Gold for Canada

Winnipeg Free Press, August 25, 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Gold for Canada

If there were a wine Olympics, our offerings would bring home medals

It's staggering to think I tasted around 400 Canadian wines last week, but it's true -- I was in beautiful Penticton, B.C., to judge at the Wine Access 2012 Canadian Wine Awards.

Now in its 12th year -- this was my fifth year judging -- the competition brought 16 judges and over 1,200 wines from across the country together to take the pulse of the Canadian wine industry.

I'm pleased to report judges came away from the four days of tasting confident our wines are better than ever, and that most of our wines can stand up to the best the world has to offer. There was a real feeling among judges that wineries are increasingly focusing on making the wines best-suited to their region.

Judging goes like this: Wines are grouped by grape variety for judging (there are also categories like red/white blends, dessert wines, fortified wines, sparkling wines, fruit wines and mead) into sets of eight to 10 wines. Judges only know the grape variety/varieties in the wine, not the producer -- glasses come out from the back pre-poured so the bottles aren't seen.

The group of wines (called a flight) is tasted by one or two panels of three to four judges, who write down notes and assign the wine a score based on the 100-point scale commonly used by many wine publications/writers (including here). The best couple of wines from each preliminary flight go through to the final rounds, where the process is repeated.

Of the 1,200-plus wines submitted, around 15 per cent were red blends, typically made up of Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc). Other categories with healthy representation included Chardonnay (oaked and unoaked, both of which did very well), Riesling (another strong category), Pinot Noir (excellent) and Pinot Gris/Grigio (hit-and-miss).

To the surprise of most judges, the grape that showed best throughout the preliminary rounds and final rounds was Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz). Wines submitted in this category consistently showed beautiful purity and concentration of fruit, light tannins and great restraint when it came to oak aging and alcohol content.

In fact, the flight of nine Syrahs I tasted in later-round judging was the best collection of Canadian wine I've tasted in my five years of judging. Many were gold-medal caliber (90 points or higher), and a few undoubtedly went on to the Best Overall Red flight we tasted (grapes were kept from judges for that flight).

Sparkling wine was another category that brought incredible quality.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Gold for Canada


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?