Top Canadian Wines to Celebrate Canada Day
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Top Canadian Wines to Celebrate Canada Day

It’s Canada Day in a few days and it’s a great time to buy Canadian wines, talk about Canadian wines and definitely taste some excellent examples that are at the SAQ right now! Just a note that although the majority of the wines shown here are from Niagara with one from British Columbia, there are so many other bottles that I could have mentioned on my website, as I am a huge fan of Canadian wine.  However, if you want to take a look for yourself at a few of my favorites they include:
Quebec: Carone,  Vignoble les Pervenches, La Cantina. Nova Scotia: Benjamin Bridge, Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards.  Prince Edwards County: Closson Chase, Grange, The Old Third, to name a few. 
In one sense, some of the following have wines are easy drinking, very clean, very fruit forward and they aren’t screaming for a meal pairing, they don’t need a bite of food to elevate the tasting experience.
And then on the flip side, we have wines that are little bigger, a little more complex, that have more depth and substance and they would be better enjoyed with food, and they’re especially great for people who prefer wines that are a bit more sweet, and round on the palate.
So why don’t we start with Chardonnay?!   We have Inniskillin Unoaked Chardonnay , and the Tawse Chardonnay. Same grape, both coming from the Niagara Peninsula  but made in a different way.
Inniskillin Unoaked Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula
SAQ: 13540698  $14.05
This wine is 100% Chardonnay and as the name suggests, it is unoaked. So the wine is vinified and aged in stainless tanks.  So here we have a wine that has a clean line to citrus, high acidity, with a nice mineral impression.   You won’t find any stone or tropical fruit here…. It is very much a bottle that you crack open on a hot day and enjoy it – super refreshing and thirst quenching wine.  This would be great with oysters or with a simple as a bag of chips.  it’s bursting with citrus fruit, and green apple with a nice streak of salinity with zippy finish.  
Tawse Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula 2017

SAQ: 11039736  $18.95

While the previous chardonnay was fermented and aged in stainless steel, this wine has seen 14 months on oak after fermentation, so it expresses itself quite differently. That oak imparts these tropical fruit flavours, like banana, ripe pear and citrus. It also has some notes of buttered bread ( coming from the lees and oak) so this adds another dimension to the wine. It’s rounder and it has a more buttery palate, riper fruit with some softness.  At the same time,  this wine has an excellent acidity creating balance and structure.
I have actually had this wine before, and I’ve paired with a Croque Monsieur. The richness of the gruyere, the béchamel – it was so decadent and gorgeous.  Factor in the buttery notes of the wine and its ripe fruit flavours , it this meal paring is a winner – it  will work really well together. Toss a little mixed green salad on the side for a nice hit of acidity and freshness.  
Stratus Vineyards Charles Baker Riesling 2016

SAQ: 12718482 $36.25

Charles Baker is director of marketing and sales for Stratus Vineyards and apparently, his hobby is Riesling. The owners at Stratus offered Mr. Baker the opportunity to play around with some of our Riesling vines, and the result is this extremely beautiful and very popular Riesling. 
This is a single vineyard Riesling, so that’s why its slightly more expensive . The aromatics,  flavour and fruit has excellent intensity and complexity.  This wine offers citrus, peach, pear and hints of petrol. There is also an excellent impression of saltiness as well as some candied ginger and spice.  The sweetness really balances the very high acidity and bright lemon/lime fruit.   There is beautiful texture to this wine, supple and round on the palate with a very long finish. Saying that, I do not believe this wine is ready to drink, as I think it is still too youthful.  This wine needs time to tame down in the bottle because the acid is fierce. Tuck it away in your cellar and forget about it for at least another 10 -15 years if you can. The acidity will decrease with age, and those tart citrus fruit flavours will develop into notes of golden raisin, honey,  candied candied ginger and nuttiness. It will be overflowing in elegance and grace. 
Any Asian cuisine will go perfectly with this wine – especially anything spicy with seafood or chicken.  Riesling is an extremely food friendly wine –it really compliments its spiciness and sweetness of those Asian flavours.   A wine is lower in alcohol that has some sweetness like this one,  decreases the spiciness of the dish.
(15g of residual sugar, 11% abv)
Cave Spring Riesling Riesling Dry Niagara Peninsula 2017
14327039 $15.95
This example of Riesling is drier, at 7g of residual sugar/L, and has t 11.5%abv.   This wine is ready to drink, and has been vinified and aged in stainless steel.   The grapes come from a blend of 3 different  vineyards. This Riesling focuses very much on citrus fruit – there is some fennel, white pepper, and definitely some pear notes. The acidity is high and the palate light so it is a very refreshing wine.   That high acid is balanced a bit by the little touch of sugar, making it a quite a pretty wine.  
It’s really neat to compare the two Rieslings  – and taste how they express themselves so differently. They are wines meant for two different types of occasions, at also two very different prices.
Iniskillin Pinot Noir Niagara Peninsula 2019
SAQ: 11035604 $16.60
This is now one of my favorite go to Pinot Noir’s!  It offers excellent nice cherry fruit, raspberries,  some sweet spice like cinnamon and with a touch of herbaceous notes. It is a very fruit forward wine and cheerful wine with soft tannins and a medium acidity – the perfect patio red. I could happily drink  wine this all on its own, but do not be afraid to pair this wine with fish, like a tray bake for example.  Teh soft tannins and light fruit would make it ideal for a pan full of roasted salmon, shrimp, mussels, and clams with garlic, olive oil and tomatoes.  
You can serve this slightly chilled, by placing it in the fridge 30 minutes before opening. This wine has been aged on French oak for ten months, so the impression of oak is subtle –just the right amount for an easy drinking red
Osoyoos Larose Pétal d’Osoyoos Okanagan Valley 2016
SAQ: 11166495  $30.85
This delicious wine is  luscious, complex, and it has layers of depth and so much character.  It’s a medium bodied, fuller wine, so you definitely want to have food with this.  I  personally love this wine with a grilled steak.  The elegant flavours really stand up to the fruit and supple tannins of the wine.  
This is a Bordeaux blend – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and has been aged 16 months in French oak, Such a beautiful wine. It has that balck cherry fruit, blackberries, cedar, vanilla, the oak is definitely there but it is so well integrated it doesn’t overpower the fruit or the acidity of the wine – its really well structured and balances. Medium bodied, soft and supple tannins. Very smooth and expressive with a very long finish