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With the annual grape harvest well under way across the country, it’s a good time to survey the range of Canadian wines on sale. While this selection of domestic red and white wines would be pleasurable any time of the year, their body and style make them well suited for right now.
As is the case within each of Canada’s growing regions, where a mixture of grape varieties and winemaking techniques on offer result in an incredible diversity of styles at a range of prices, these recommendations offer tremendous variety. Some have a freshness and verve; others are ripe and robust. There are some crowd-pleasing whites and rosés to watch for and two rewarding reds to consider. Two chardonnays that rank amongst the country’s best bottles stand out as highlights this week.
Should you be planning this year’s Thanksgiving celebrations, it’s worth noting that each wine was selected for its appetizing character. With so much uncertainty surrounding festive planning at the moment, being able to look forward to enjoying a choice wine or two with your holiday meal might help lift your mood.
As is the case with the vast majority of Canadian wines, your best source for this week’s picks is to buy direct from the winery. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible with provincial restrictions that continue to impede free trade across the country. But given how stay-at-home consumers are ordering wine for delivery to their doorstep like never before, these recommendations represent a safe and effective way to buy wine for many wine lovers. Rest assured, next week’s column will focus squarely on suggestions for Thanksgiving that can be sourced from liquor stores.
2027 Cellars Contrary White Blend 2019 (Canada)
The name Contrary refers to the outlier status of this successful blend of riesling, pinot gris and chardonnay within 2027 Cellars’s portfolio. It’s the only blended table wine within a stable of single-vineyard, single-variety wines from Niagara. Winemaker Kevin Panagapka worked at Flat Rock Cellars when the popular Twisted white blend was conceived, so he’s an experienced hand at mixing different grapes together in a harmonious fashion. This is a crowd-pleasing unoaked white that’s ready to drink. Available direct through 2027cellars.ca.
Bartier Bros. Sémillon 2019 (Canada)
This refreshing light-bodied white is terrific with a meal. Its fresh, focused flavours act like squeezing a lemon over your dish. Produced with sémillon grapes grown at the Cerqueira Vineyard on the Black Sage bench, near Oliver, this offers a mix of fruity, most citrus and pear flavours and grassy notes. Drink now to 2026. Available at the above price in British Columbia or direct through bartierbros.com, various prices in Alberta.
Fielding Estate Winery Cabernet Syrah 2017 (Canada)
This rich and savoury red has a burly nature that’s best suited to barbecued, roasted or braised meat dishes. Blackberry and black cherry aromas and flavours are enhanced by pepper, toasty oak and chocolate notes. The blend features 57 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 43 per cent syrah from a variety of Niagara vineyards, which helps to contribute to the complexity and character. At three years of age, this is just starting to hit its stride. Decant for best enjoyment if you’re opening a bottle this fall. Drink now to 2026. Available direct through fieldingwines.com.
Mayhem Wines Gewurztraminer Cellarsbend Vineyard 2019 (Canada)
Mayhem Wines is a joint venture that brings together Anarchist Mountain Vineyards’s Terry Meyer Stone and Meyer Vineyards’s JAK Meyer. Made with grapes grown in Naramata, this dry white captures the exotic fruit and spice character of the gewurztraminer variety without losing its freshness and drinkability. It’s a terrifically refreshing wine to enjoy as an aperitif. Available direct through mayhewwines.com.
Meldville Cabernet Franc Rosé 2019 (Canada)
Veteran winemaker Derek Barnett, who helped establish Southbrook Estate Winery and Lailey Vineyard, operates his own label, Meldville, in association with Beamsville’s Legends Estates Winery. This dry cabernet franc rosé offers berry and currant fruit flavours with some spice leafy notes that add to the appeal. It’s nicely concentrated, with some creaminess to the texture and a refreshing finish that makes it a more substantial rosé to enjoy with fall fare. Drink now to 2022. Available direct through legendsestates.com.
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Perpetua 2018
Perpetua is Mission Hill’s top-of-the-line chardonnay from each vintage. Its style continues to be streamlined, with the new release offering a nearly 50/50 blend of the richer and riper character of chardonnay grown in Osoyoos nicely with grapes grown in Naramata that offer bright and lively flavours. The finished wine is made in a really exciting and enjoyable style. Drink now to 2027. Available direct through missionhillwinery.com, various prices in Alberta.
Stratus Weather Report Chardonnay 2017 (Canada)
Weather Report is an enjoyable secondary label from Stratus Vineyard. This 2017 release is a blend from the barrels of chardonnay grown at the Niagara-on-the-Lake winery that didn’t make the cut for the more expensive top-of-the-line model. It’s a medium-bodied white wine that’s ripe and bright in style, with appealing tropical and citrus fruit and nicely integrated oak-derived flavours. Drink now to 2027. Available direct through stratuswines.com.
Synchromesh Wines Turtle Rock Farms Tertre Rouge 2016 (Canada)
Automotive buffs might catch the name’s reference to a famous turn on the Le Mans racing circuit in France, where perfect execution is needed to successfully position drivers for the long straightaway that follows. This racy red blends merlot and cabernet franc from the Turtle Rock Farms vineyard, located above the Naramata bench. Made in a medium-bodied style, this makes the most of its bright and fresh fruit character is more juicy than richly concentrated in nature. As a result, it’s terrific to bring to the dinner table. Drink now to 2024. Available direct through synchromeshwines.ca.
Westcott Delphine Rosé 2019 (Canada)
Produced from cabernet franc, this dry rosé is nicely balanced, with a succulent core of berry fruit and a refreshingly clean finish. Its simple and enjoyable character gives it mass appeal. Available direct through westcottvineyards.com.
Winemaker’s Cut Boho Beat 2019 (Canada)
Boho Beat is an exotic, off-dry white blend of gewurztraminer, viognier, riesling and kerner that is brightly aromatic and has a nice sweet/sour fruit character. A pleasant and flavourful unoaked white that’s easy to enjoy with or without a meal. Vegan friendly. Available in British Columbia at the above price, $22 direct from the winery, winemakerscut.ca.