On July 1, 2017 Canada will celebrate it’s sesquicentennial (150th) birthday! As Canadians gear up for the big day, we Sparkling Winos thought… why not celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with Canadian bubbles from a Mari usque ad Mare? (That’s “from sea to sea” in Latin – our country’s motto)!
In keeping with the effervescent theme, we’ve compiled six excellent sparkling wines – from British Columbia in the west, Ontario smack dab in the centre, and Nova Scotia to the east – to keep it Canadian as we toast the sesquicentennial. 🍾
Sparkling wine is a big deal in British Columbia, as it should be! According to BC Living, there are over 40 wineries producing sparkling in the beautiful west coast. Most of these wineries are in the Okanagan Valley, which offers excellent growing conditions for bubbly, including a continental climate moderated by the extremely deep (and very beautiful) Okanagan Lake. The region is also on the same latitude as the Rheingau and Champagne. Pretty cool, huh?
While west coast wines are sometimes hard to find here in Ontario, they do occasionally pop up in Vintages at the LCBO for those with eagle eyes. Here are our two west coast effervescent picks. We promise these wines won’t taste like crunchy granola! 😜
Steller’s Jay 2008 Pinnacle
We had the pleasure of trying Steller’s Jay 2008 Pinnacle as part of a Canadian sparkling wine tasting at the 2017 Terroir Symposium and loved it. Made in the traditional method, Seller’s Jay is brut in style and offers aromas of white tree fruit, marzipan and florality. The flavour profile is within the marzipan quality, with a rich creamy mousse. We can see why this wine is considered a “BC Icon”!
Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut Sparkling (NV)
Like Steller’s Jay Pinnacle, the Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut Sparkling is a gem. It was also released through Vintages at the LCBO and we are lucky to have one more bottle to enjoy! In 2016, this bubbly made it to the Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna. Like the Steller’s Jay, this sparkling is brut in style and offers aromas of almond, citrus and toast. It’s medium bodied, with similar flavours on the palate, except with tart apple and a bit of smoke.
If you’ve had the chance to check out our Ontario Sparkling Wine Map, there are over 100 sparkling wines being produced here in Ontario! That’s quite the feat, eh? With about a 65/35 split between traditional method and charmat method, Ontarian sparkling wines are produced across the province, from Niagara to Prince Edward County. The cool climate, mineral rich soils and moderating effects of Lake Ontario provide the idea conditions for making sparkling wine. Lucky us, eh?
Next time you’re in the LCBO in Ontario, pick up a bottle of VQA sparkling, we promise you won’t be disappointed. If you live outside of Ontario, check out the wineries on our Ontario Sparkling Wine Map to see if they ship to your location.
Trius Brut Rosé (NV)
Representing the “pink” category, we have Niagara’s Trius Brut Rosé. Full disclosure: we love it! A beautiful, salmon colour is followed by hints of Ontario strawberry and brioche on the nose. The aromas translate into the satisfying flavour of fresh strawberries, currants and cherry. It’s like tasting the entire Niagara tender fruit production area in one glass! In all seriousness, this is a gorgeous rosé that’s perfect for ringing in the Canada 150! After all, it won the Double Gold Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine of the Year at the All Canadian Wine Championships in 2013.
Grange of Prince Edward 2011 Traditional Method Brut
Moving further east, the 2011 Traditional Method Brut by the Grange of Prince Edward is representing Ontario’s most northern appellation. Moderated by the effects of Lake Ontario, this area is also known for the limestone bedrock and stony soils that offer excellent drainage and impart a minerality to base wines akin to another wine region you may have heard of: Champagne! We love the Grange’s 2011 Traditional Method Brut which is made from a blend of estate grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Refreshing and fresh, with lovely hints of lemon zest, brioche and minerality, and complexity from additional time on the lees. Why not celebrate Canada 150 with a wine from a county that’s 75 years older?
Ah, now we’ve made it to the east! No sweeping mountains or megalopolises here, just a friendly maritime spirit and glorious seafood. With oysters, lobster and fresh fish on every corner, the perfect bubbly is also not far away! If you’re Sparkling Winos like us, you’ll know that Nova Scotia is best known for its sparkling wine, thanks to wineries like Benjamin Bridge and L’Acadie Vineyards, which have full sparkling programs and wines from Vitis Vinifera and Hybrids, like L’Acadie Blanc. In 2012, the 2004 Brut Reserve by Benjamin Bridge placed higher than a Louis Roederer 2004 Cristal at a blind tasting in France. Pretty impressive, n’est-ce pas?
Benjamin Bridge 2012 Rosé
The Benjamin Bridge Estate is located along the south-facing slopes of the beautiful Gaspereau Valley, along the Gaspereau River about 1.5 hours northeast of Halifax on the Bay of Fundy. The cool climate offers a climate that bears an uncanny resemblance to Champagne, and lucky for us Sparkling Winos, Benjamin Bridge has taken advantage and produced some outstanding traditional method wines. It’s not every day that Tony Aspler, a renowned voice in Canadian wine, says that your sparkling is the best in the country! So why not celebrate the Canada 150 with the Benjamin Bridge 2012 Rosé? Pale salmon in hue, offering hints of grapefruit and minerality on the nose, along with tart cherry notes on the palate, this wine exemplifies the maritime terroir beautifully. We can’t wait to visit this August!
L’Acadie 2010 Prestige Brut Estate
Not to be outdone by Benjamin Bridge’s accolades, L’Acadie Vineyards’ 2007 Prestige Brut brought home a Silver Medal from the Effervescents du Monde, a prestigious international sparkling wine competition held in Dijon, France. Pretty cool, huh? The 2010 Prestige Brut Estate is organic, from the first harvest of L’Acadie’s certified vineyard, which includes unique rocky soils on the south side of the Gaspereau Valley. Made in the traditional method, this wine has been aged for 5 years on the lees, displaying a creamy mousse and toasty flavours and aromas.
Cheers to 150 Years Canada!
Vieni Estates Canada 150
A special shout out on our tour of Coast-to-Coast tour of Canadian Bubbly in celebration of the sesquicentennial goes out to Niagara’s Vieni Estates’s Canada 150. This red sparkling wine – yes, how fitting, eh? – is made in the charmat method from a blend of Pinot Noir, Baco and Pinot Meunier. It offers a ruby red finish, with aromas and flavours of currants, raspberries and a dry fruit after taste. A perfect patio or cottage dock sipper, the Canada 150 is sure to please as you ring in the 150th!