If you are going skiing or hiking in Canada this winter, you are in for a treat. Quietly over the last 10 years, Canada has built a terrific wine industry, and dozens and dozens of amazing, exciting wines are now being made there. In fact, since 2003, the number of wineries here has quadrupuled.
Canada’s two most important wine regions are on opposite sides of the country—in the west, British Columbia (principally the Okanagan Valley); in the east, Ontario (principally the Niagara Peninsula).
Dry wines—especially racy dry whites—are the main focus, but Canada is also a superstar in another category--icewine, a rich, sweet wine made from grapes frozen on the vines and harvested in the dead of winter. Canada, Austria and Germany are the three best countries in the world for this stunning, natural nectar.
Here are 5 of our favorite Canadian wines—each one, a wine not to miss.
COLANERI “Allegria” 2011 (Niagara on the Lake, Ontario) $18
A wildly aromatic wine (a blend of gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc and riesling) that is off-dry and beautifully fruity with notes of white peaches, exotic oranges and dried apricots.
CAVE SPRING CELLARS Riesling 2011 (Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario) $50
The beautiful tangerine, peach and starfruit flavors rush at you in a whirlwind of flavor. Sensational with many fish dishes and outrageous with southeast Asian dishes.
MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE “Martin’s Lane Riesling’ 2012 (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia) $26
Mind blowing in its sorbet-like intensity, Martin’s Lane dry riesling from Mission Hill ranks with the great rieslings of the world. This winery’s track record for making superb wines from an amazing array of different varieties is nothing short of remarkable.
PERPETUA “Osoyoos Vineyard” Chardonnay 2010 (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia) $30
Perpetua (a brand owned by Mission Hill) makes this fantastic, complex cold climate chardonnay with tangerine and citrus notes and the richness of a homemade apple tart.
INNISKILLIN Cabernet Franc Icewine 2008 (Niagara Peninsula, Ontario) $180 (375ml)
Very unusual since most icewine is made from white grapes, but the notes of forest berries gives the wine a wonderful distinctiveness, and like all Inniskillin icewines, it’s drop dead delicious.
Photo Credit: Colaneri Estate Winery Facebook Page