While visiting my family in Canada with Kim and Wendy Marcus, we uncorked several of the country's wines. We bought a few from the LCBO store (see Kim's tasting note on a white), and my brother David arrived with three bottles to enjoy with our meals over the weekend.
Canada's two major vineyard areas are the Niagara Peninsula and British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The former encompasses most of the 15,000 acres under vine in Ontario and accounts for 80 percent of Canada’s wine production. The Okanagan Valley’s 4,000 acres of vines are the source of 95 percent of B.C.’s wines.
With one meal of beef done in the rotisserie, Mission Hill's Shiraz Okanagan Valley Reserve 2006 delivered plenty of ripe, slightly jammy plum and sweet blackberry aromas and flavors. It picked up accents of spice on the generous finish. I gave it 86 points, non-blind.
The following evening, my brother roasted three chickens on the grill. One of the reds we washed them down with was from the Niagara Peninsula, the Cabernet Sauvignon VQA Niagara Lakeshore 2005 made by Palatine Hills. Though it didn’t show a lot of complexity, this red had good varietal character, showing black currant, cedar and oak spice notes, all well-balanced. 85 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Canadian wines.