Relevations about Canadian wine regions…
On March 24th, LUSH West Town played host to a showcase tasting of Canadian wineries, put on by the Canadian consulate. Primarily focused on Ontario and British Columbia, wines ranged from zippy, spritely Riesling to peppery Cab Franc, and right back around to intensely little bottles of icewine. A nice little related article, and video!, may be found here; http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/todays-chicago-woman/2010/03/chicago-canadian-wine-tasting-cave-spring-cellars.html.
Nestled between two of the Great Lakes (Ontario and Erie), the Ontario ‘Niagara on the Lake’ wine region has a bit more tempered climate and conditions quite well suited to growing grapes…promoted by the wineries as comparable to Burgundy, a cool weather site, and accentuated by the glacial soils, the Escarpment and swirling, cool winds. 2007 peaked a bit in temperature, and some of the wines got quite fat, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Other regions were present and well represented. Check out this link for a full run down of the regions of Ontario and wineries; http://winesofontario.org/winery-list.php.
The British Columbia wine region is an incredible juxtaposition, far flung out in the Pacific Northwest, with more extreme coastal influences and the rain shadow directly affecting precipitation, highly varied topography of the Cascades, and glacial deposits. The Okanagan Valley has been aligned with Napa Valley, except back in the day. Wine styles here are more similar to Bordeaux, yet also embrace the sweeter, softer side with German inspired icewine.
Wineries on hand were the following, in alphabetical order. I apologize if my memory is a bit spotty…after all, we were drinking for 3 hours. Only a handful have representation in Chicago at the moment, but that seems to be trending toward expansion and availability. So, keep your eye out for tasty Canadian wines. I was thrilled, and lucky, to taste through all these lovely wines all at once and meet the winemakers, marketing execs, and winery representatives. Hoping to host again!
And one more link for ya, eh…http://winesofcanada.com/.
Cave Spring Cellars
Chateaus des Charmes
Osooyos Larose Estate Winery
Pelee Island Winery