine came to my rescue, suggesting a few options each, and I went off to the local LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) to seek out some bottles.

And bottles they had, many more than a few! The LCBO was the size of a department store, with several checkout lines ten people deep. They take their drinking very seriously in Canada, it seems! but I digress, let’s get to the wines!

 

Southbrook 2014 Organic Triomphe Chardonnay; VQA Niagra Peninsula, Canada, 13.2% ABV, $20CAD.

Color is pale gold. Upon opening, the nose showed excess sulphur up front (and needed a little time to dissipate). Once was sulphur was gone, I was in organic chardonnay heaven.

The nose shows its oak maturation with notes of buttery popcorn, pineapple, and vanilla,  On the palate: baked apple, pear, and pineapple are dominant, with matching acidity. Oak and circus continue on the medium finish, followed by a touch of smoke. I found this certified organic wine impressive and tasty, a perfect complement for fish, salad, or delicate flavors. Southbrook Vineyards

southbrook-chard

 

 

Cave Spring Cellars 2014 Riesling.  VQA Beamsville, Bench, Ontario,Canada, 11%ABV, $16CAD. 

Color is almost clear with a tint of warmth. The nose offers sweet citrus, honeysuckle and apricot with a floral finish. On the palate, dried apricot, peach, and tangerine, flavors meet mouth-watering acidity. The side and back palate screams from the mineral qualities that I adore: granite, shale, clay, chalky limestone.  Off-dry overall, but with a lasting note of lime & orange zest on the finish. Delightful with asian stir-fry, creamy cheese, and by itself as an apéritif.  Cave Spring Cellars

 

cave-spring-riesling

 

 

Lily Sparkling Wine by Colio Winery, Ontario. 12%ABV, $16CAD/bottle.

Warm gold color, nose of baked bread and apricot. On the palate, bosc pear, golden delicious apple and  freshly baked bread with secondary notes of sodium and limestone on the finish. Medium effervescence and small bubbles derived from the charmat method of tank fermentation, overall Lily is an excellent value and fun sparkling wine that is easy to enjoy. Made from 100% riesling grapes and delightfully dry, I would enjoy this any day and put this up against similarly priced sparkling wines for comparison. BOOM!  ColioWinery

 

lilysparkling

 

I started off my adventure quite nervous about Canadian wine. But as you can see, there is so much to enjoy! I would accept any of these wines in my cellar, at dinner, or to share with friends. And these wines are only the tip of the iceberg.

My deep thanks to Leann and Valerie for coming to my rescue when I reached out, and I’m looking forward to sharing more Canadian wines with you!

à votre santé!

 

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6 Responses to “White Wines from the Great White North”

  1. Leeann Froese October 31, 2016 at 1:03 am #

    I am so glad that you had a chance to taste a few wines from Canada. We don’t generally make enough of them to all the places in the world so you have to come to asked to taste with locals. I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t getting strong recommendations from the local servers but I’m hoping that over time they’ll come to realize what gems we have at home.

    You’ll have to add trips to Nova Scotia and British Columbia to your list so you can taste wines from our major growing regions. Thank you for sharing your experience so other people in the world know what we have here #winelover

    Liked by 1 person

    • jimvanbergen October 31, 2016 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks so much, Leeann! I had heard good things about Canadian wines, and that is why I reached out. Obviously, I found the wines I tasted to be quite good, certainly as good if not better, than anything being imported & offered on the local wine menus. Thank you again so much!

      Like

  2. charlierich October 30, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

    Try some BC wines next – maybe an ice wine….

    Liked by 1 person

    • jimvanbergen October 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

      I have a couple of reds to do first, but BC and ice wines are on my list! If you have any specific brands to suggest, I’m open! Thanks & cheers!

      Like

      • charlierich October 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

        Mission Hill is usually a good bet – and their vintner of many years is married to an old friend who dragged him back from one of the best wineries in New Zealand…

        Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Red Wines from Canada | jvb uncorked - November 27, 2016

    […] night with a bottle of Jura Désiré Petite L’Essen Ciel Arbois-Pupillin! If you missed it, here is a link to my post on Canadian white wines. Cheers! […]

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