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Reasons to drink Canada dry

Canada Wines Come To Trafalgar Square


 As tastings start to get back to normal, it is certainly good to be heading into town for an introduction to what Canada House to offer. A few years ago I went to a tasting of Canadian wines in the basement of a cellar near Liverpool Street Station and found then to be a rather mixed bunch. Either they were tremendous icewines, or pale imitations of the classic varieties. I'm glad to say that this latest tasting really took the quality up a notch and there were interesting wines in abundance.

 Before this, I had to work my way through security at the High Commission of Canada. A beautifully opulent building that overlooks Trafalgar Square and is opposite the South African Embassy (more on that later). I had been asked not to bring any electronic devices (my phone and laptop say locked away) and I still wonder how I would remembered the event.

 My home is filled with slips of paper, receipts and other such wine tasting notes that have helped me to write Winefullness Magazine. 

 The memorable and convivial atmosphere that emanated from both my fellow tasters and the representatives of the vineyards meant that memory was less of a problem. Even the security people I passed as I entered the building were some of the most pleasant I've encountered, and warm conversations were easy to come by.

 I was one of the first to enter, and as I tend to do at events like this, my first action is to walk around the room seeing what is on offer and weighing up my potential strategy before diving in.


 I must tell you that I plumped for my usual of Whites, Sparklers, Rosés and then Red. I did worry that with the number of wines available I might miss out on some of the Reds, but strategies always have consequences!

 I mentioned in a previous addition of Winefulness Magazine that my taste buds seem to drift somewhere between 30 and 40 wines. I don't know what it was about this event, but this did not happen.

 You will see from the entries below that I have only picked a few wines, although talking to quite a few other taster's there appeared to be a general consensus when it came to the high quality of some of the wines.

Ladies and Gentlemen. I give you six of the best.


Okanagan crush pad

Free form Sauvignon Blanc 2018

 Look at this unfiltered wine and the cloudy base makes its presence known. There's an interesting floral nose that is restrained but hanging pleasantly around.

 The taste is an interesting mixture of conference pears, cream and some extra in the background that reveals itself as mineral and candied fruit.

6 out of 7


Poplar Grove winery

2016 Legacy.

 This is an enjoyable wine that starts a little distant but creeps up on you. There a warming mixture of creamy fruit, cassis and a dark chocolate mousse coming from the glass.

 What a drinkable beauty this turns out to be.

6 out of 7


2019 Chardonnay.

I firstly have to tell you that this is such a lovely colour, and as I held my glass to the light I saw a lovely apple and quince colour that made my mouth water.

 Give a little to your nose and take in that creamy green fruit that is so ripe and welcoming. I did get an usual taste of fresh cola somewhere in the mix and I found it worth the effort.

6 out of 7


Quails' gate Estate Winery

Quails' Gate Stewart family reserve Chardonnay 2019


 The colour hints at the sort of oak that was overused in Califronia in the eighties and nineties. I'm gulping and wondering if my tastebuds can take a trip in this viticultural time machine.

 The smell sees the oak withdraw into its shell and be replaced by pastry cream, undergrowth and rich fruit that promised and delivered an enjoyable wine that evoked old memories but gave me new experiences.

6 out of 7


2013 Charles Baker Riesling Picone vineyard

 These Canadian wineries have upped their game and should demand a lot of respect. No longer do they seem to treat the tastebuds like a pinball machine where everything manically bounces about.

 At first I'm getting crushed foliage with a sliver of goosebery and a refreshing amount of green fruit that hints at a little sweetness but becomes a little tart.

 It's like a Rhumba that hints at so much promise if you stick around and wallow in the bouncing fruit flavours.

6 out of 7


Strewn winery

Strewn Cabernet Sauvignon icewine 2013

 I'm a big fan of Icewine and find it such a fascinating wine that can deliver so much at its best. It's a drink that you know is best tasted in gentle sips that reveal a marvellous marriage of tastes.

 This has a rich nose of caramelised toffee apple, honey and sweetness that isn't too familiar. It's actually like a drink of strawberry jam without the cloying accompaniment.

 There's a richness and viscosity to the taste that is welcoming. This is a wine where you should pull up a chair, take your shoes off and then relax. Just relax!

6 out of 7

 Out of all those I tasted the winery's that really grabbed my attention were Poplar Grove winery and Charles Baker wines, but there were more that offered a lot to the weary taster. Come on, you've got to do a little of the work you know!

 Compared to the last Canadian tasting I went to the quality on display was excellent and this was reflected in the high marks I gave a lot of the wines. Most of them ranked between four and six out of seven, but space meant that I couldn't include them all.

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