John Szabo’s Canadian Wine Awards 2012 Dozen Smart Buys from Ontario

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, MS

The 12th annual Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards wrapped up last week in Pentiction, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. A record number of entries – 1266 – were submitted this year. According to several of the 17 judges from 7 provinces across the country, this was the strongest showing for Canadian wines overall in the competition’s 12 year history. The most exciting categories, such as chardonnay, riesling, pinot, cabernet franc and syrah, among others, further solidified the varieties and wine styles that perform best in the country. Full, official results will be published in the Dec/Jan. issue of Wine Access, but here are a dozen of my top picks from Ontario, wines that are worth seeking out before results are published and the wines snapped up by collectors.

(Note that all wines were tasted blind in their category – identities were revealed after the competition when each judges’ score sheets were returned – these picks reflect only my top scoring wines and may not necessarily be the competition winners.)

Check with wineries for availability and pricing. In no particular order:

2011 Riverview Cellars Gewürztraminer, Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula
2010 Hidden Bench Roman’s Block Riesling Rosomel Vineyard, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
2010 Tawse Sketches Riesling, Niagara Peninsula
2011 Angel’s gate Pinot Gris Beamsville bench, Niagara Peninsula
2011 Vineland Estates Unoaked Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula
2010 Huff Estates South Bay Vineyard Chardonnay, Prince Edward County

2010 Peller Estates Niagara Private Reserve Merlot, Niagara Peninsula
2010 Southbrook Poetica Red, Niagara Peninsula
2009 Henry Of Pelham Pinot Noir Estate, Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula
2010 Tawse Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula
2010 Rosewood Winery and Meadery Cabernet Franc, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula

2010 Colaneri “Profondo Fumoso Bianco” Sauvignon Blanc Recioto Style, St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula