The first Canadian Wine Day was on June 28, 2013—the one-year anniversary of Bill C-311 coming into force. The feds had finally made it legal for wine to move across provincial borders, from coast to coast to coast. (If the provinces would just follow suit, that would be great.)
|Caprese skewers drizzled in balsamic with |
charcuterie and cheese boards in the background
My contribution was one of the Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Brut I brought back from B.C. Bubbly seemed to popular that night, as we had five to choose from: Blomidon 2010 Crémant (NS); La Face Cachée de la Pomme 2011 Bulle Rosé sparkling cider (QC); Fielding Estate Charmat method Sparkling Riesling Brut (ON); the Summerhill Cipes; ... and Brights President Cuvée 2000 Canadian 'Champagne' (ummmm ... what?)
Ok, that last one was a bit of a stretch; pretty sure there was some cheap international fruit in its shady past. But the rest were amazing. The Fielding Riesling, in particular, struck a note with me, with its sweet apply flavours popping about in a fine, soft mousse.
We ate, we sipped, we ate some more, we talked shop, tweeted, took notes and pictures. We moved on to the still wines, a nice balance of red and white: Vineland Estates Elevation 2011 Riesling (Niagara); Featherstone 2005 Canadian Oak Chardonnay (Niagara); Carone 2010 Rosso Classico (QC); Exultet Estates 2009 Pinot Noir (PEC); Mission Hill Family Reserve 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (BC); and Sainte-Famille Acadianna Reserve Barrel-Aged 'Port' (NS).
The red from Quebec and the port-style wine knocked my socks off, mostly by surprise. Here are two blends of cold-hardy hybrids, one coming across as a distant Canadian cousin of Valpolicella, and the other a spicy, rich tribute to Portugal's signature wine. All made right here in Canada.
So that begs the question: With all this great Canadian wine to be had, why limit the celebrations to just one day? That's where Shawn and his partner in crime, Calvin Hanselmann, came up with the idea for The Great Canadian Wine Challenge. Starting September 1, Shawn and Calvin (and anyone else who signs up) will be buying and opening ONLY Canadian wines for one whole year. (Follow @TGCWC or #TGCWC on Twitter for updates ...)
Totally taking on that challenge. Not like it's a hardship or anything, most of my cellar right now is already Canadian, with cases of Niagara, County and Nove Scotia wines en route. Of course, I may have to risk it and order some B.C. wines direct to even out the playing field ... egads! (insert dramatic, sarcastic gasp here.) That's right, LCBO. ORDER DIRECT. To quote the late Pierre Trudeau: "Just watch me."