• Alexander Smith

How good is Canadian wine?

Updated: May 5, 2020

Something you guys need to get into!

I have been tasting some great Canadian wines recently. In general the best place for Canadian wine is certainly out in Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. Ontario makes some pretty good examples as well.

Okanagan Valley has a continental climate with hot summer days (40*C) and cool nights.There are over 120 wineries and 200+ growers. Surprisingly enough it is warmer than Napa and get's more sunshine on a daily basis.

Choosing a few examples of great Canadian wineries is tough, however I choose the following three:

1) Black Hills - Winemaker is a Master of Wine!

2) Lastella - Focus on Merlot

3) Le Vieux Pin - Focus on Syrah

I only tasted a few of each of the above wineries, however I certainly had a preference towards Black Hills. Their wines really showcase the different varieties, with wonderful balance, texture and length. Saying that, both Lastella and Le Vieux Pin do a fantastic job and make Canada proud.

My favorite Tempranillo this year, and it's not even from Spain!
My favorite Tempranillo this year, and not even from Spain!

See below a list of wines which I recently tasted.

Black Hills Syrah 2017 - 92 points

Quite a shy nose with aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, olive tapenade, cracked black pepper, and a little spice. The palate is full-bodied with finely integrated tannins, there is great freshness and this is anything but a heavy Syrah, the fruit is dark and quite ripe, however, the underlining of savoury notes, eucalyptus and sweet spices ensures nothing is out of place. There is good density and structure on the mid-palate and the finish is on the medium side. I would recommend drinking this now over the next 5 years. This certainly is one of the best Canadian wines I have tasted. (750ml)

Black Hills Estate Tempranillo 2017 - 92 points

My first experience of a Tempranillo outside of Spain. This is a solid attempt, and even though I am not a huge fan of Spanish varietals, this was certainly enjoyable. Classic aromas of dark red berries, cassis, kirsch leather, vanilla, and allspice. The palate was full-on with lush dark fruit, liquorice, anise, and sweet spices. The wine displayed well-integrated tannins, good structure with a rich and full finish. Drink this now over the next 5 years. (750ml)

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique 2017 - 91 points

Aromas of dark concentrated cherries, raspberries, smoke, espresso, and light earth. The palate was medium-bodied with quite a fruit-driven expression, quite rich as well, there were notes of leather and black pepper along with a little spice. The mid-palate had a little less weight than what I was hoping for along with an easy and lingering finish. A very solid effort and certainly the effort is going for more of a Northern Rhone style vs. a new world style. 91 points for today. Drink over the next couple of years. (375ml)

LaStella Fortissimo 2016 - 90 points

A solid effort was dark plums, cherries, Christmas cake spices, and mint. The palate was medium-bodied with soft elegant tannins along with quite bright acidity, tart dark fruit, mushrooms, and bay leaves. Good mid structure and length. Solid wine which will drink well for the next 3-4 years. (375ml)

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violette 2017 - 90 points

The nose was very ripe in style. Heaps of dark fruit blackberry, blueberry, olive tapenade, eucalyptus and black pepper. The palate was bright, clean, and fresh, with silky tannins. The dark fruit shone through, however, there was nice herbaceous, leather and slight spice backbone. This is certainly all about the fruit very little oak notes come across. Drink now (750ml)

LaStella Merlot Allegretto 2010 - 88 points

The nose is certainly showing some good development, along with the dark dried plums, cherries and figs there are notes of tobacco, shitake mushrooms, fresh earth, vanilla, and a little green pepper. The palate was medium-bodied, a little rich with grainy tannins, the mid-palate was light with a simple finish. (375ml)

Which are you favourite Canadian wineries?

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