Canadian Wine at The Decanter World Wine Awards
If you love wine, you may have heard of Decanter magazine. It is one of the world’s most prestigious wine publications that has been supplying wine reviews and information to oenophiles since 1975. To champion and recognize wine excellence, they sponsor the Decanter World Wine Awards, an annual event for the past 19 years, which has become the world’s largest wine competition. This year there were about 18,500 wines from 56 countries submitted to be judged by their panel and vie for an award. The awards in descending order are: Best in Show, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Even to be awarded a Bronze is a coveted badge of honour for a wine in a competition of this massive scale.
Canada Makes Its Mark
Now there is the Canadian spin to this story. Our wineries have usually entered in the competition and have received awards in the past, but this year was special. It was announced on June 7 that a white from Flat Rock Cellars in Niagara, Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling 2019, had secured a stunning 97 points and was honoured with Best in Show. This is on top of a single Platinum Award, 10 Gold Awards, 145 Silver, and 184 Bronze earned by Canadian wineries this year. It’s a pretty awesome showing for a country that produces a tiny amount of wine compared to vinous behemoths like France, Italy, and Spain!
So, raise a glass of our excellent local wine and toast our Canadian wineries. The world is taking notice of them.
Wines You Need to Try
As usual, my ratings are based on a 5 star system developed by Michael Broadbent: 5 stars: Outstanding; 4 stars: Very good; 3 stars: Good; 2 stars: Moderately good; 1 star: Not very good, but not bad; No stars: Poor.
Trius Distinction Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ★★★½+ $19.95 (The Wine Shop, Vintages)
Racy, fresh, and pale lemon in your glass and made for summer. Plenty of lemon, lime, and mango along with a whiff of green grass. It’s very good and would work nicely with your summer salads, shellfish, and grilled vegetables, or just sit and sip it in the backyard.
Trius Pinot Grigio 2021 ★★★½ $16.95 (The Wine Shop, LCBO)
Pinot Grigios from Italy are extremely popular, but here is a local version that deserves your attention. Its coppery colour suggests a little skin contact and it offers a little more body and flavour than the average Italian version. The pear and lemon flavours match it nicely with grilled pork loin or creamy cheeses.
Zuccardi Serie A Torrontés 2020 ★★★½+ $17.95 Vintages
If you are looking for a lively summer white with wonderful aromatics to enjoy look no further than this wine made with the indigenous Argentinean grape, Torrontés. The fruit is grown at high altitude in the Salta province producing a wine that has a floral freshness backed up with lemon and peach. Try it for your alfresco dining night on the patio whether paired with seafood or with cheeses like Manchego, Feta, and Parmesan.
Famille Perrin Réserve Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2021 ★★★½ $15.95 (Vintages)
Perrin produces reliably good wines from good values through premium categories. This one is firmly in the good value camp. Expect a strawberry, herbal aroma tinged with sweet cherry, lemon, watermelon rind, and orange peel flavours. Made in a dry style that is great with summer meals. Asparagus, tuna, and white bean salad or grilled chicken should work nicely with it.
Cave de Beblenheim Cremant d’Alsace Brut Blanc de Noirs NV ★★★★ $19.95 (Vintages)
This is another award winner from the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards where it earned a Bronze medal. Sparkling are often blends, but this one, as suggested by the label’s Blanc de Noir designation, is 100% Pinot Noir. Medium bodied and dry, it’s quite fruity for a Traditional method sparkling with nice ripe strawberry, raspberry, lemon, and melon with traces of peach and pineapple on the finish. It’s a perfect to enjoy by itself or pair it with appetizers.
Trius Cabernet Franc 2020 ★★★½+ $16.95 (The Wine Shop, LCBO)
This well priced Niagara Cab Franc would pair agreeably red meats at your BBQ dinner. The label of VQA Niagara allows them to use select fruit from anywhere in the region for this wine. It’s almost full bodied seasoned with coconut vanilla oak spice and a palate of ripe dark fruits, black currant jam, and tobacco. The tannins are there, but quite approachable. Not built to age, but to enjoy over the next year or two.
Zonte’s Footstep Chocolate Factory Shiraz 2019 ★★★★+ $19.95 (Vintages)
If you are a lover of the big style of Shiraz, this one from Australia’s hot McLaren Vale will make your day. A half hour or so in the decanter will help open it up. Then you should experience all it has to offer: black plum and cherry, dark chocolate, espresso, blackberry, and cedar mingled nicely with baking spice and vanilla. BBQ a flavourful cut of beef (marinated flank steak would be good) and this wine will be the perfect companion.
Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Campo ai Sassi Rosso di Montalcino 2019 ★★★★ $24.95 (Vintages)
This is the second wine of the Montalcino region of Tuscany; the more famous first wine being Brunello di Montalcino. However, being second is sometimes a good thing. 100% Sangiovese just like Brunello and terrific wine value for the quality delivered. It’s another wine that would benefit from decanting for an hour or so to soften its grippy tannins. The wine then opens with sour red cherry, raspberry, rosemary, sage, fennel, and vanilla, finishing with a nice earthiness. Nice pairing with grilled chicken or beef kebabs and meaty pizzas.