Canada is on the verge of breaking out big time on the world wine map, says Ian D'Agata, and not just for their sweet wines. He picks 10 exciting wines to try.

During my adolescent years in Toronto, learning both English and French as per the wishes of my Italian parents, I fell in love with the country’s diverse and delicious bottlings.

It’s a love affair that continues, stronger than ever, to this day: I’m still enthralled by what are some of the world’s best, if least known, Rieslings, Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Francs, and champion their merits any chance I have. Once known only for its sweet icewines, it’s the country’s dry wines that are now turning heads.

What I find thrilling is just how much they have improved in a very short period of time. Early efforts were often beyond rustic, and I remember being laughed out of rooms in Italy back in the early ’80s when presenting Ontario Merlots or late-harvest Rieslings to Italian wine snobs trained on Pomerol and Mosel. But the potential for greatness was obvious (at least, to those willing to see it), and my faith never wavered. Over the years, the laughter died away.

Today, much like young New World wine powers such as Oregon and New Zealand, Canada’s wines – and the men and women who make them – have arrived.

A taste of Canada wine:

  • bugzapper

    In the past few years I’ve enjoyed some outstanding Okanagan and Vancouver Island wines. However, Canadian wines won’t be on the verge of breaking out anywhere until the Canadian government stops setting the prices and the U.S. wine protectorate gets over its de facto embargo.

    Just try and find a B.C. wine in Washington State, for example. You’d think they’d be everywhere, but you’d be wrong. They don’t exist south of the border. The same goes for American — and particularly Washington — wines in B.C. Your choices are between the ubiquitous Ch. Ste. Michelle or Barefoot Red…for $14!

    Canada doesn’t have a problem getting their wines into the UK. It sure would be nice if we Yanks could get at them, too, without having to drive to Vancouver just to do so.

  • Kathy Merchant

    I was in Ontario this past week and received a bottle of the Flat Rock Pinot Noir as a gift. I’m even more excited to taste it now! Great (but largely unknown) things are happening in Canada!

  • Adam Williams

    Great article Ian and lovely to see Canadian wines discussed in the UK wine press. It’s exciting to see more and more Canadian wines available in the UK, we’ve recently started representing 5 Canadian wineries in the UK and will have the Cave Springs CSV you recommend in you article available in November.