Results of the 2017 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada (The Nationals)

Intro by David Lawrason

Ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses with the very best – the top one percent – of wines judged at the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada. The 20 platinum winning wines come in different shades and styles, from different grapes and different places, but they stand together on the summit of wine in Canada.

They were chosen in a rather simple, practical and, I think, fair way. After passing through two rounds of judging, and between the lips of 12 to 14 different judges, they received the highest average scores among over 1700 wines entered. We simply said Platinum goes to the top one percent – this year we had a few ties so we ended up with 20 wines.

Platinum is truly an achievement, but don’t let the platinum bling blind you to the golds, or even the silver medalists in this competition. Much like Olympic competitions the scoring between the silver, gold and platinum range is narrow. I would happily put any of them on my table.

But a Platinum Medal does boost the chances of a winery finishing well in the race to Winery of the Year, which ascribes performance points weighted to each medal level. The five top performing wines of each winery are simply aggregated. I know that the sleuthing about who has won Winery of the Year is well underway, and now the final clues (but not the answer) are in place.

My only other observation is that the styles of wines on our list below do provide a pointer as to what types of wines are rising to the top in Canada.

Whites and sparkling wines were the story, with 12 of 20 Platinums. Riesling, with five Platinums, was the strongest single variety (four from Ontario, one from B.C.) Chardonnay with four Platinums, all from Ontario, is virtually as strong. Sparkling wines took three (one each from Nova Scotia, Ontario and B.C.).

Only four red wines took Platinum, three from B.C., and all based either entirely made from or based on Rhone varieties. There is notable absence of any “Bordeaux variety” reds made from cabernet/merlot and company. And this year no notoriously fickle pinot noirs either (perhaps due to overripe B.C. 2015s and less ripe Ontario 2014s)

And finally, there were three “sweeties”, and only one of them icewine – from the red tempranillo grape no less. There were several gold icewines but I am sure it would be a revelation to most off-shore observers that table wines were so dominant over icewines in the final result of a Canadian wine competition. But they might be tickled that one of the great sweet wines is actually made from maple syrup in Quebec.

If you have missed our far more detailed commentary on the various categories – with a few being rolled out each day over the past few days – see the complete list of winners here.

Platinum Winners

Flat Rock Nadja's Vineyard Riesling 2016
Flat Rock Cellars 2016 Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Redstone Riesling Limestone Vineyard South Block 2013
Redstone 2013 Riesling Limestone Vineyard – South, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2014
Tantalus 2014 Old Vines Riesling, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Wild Cask 2015
Thirty Bench 2015 Small Lot Riesling Wild Cask Estate Vineyard, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Wood Post Vineyard 2015
Thirty Bench 2015 Small Lot Riesling Wood Post Vineyard, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Leaning Post Chardonnay Wismer Vineyard 2014
Leaning Post 2014 Chardonnay Wismer Vineyard, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Redstone Chardonnay Select Vineyard 2013
Redstone 2013 Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2013
Tawse 2013 Chardonnay Quarry Road Vineyard, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Trius Showcase Chardonnay Wild Ferment Oliveira Vineyard 2015
Trius 2015 Showcase Chardonnay Wild Ferment Oliveira Vineyard, Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Bench 1775 Blanc De Blanc 2012
Bench 1775 2012 Blanc de Blancs, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique Blanc De Blancs 2009
Benjamin Bridge 2009 Méthode Classique Blanc de Blancs, Nova Scotia

Henry Of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Blanc De Blanc 'carte Blanche' 2012
Henry of Pelham 2012 Cuvée Catharine Blanc de Blanc ‘Carte Blanche’, Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

La Frenz Ensemble Reserve 2015
La Frenz 2015 Ensemble Reserve, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Burrowing Owl Syrah 2015
Burrowing Owl 2015 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Creekside Syrah 2013
Creekside 2013 Estate Syrah , Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Lake Breeze Syrah Torok Vineyard 2014
Lake Breeze 2014 Syrah Torok Vineyard, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

The Similkameen Collective Gsm 2014
Road 13 Vineyards 2014 Similkameen Collective GSM, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia

Domaine Acer Charles Aimé Robert
Domaine Acer N/V Charles-Aimé Robert , Quebec

Domaine Acer Val Ambré
Domaine Acer N/V Val Ambré, Quebec

Inniskillin Okanagan Discovery Series Tempranillo Icewine 2012
Inniskillin Okanagan 2012 Discovery Tempranillo Icewine, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia