Guide to Canada’s Best Wines 2020 – Top Sauvignon Blancs and Semillons

Announcing Canada’s Top Sauvignon Blancs and Semillons

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The Maturation of Canadian Sauvignon Blanc (and Sémillon)

Category Overview by Michael Godel

Let’s talk about sauvignon blanc. The grape that winemakers just seem attracted to, like bees to honey. In Canada, it hates the extreme cold, almost never makes the same wine twice, and is often vegetal and herbaceous. Yet so many want at it, perhaps because some of the world’s greatest examples make some of the best drinking and least idiosyncratic wines. The challenge is the reason and when a winemaker gets it right there is nothing like that sauvignon blanc feeling. All world cool climate viticulture can lead the great white hope into many different directions; Loire Valley smoky and luxe (Pouilly Fumé) or mineral and lightning (Sancerre); flinty, smoky, nutty, creamy and rich (Bordeaux); grassy, grapefruit and herbal or passionate and tropical (New Zealand). Some of Canada’s most successful wines are oak fermented and/or blended with sémillon to mimic the Bordeaux style. Others go steely lean and intense, but also vegetal, and any which way sauvignon blanc might find a way to please every palate.

Once again the trend of British Columbia and Ontario splitting the kudos is replicated in the results as per what the critics thought to be Canada’s best sauvignon blanc, save for one varietal exception. The top wine assessed from Ontario is in fact a varietal sémillon, “another classic” says John Szabo M.S., “inviting, ripe and deliciously round,” writes Sara d’Amato, and from myself, “salted as always by the mineral swell that lurks, sneaks and cuts through.” The best from B.C. is a sauvignon blanc, “full bodied, fleshy and dry,” notes David Lawrason, “clearly a very serious and ambitious wine, also complex,” adds John and in my estimation “crunchy and crisp, intensely orchestrated and just plain rockin’ out white wine.” Both sauvignon blanc and sémillon can buy a thrill as witnessed by the maturation of Canadian winemaking when it comes to using these two worldly and flexible grapes.

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The top 10 Sauvignon Blancs/Semillons in Canada:


Stratus Semillon 2018, Niagara-on-the Lake ($32) 

Leaning Post Sauvignon Blanc 2019, VQA Niagara Lakeshore ($28)

Peller Estates Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Niagara-on-the Lake ($32) 

CedarCreek Platinum Border Vista Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Okanagan Valley ($38) 

Mt. Boucherie Original Vines Lost Horn Vineyard Semillon 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley ($35) 

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019, BC VQA Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley ($40)

Trius Showcase Clean Slate Sauvignon Blanc Wild Ferment 2018, VQA Niagara-on-the Lake ($32) 

Icellars Sauvignon Blanc 2019, VQA, Twenty Mile Bench ($35)

More top Sauvignon Blanc and Semillons


Stratus Sauvignon Blanc 2018, VQA Niagara-on-the Lake ($29)
Meldville Fifth Edition Sauvignon Blanc 2019, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore ($20) 
Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($23)
Tawse Sauvignon Blanc Grower’s Blend 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($26)
Howling Bluff Three Mile Creek Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley, Naramata Bench ($22)


Peller Estates Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($21) 
Inniskillin Reserve Fume Blanc 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($29)
Rosehall Run Hungry Point Sauvignon Blanc 2019, VQA Prince Edward County ($28)


Peninsula Ridge Wismer Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019, VQA Twenty Mile Bench ($20)
One Faith 2018 One Faith Vineyard Barrel Aged Blanc 2018, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($25)
Wild Goose Sauvignon Blanc 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Falls ($23)

indicates the wine received a 5 star value rating from two or more writers.

Return to the complete Guide to Canada’s Best Wines.