CWA 2009: Wines of the Year
The best red, white, fruit and sweet wines from the 2009 Canadian Wine Awards
Red Wines of the Year
Sandhill 2007 Phantom Creek Vineyard Small Lots Syrah, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $35
This is an amazing, full blown, lush and massive wine that you want to critique for being a whopper (15 percent alcohol), but it is so well proportioned, so complex and engaging within its hulking frame that you are charmed anyway. Amazing flavours of ripe black cherry, prune, ink, smoke, pepper and chocolate.
Kacaba 2007 Reserve Syrah, Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $40
It may surprise people that a Niagara syrah could be a Wine of the Year, but Kacaba's big reds have snagged important medals before. Ontario's 2007 was a big, ripe vintage and this is a big wine, yet not over the top at 12.5 percent alcohol. It's classic, northern Rhône style, with all kinds of pepper, smoked meat and dark cherry fruit. It's taut, cool and dry, with very impressive concentration and length.
Church & State 2007 Hollenbach Family Vineyard Pinot Noir, Penticton Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $26
Rosehall Run 2007 Rosehall Vineyard Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County, Ontario $38
See Ya Later Ranch 2007 Rover, Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $25
Fielding Estate 2007 Meritage, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $40
Burrowing Owl 2007 Cabernet Franc, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $33
Seven Stones 2006 Meritage, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia $32
Tawse 2007 Wismer Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $38
White Wines of the Year
Sandhill 2008 Osprey Ridge Vineyard Small Lots Viognier, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $25
I could hardly keep myself in my seat when tasting this brilliant, pristine and absolutely classic viognier. There was so much perfume with nectarine, star fruit, kiwi and pepper. It was massive on the palate, fleshy, waxy, yet braced by great acidity and alcohol warmth, with phenomenal length. Farmed by veteran growers Robert and Nathan Goltz, the 12-acre vineyard south of Oliver, B.C., is on gently rolling hills with loam and rock over a gravelly base. It is planted at high density for a naturally low yield, giving better flavour concentration. Mission accomplished.
Quails’ Gate Winery 2007 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay, Westbank South, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $30
Hidden Bench 2007 Rosomel Vineyard Roman’s Block Riesling, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $34
Stag’s Hollow 2008 Sauvignon Blanc-Sémillon, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $23
Thornhaven Estates 2008 Gewürztraminer, Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $18
Road 13 2008 Viognier Roussanne Marsanne, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $24
Thirty Bench Wine Makers 2008 Steel Post Vineyard Small Lot Riesling, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $30
Thirty Bench Wine Makers 2007 Small Lot Chardonnay, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $30
Thornhaven Estates 2008 Jackson Heights Pinot Gris, Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $18
Fruit Wines of the Year
Val Caudalies 2006 Humeur d'Éole, Quebec $19
This property near Dunham in Quebec's Eastern Townships is among a fast-growing legion of cider specialists transforming the region and beginning to cause a stir in export markets. Made from five apple varieties, this iced cider is very sweet, opulent and gorgeous, with a rush of baked apple and spice that floods the senses.
Archibald Orchards & Estate Winery N/V Spiced Winter Apple, Ontario $19
Sanduz Estate N/V Raspberry Fruit Wine, Fraser Valley, British Columbia $15
Sanduz Estate N/V Black Currant Table Wine, Fraser Valley, British Columbia $15
Sweet Wines of the Year
Coyote's Run 2007 Riesling Icewine, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $55
It's no mean feat to emerge as the top sweet wine in a category for which Canada is world-renowned. But winemaker David Sheppard has more than 25 years experience in Niagara learning icewine with Kark Kaiser at Inniskillin. This is gorgeous, very sweet, silky and elegant riesling icewine with classic peach-apricot-mango fruit and exotic ginger and spice notes. The length is terrific.
Gehringer Brothers 2008 Minus 9 Ehrenfelser Icewine, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $47
Inniskillin Okanagan 2007 Vidal Icewine, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $53
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan 2007 Proprietors' Grand Reserve Riesling Icewine, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $60
Domaine Pinnacle NV Signature Réserve Spéciale Ice Cider, Quebec $38
Arrowleaf 2008 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $20
Rosewood Estates 2006 Grand Reserve Ambrosia, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $36