I intended to write an Olympics inspired celebration of Canada’s best but the lack of great, authentically Canadian wines on the shelves of local wine stores made it a challenge. As much an issue of a lack of availability (most great Canadian wines are snapped up in their home province) than a lack of desire by the NSLC and private wine stores, it is still concerning Canada has such challenges delivering wines for the masses that solve the price to quality equation. France turned off the masses by ignoring this equation and export sales sagged (super premium wines aside) but now France is coming back with some great wines at great prices. For those determined to enjoy a great Canadian wine this summer head to Bishop’s Cellar, on the Halifax waterfront, for any wine made by Ontario’s Tawse Winery (but expect to pay over $20) or pick up a local rosé which are proving to be some of our best values (Blomidon Estate’s is great).
Everyday: Lurton Fumees Blanches (NSLC, $14.49)
At under $15 this is one of the best value Sauvignon Blanc on the shelves. A brilliantly fresh white wine that delivers the crisp green fruit flavours and delicate herbaceous tones expected from the grape.
Pairing: Pan Fried Haddock with Lemon and Basil
Gourmet: Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon (Select NSLC stores, Limited Availability, $17.99)
This star of the NSLC’s new program showcasing wines with big accolades but affordable price tags delivers on its promise. This wine received a glorious 92-94 from the Wine Advocate. I more likely would have judged it 90 in a competition, but it is all just semantics. This savoury and spicy red has a great core of cherry fruit and mocha flavours and a warming finish. Be sure to let this breath in your glass or a decanter before serving as it opens up with aeration.
Pairing: Grilled Provencal Herb Marinated Flank Steak with a Savoury White Bean Stew
Mark DeWolf is the food & drinks editor of Occasions Magazine, a sommelier instructor and owner of By the Glass.