Guide to Canada’s Best Wines 2020 – White Blends

Announcing Canada’s Top White Blends

Many of these wines can be easily purchased by clicking on the wine and then the Buy a Case Now button.

 by Janet Dorozynski DipWSET, PhD

Canadian wineries have been making white blends for several decades and the category can be a catchall for many types of wines that blend two or more white varieties. On the one hand, we have those based on the traditional blends from Bordeaux (semillon and sauvignon blanc) or the southern Rhone Valley (primarily marsanne, roussanne and viognier). While on the other hand, some white blends have originated out of economic necessity when wineries blended white varieties that either did not make the cut into single varietal bottlings or to draw upon a source of high yielding aromatic varieties, usually made into easy drinking, entry-level wines. There is also a third category of white blends, those that are intentionally made and innovative in nature and which combine traditional Bordeaux and southern Rhone white varieties along with some Burgundy and Alsatian grapes thrown in for good measure. The white blend category’s top scoring wine, the 2017 Stratus White from Niagara on the Lake falls into this category and has always been an assemblage of the many white varieties grown on the estate.

Many of the early white blends in Canada hail from British Columbia with many of the first examples of sauvignon blanc and semillon blends from Mission Hill, Sumac Ridge and Jackson-Triggs Okanagan. There were also numerous off-dry white blends which were and are still made from aromatic varieties like ehrenfelser, ortega and schonburger, which were bred in Germany for cooler climates and high yields and planted in the late 1970s and early 80s as part of the Becker trials of large scale vinifera plantings in the Okanagan Valley. The varietal mix in BC white blends has expanded over the years with many of the finest recent examples combining southern Rhone varieties – marsanne, roussanne and viognier, into successful blends as witnessed by this year’s category frontrunners.

Ontario and Quebec also make white blends in varying degrees. Over the past decade or two, we have seen more white blends coming from both Niagara and Prince Edward Country made from both Bordeaux and southern Rhone white varieties. As well, in many parts of Quebec there are blends of hybrid varieties like seyval blanc, St. Pepin and frontenac gris that were bred at the University of Minnesota for cold weather hardiness and are being made into unique and intriguing blends.

Nova Scotia has also entered the white blends game in a big way by establishing the country’s first white blend appellation wine called Tidal Bay. Created in 2011, Tidal Bay white blends must be made from designated white varieties, which are 100% Nova Scotian grown and adhere to specific viticultural and winemaking practices. The signature style reflects the coastal breezes and cooler climate of the region and is well suited to the local bounty of the sea.

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

The top 10 White Blends in Canada: 


Stratus White 2017, Niagara On The Lake VQA ($39)

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2019, VQA Okanagan Valley ($35)

Nk’mip Cellars Merriym White Meritage 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($37)

Kew Marsanne/Viognier 2017, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment ($20)

Moon Curser Roussanne Marsanne 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA ($27)

Wild Goose Autumn Gold 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($20)

Pentage Roussanne/Marsanne 2015, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($35)

Time White Meritage 2018, Okanagan Valley ($29)

Tightrope Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Thomas Vineyard 2019, VQA Okanagan Valley, Naramata Bench ($24)

C.C. Jentsch Cellars The Quest 2018, Okanagan Valley ($21)

More top White Blends:


Riviere Du Chene Phoenix Blanc 2019, Igp Vin Du Quebec, Basses Laurentides ($22)
Nk’mip Cellars Dreamcatcher 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA ($32)
Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2019, VQA Okanagan Valley, Naramata Bench ($22)

Karlo Estates 3 Witches 2018, Ontario VQA ($20)
Noble Ridge Mingle 2019, Okanagan Falls BC VQA ($20)
Jackson Triggs Okanagan Grand Reserve White Meritage 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA ($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.