Guide to Canada’s Best Wines 2020 – Rosé

Announcing Canada’s Top Rosé

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Rosé Trending Upward
Category Overview by David Lawrason

There are some positive trends among pink wines in Canada, not the least of which is that quality is improving. Once largely treated as an easy money by-product of red wine to sell from the tasting room, more winemakers are thinking carefully about what they want to achieve with rosé. This is because rosé, globally, has become very important and much loved, even in the off-seasons. The competition has stiffened, the packaging is very creative and Canadian wineries need to stand in to be counted. And many are. The top dozen below scored 89 or better, with the top three at 91.

The style trend is very much to the ultra-pale, dry Provencal fashion. There were many entries going this route, with subtle red fruits and florals. Conversely there are very few in the old camp of very deep colour, obvious confected fruit and off-dry sweetness.  That style still has its fans, and there is inherently nothing wrong it if it is well executed (Tavel in France is in this style) but I for one certainly become immediately wary when I see a rosé with too much colour.

Another important trend that is perhaps a bit more Canadian is the use of pinot noir as the base grape. Four of the top scoring wines are pinot noir based. This makes all kinds of sense because pinot noir is a good fit in our more northerly latitude and shorter growing season, and it is growing from coast to coast. The top four pinot-based rosés are from Okanagan Valley, Prince Edward County, Vancouver Island and Niagara Peninsula. In vintages or vineyards where notoriously difficult pinot may be a struggle to make good red wine, rosé is a very handy outlet.  The second most common base grape is cabernet franc which certainly makes sense for the same reasons at least in Niagara and the Okanagan.

And the last observation from our results is that, as quality improves so does value. This because prices are fairly stable, with most rosé priced under $25. A couple are steering toward $30.  The value ratings are consistently three or four stars, which should provide Canadian consumers some confidence as they shop for Canadian pink.

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

The top 10 Rosé in Canada:

Thirty Bench Small Lot Rosé 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula  ($22)

50th Parallel Pinot Noir Rosé 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley  ($27)

Rosehall Run Small Lots Rosé Of Pinot Noir 2019, VQA Prince Edward County  ($29)

Leaning Post Rosé 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula  ($20)

Unsworth Rosé 2019, BC VQA British Columbia  ($22)

Adamo Underdog Rosé 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula  ($25)

Foxtrot Foxly Rosé 2019, BC VQA British Columbia  ($27)

Lunessence Blanc De Noirs 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley  ($28)

Arrowleaf Rosé 2019, Okanagan Valley  ($20)

Volcanic Hills Rosé 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley  ($24)

More top Rosé:

See Ya Later Ranch Legacy Rosé 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley  ($29)
Stratus Cabernet Franc Rosé 2019, VQA Niagara On The Lake (1500ml)  ($65)
Rosehall Run Just One Rose Rosé 2019, VQA Ontario  ($18)

Bricklayer’s Reward Rosé 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula  ($19)
La Cantina Vallee D’oka Rosé Du Calvaire 2019, Quebec  ($20)
Nk’mip Cellars Winemakers Rosé 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley  ($21)

Howling Bluff Rosé 2019, Naramata Bench, BC VQA Okanagan Valley  ($22)
Peller Estates Private Reserve Rosé 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula  ($23)
13th Street Gamay Vin Gris Whitty Vineyard 2019, VQA Creek Shores  ($25)

Tightrope Rosé 2019, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley  ($25)
C.C. Jentsch Blanc De Noir 2019, Okanagan Valley  ($26)
Tawse Cherry Avenue Rosé 2019, VQA Twenty Mile Bench  ($28)

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

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