Rosé and Cider – Medal Winners from the 2017 Nationals

Announcing the Results from the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada

Due to the large number of top quality Canadian wines entered this year, we have decided to break the announcement of the results into more manageable pieces. Between July 17th and 28th we will be announcing a few categories at a time, wrapping up on July 28th with the Canadian Winery of the Year. 

Results from the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada

We’ve asked a few of our judges to summarize their impressions of each category. Today we present Rosé and Cider with a few words from Sara d’Amato:


by Sara d’Amato

Rosé is another burgeoning category in Canada and we were delighted to taste such an influx of more complex styles, both fleshy and balanced as well as the dry & pale which are so à la mode. Given the distinct uptake in this category, we hope we will see a direct correlation in consumer uptake as well, not just throughout the summer but in the cooler months also. It may come as a surprise to learn that one in every three bottles sold in France is of the pink persuasion. Given this statistic, we have a great deal of work to do in terms of consumer awareness for this versatile category of wine throughout the nation.

We recognized a great deal of rosé this year, from platinum to bronze, the vast majority from Niagara and the Okanagan but with a few medaled surprises from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, the Similkameen and Vancouver Island. Pink comes in all forms from still to sparkling, and fortified to fruit. But pink is not just a trend, it signals a wine region coming into its own and realizing an untapped potential that the great wine nations of the world have come to favour. In Ontario, the LCBO reports an 11% increase in rosé sales this year as compared to last and a 24% increase in VQA rosés. Rosés are hot, and not just for hot weather, the SAQ reports the largest off-season rosé purchase ever in 2017, according the Vins de Provence.

In times past, nation-wide, rosé was a kitchen sink blend of whatever remained, bled-off, and added to a cuvée. Invariably, this makes the worst rosé. What enhances the quality of a rosé, firstly, is when it is made intentionally. No longer an afterthought, our top scoring finds in this year’s National Wine Awards, show intent, foresight and an appreciation of the art of assemblage. #rararosé

NWAC17 Rosé Medal Winners


by Sara d’Amato

This year saw an explosion of entries into the Cider category. Last year we were delighted to have 18 cider entries – we were over the moon with 56 entries this year. They came from Nova Scotia to the Similkameen and just about everywhere in between. Ontario showed its strength taking 8 out of the 16 medaled ciders this year. Although the cideries are located throughout southern Ontario, the heartland for apples destined for cider is located around the Blue Mountains and Georgian Hills area as demonstrated by those recognized below. Slightly further east in the Innisfil region, on the shores of Lake Simcoe, as well as further west outside of London near the Lambton shores of Lake Huron, were also sources of many winning apples. In Quebec, one can follow the cider routes of the Monterégie, or visit a plethora of others in the Eastern Townships, Chaudiére-Appalaches, in the Lautentides and the list goes on.

The styles of ciders across the country still vary greatly and seem to be more influenced by cultural terroir than physical. Quebec is a hotbed for iced, fortified and Basque style ciders. Dry and off-dry, rosé versions – with skin contact – in Quebec are well worth the discovery. Nova Scotia is producing a range of styles from sweet, to grape infused to dry UK style versions using both traditional and non-traditional apples. The Similkameen Valley of BC has long been known for its wealth of small, family-owned orchards, and it is no surprise that an example found its way in to a winning category. The Okanagan Valley produces close to 20% of Canada’s apples and strong showings were expected and received. While Ontario’s burgeoning craft cider industry continues to struggle with issues of categorization and taxation in the province, some traditional wineries are trying their hand at cider production to a successful end.  Ontario’s bounty of non-traditional cider apples has lead to unique products such as grape wine infused examples to class dry, UK styles.

We have a great deal to look forward to nationally in terms of this relatively young craft industry. Although certain regions, such as Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, have been growing apples for export for centuries, there is a great deal of energy and enthusiasm focused on local cider production as of late. The market appears to be equally responsive with the majority of provinces across the country reporting surges in sales of craft cider in local monopolies.

NWAC17 Cider Medal Winners

Summary of the results of the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada.

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