I am one of those people who likes year-end ‘best of’ lists as they help me find good books to take out of the library, find new movies to watch, etc. As another year comes to a close I present to you my favourite Canadian wines of the past year!
To be clear, the wines listed are only from bottles I personally bought and opened up at home (and one I ordered in a restaurant) so the sample size is quite limited and mainly from Ontario. And of course, just like books and movies, not everyone has the same taste in wine and that’s okay.
So without further adieu, and in no particular order, the wines (and a couple of ciders that I snuck in!) that I loved in 2019.
Bachelder 2013 Wismer Vineyard Wingfield Block Chardonnay (Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, Ontario). I’m pretty particular with my Chardonnay but can always count on Thomas Bachelder. This one from 2013 from the famed Wismer Vineyard has aged beautifully.
Hubbs Creek 2018 Wild Ferment Pinot Gris (Prince Edward County, Ontario). I popped in to pick up a bottle (or two!) of Battista’s excellent Pinot Noir (which I have not opened yet) but was taken by the Pinot Gris, a varietal which I don’t usually drink. It was simply delicious.
Five Rows 2017 Sauvignon Blanc (St. David’s Bench, Niagara, Ontario). This wine has a cult following and sells out the moment it’s released – and for good reason. Barrel aged in 75% older French oak and 25% stainless steel, this is a lovely expression of Sauvignon Blanc with tropical aromas and a long finish.
Karlo Estates 2017 Estate Chardonnay (Prince Edward County, Ontario). The County is known for excellent Chardonnay and winemaker Derek Barnett and assistant winemaker Spencer Mayer have hit it out of the park with this one which won a gold medal at the National Wine Awards of Canada. A gem of a wine.
Long Dog 2015 The Otto Pinot Noir (Prince Edward County, Ontario). Long Dog is off the beaten track in PEC but definitely worth discovering for their consistently good Pinot Noir. Their mid-tier Otto, which I tasted for the second time while dining at Hartleys in Picton, was everything a terrific Pinot should be.
Nk’Mip Cellars 2016 Qwam Qwmt Syrah (Okanagan Valley, BC). From the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America and the hottest wine growing region in Canada (Osoyoos) comes this elegant deep purple example of Syrah. A wine to savour. Too bad it’s so hard to find in Ontario!
Finally, a sweeter wine – and a couple of ciders – that caught my attention to round out my top 9.
Hinterland Cherry Cider (Prince Edward County, Ontario). This dry cider from the County’s sparkling specialists is made with a blend of local Ontario apples and 5% fresh organic Ontario cherry juice. Summer in a glass. A real crowd-pleaser.
Burning Kiln 2010 Late Harvest Chenin Blanc (Norfolk County, Ontario). This late harvest wine made by Andrzej Lipinski is rich and full-bodied. I enjoyed every drop. Perfect with a cheese plate or dessert.
Grand Pré Pomme D’Or Ice Cider (Nova Scotia). Just as Icewine is made with frozen grapes, Ice Cider is made with frozen apples – in this case, apples grown in the Annapolis Valley. Delicious stuff.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy 2020, filled with laughter, love, and terrific wine!