December 30, 2020
As we plan to ring-in the much anticipated new year (and leave 2020 in the past), I wanted to share some of the most memorable Canadian sparking wines I tasted this past year should you be looking to toast with a special bottle of fine Canadian wine this New Year’s Eve. Because a celebration isn’t complete without some fine sparkling wine, here’s a few I highly recommend enjoying this New Year’s Eve and throughout 2021.
Starting off with a recent LCBO Vintages release from earlier this month.
Jackson-Triggs’ 2016 Entourage Grand Reserve Brut
Matt’s review: Jackson-Triggs’ 2016 Entourage Grand Reserve Brut – A very impressive high quality sparking wine from this well known Niagara-on-the-Lake winery. At $29.95, Jackson-Triggs’ Entourage Grand Reserve Brut has become a Sommelier favourite with each vintage given its consistent quality yet at a fraction of the price sparkling wines of this caliber often command. The 2016 vintage is the finest I recall tasting – every component of this wine is working in beautiful harmony, from its creamy mousse to the rich stone fruit and marzipan pasty notes, culminating with a long refreshing finish as the endless stream of micro bubbles persists. Enjoy 2020-2025. Tasted June 2020. Highly recommended! 93 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Another recent Vintages release, from Ontario:
13th Street Winery Cuvée 2014
13th Street Winery’s Premier Cuvée 2014 is a beautiful expression of the fine sparkling wines their talented winemaker produces each and every year. Produced in a zero dosage style, making it extra crisp and refreshing – and what most come to love and expect with any premium sparking wine. The 2014 vintage is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, which benefitted from 48+ months lees aging, with no oak influence, thereby preserving the natural fruit characteristics, with the added complexity those four years of aging on the lees adds in the bottle. Crisp golden apple, biscuit, nutty notes, and a hint of honey on the nose and palate. Great structure with mouthwatering freshness making it a terrific choice to enjoy for any celebration and with a wide range of dishes, and a great candidate for medium term cellaring. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted September 2020. 92+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Arguably Canada’s favourite wine, Benjamin Bridge’s Nova 7, and the 2019 vintage, the finest I’ve ever tasted!
In its thirteenth vintage now, the 2019 is by far the best I’ve tasted! The perfect balance of aromatic and crisp fruit, Bay of Fundy-influenced sea breeze minerality, mouthwatering texture, and all with a welcome low alcohol (6%) and RS (39g/L), delivering an arguably perfect expression of Nova 7!
Sometimes nature’s disruptions workout for the best. Although not initially viewed as a positive, there was a silver lining when Hurricane Dorian struck and disrupted the ripening of the grapes in fall 2019, resulting in a harvest with a lower Brix levels than normal, which led to a lower alcohol and reduced residual sugar style of Nova 7. Coupled with Benjamin Bridge’s non-interventionist winemaking, the results of the 2019 Nova 7 are outstanding, this is the finest Nova 7 to-date!
Beautifully balanced, this crisp and subtly off-dry wine is perfectly balanced with mouthwatering acidity and refreshing minerality making it a great choice for east coast seafood appetizers, sushi, tart berry desserts, or simply to enjoy on its own.
Tasted April 9, 2020 on Nova 7 day. 98 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
A beautiful Rosé sparking wine from Canada’s east coast…
Canada’s iconic sparkling wine house, Benjamin Bridge, has released its first non-vintage (NV) Rosé which builds off of the success of their NV Brut, along with their fantastic vintage sparkling wines. A beautiful copper/rose gold colour, the nose shows field strawberries, fresh baked strawberry scones, sweet red apple, and that Gaspereau Valley hallmark, sea breeze. Very refreshing and so incredibly sessionable, especially in the summer sun with good friends, this is a fantastic wine to enjoy in any setting and for me a charcuterie platter is a great place to start. If you haven’t tasted a Benjamin Bridge sparkling wine this would be a great starting place, followed by their NV Brut, vintage Brut, vintage Rosé, and finishing with their iconic Nova 7 – arguably one of Canada’s most loved wines. The NV Rosé is a food pairing superstar – from BBQ to salads to seafood, it complements them all with its elegant and fruity style. First tasted in 2018, and each year after. 92 points consistently. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Now for the most decadent, yet refreshing, sparking dessert wine you could imagine…
Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2018
Iconic Canadian Icewine producer, Inniskillin, is world-renowned for their luxurious Icewines, and their sparkling Vidal Icewine is completely next level, a textural experience like no other! Their rich and refreshing Vidal Icewine is further enhanced by endless microbubbles producing arguably the most refreshing dessert wine on the planet. Honey, candied pears, stone fruit, and baking spice on the nose and palate, this sparkling Icewine is loaded with decadent flavours that complement any dessert imaginable from honey-lavender crème brûlée to vanilla mousse chocolate cake or your favourite take-out, whether that be sweet, spicy and crispy General Tso’s chicken or a foie gras poutine – you’ll enjoy them all with this incredibly food-friendly wine. Highly recommended. Tasted December 2020. 96 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Here’s wishing you a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a 2021 full of health and prosperity including enjoying many fine wines with the special people in your life.