Ontario Sparkling Wine: tasting 29 different wines from Niagara and Prince Edward County, Canada

Canada’s Ontario wine regions have quite a talent for sparkling wine, and this is becoming quite an important category. Here I tried 29 different wines, and I’ve ranked them in order of scores.

Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs CSV 2015 Beamsville Bench
12% alcohol. No dosage. Lively and precise with crystalline lemony notes. This is really expressive with some nuts and fine toast. Very lively and expressive with nice intensity and a lovely precision. 94/100

Trius Showcase Pinot 2 NV Niagara Peninsula, Canada
72% Pinot Meunier from Hubel Vineyard in Four Mile Creek, supplemented with 24% Pinot Noir and 4% Chardonnay. Multi-vintage with most coming from 2017, and the reserve wines going back to 2010. 3 g/l dosage. This is complex with some marmalade, honey and lime character, as well as some nuts and marzipan character. It’s really quite complex with savoury notes as well as the fruit. Really distinctive with some creaminess on the finish. Very gastronomic. 93/100

Henry of Pelham Carte Blanche Cuvée Catherine 2016 Niagara Peninsula
Lively with fine toasty hints and some subtle pear and peach, as well as citrus. Juicy and lively with nice citrus vitality. Very stylish. 93/100

Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut NV Beamsville Bench
12% alcohol. 4 g/l dosage, 36 months on lees, no malolactic. 100% 2018 vintage, this bottling. This is taut and fine with some nice toasty hints. It’s juicy and precise with a slight pithy edge to the lemony fruit, and also some nice fine toast and bread notes. Very fine and expressive with lovely balance. 93/100

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catherine Brut NV Niagara Peninsula
12% alcohol. 36 months on lees. Lively and intense with lovely citrus fruit and good acidity. Hints of pear and apple. Very stylish with subtle toasty notes and some spice. 92/100

Hidden Bench Natur Zero Dosage 2016 Beamsville Bench, Niagara
12% alcohol. 72% Pinot Noir, 28% Chardonnay, all from estate vineyards. Barrel fermented to oak, goes to bottle after 8 months. TA 8.65 g/litre, pH 2.9. This is powerful, toasty and intense with lovely citrus fruit as well as some great acidity. Lovely depth of flavour: pear, peach and some citrus peel, with a hint of cherry, and a long finish. This is $42 in the local market. Lovely intensity. 92/100

Leaning Post Traditional Method NV Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada
Single-vineyard Blanc de Blancs from the Beamsville Bench, from a vineyard (Hemeris) that always produces fruit with sparkling wine analysis. Base wine is barrel-fermented and aged in oak for 6 months. 36 months on the lees, 2 g/l dosage. This is bright and focused with pithy citrus fruit. Lean and taut with high acidity and a bright fruit quality. Linear and pure with nice precision. Very stylish. 92/100

Stratus Blanc de Blancs 2014 Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
12.5% alcohol. Complex and intense with liqourice, lemons, wax and sour cherries, with keen acidity under the bold fruit. There’s a lot going on here: a weighty wine with lots of flavour, high acidity and a dry finish. 92/100

Jackson Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Blanc de Blancs 2017 Niagara Peninsula
No dosage. Lively, pure and fresh with some citrus fruit and a bit of appley depth. Saline and finely wrought with lovely intensity. Juicy and linear with nice purity. 92/100

Two Sisters Blanc de Franc 2019 Niagara River, Canada
Zero dosage. Fresh and lovely with lovely lemon and cherry notes, as well as a touch of mandarin. Very bright with green apples and a fine spiciness on the finish. Taut lemony fruit is at its core. 92/100

Tawse Spark Blanc de Blancs 2019 St Davids Bench, Niagara
Low dosage of 2 g/l. Bright, pure and linear with pithy citrus fruit. Very bright and linear with some depth. 92/100

13th Street Winery Gamay Blanc de Noir 2019 Creek Shores, Niagara
Lively, focused and taut. Very expressive with tart lemon and a touch of mandarin. Very bright and focused with a nice bitter hint, finishing dry. 91/100

13th Street Winery Blanc de Blanc 2019 Niagara Peninsula
12.5% alcohol. Zero dosage. Taut, fresh and lively with bright citrus fruit and some pear. Really expressive with a slight pithiness. This is dry and focused with a bit of structure and lovely acidity. Nice fruit intensity here. 91/100

Queenston Mile Grand Mile 2017 St Davids Bench
60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 39 months on lees. Fruity, lively and zesty with nice intensity of vivid citrus fruit with some spicy bite and a hint of apple and cherry. 91/100

Two Sisters Sparkling Rosé 2019 Niagara Peninsula
Very pale pink in colour, this shows lovely weight. Juicy with a hint of orange peel and mandarin, as well as some cranberry. Nice balance. 91/100

Redstone Limestone Vineyard Sparkling 2017 Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara
80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, from the Limestone vineyard near Jordan, on the edge of the escarpment. Planted 1999. Lively, bright and focused with lovely fresh citrus fruit and a touch of pithiness. There’s a hint of marmalade here as well as lime. Nice, pure, chiselled, linear but with some exotic fruitiness too. 91/100

Rosehall Run Ceremony Blanc de Blancs 2017 Prince Edward County
Some malolactic and zero dosage. Lovely lemon and apple fruit with nice acidity. Has supple fruit with a bit of bite on the finish, and it’s slightly saline. Vital and expansive. 91/100

Tawse Spark Laundry Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 2013 Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara
12% alcohol. Pinot Noir, single vineyard. Six years on lees, disgorged July 2021, 7 g/litre dosage. This is complex and mouthfilling with cherry and almond notes, as well as some nuttiness. This is quite savoury, with hints of toast and spice. Marzipan, cream and wax, with good acidity. 90/100

Ravine Vineyards Brut NV Niagara-on-the-Lake
Fresh and supple with a nice citrus and apple core. Slightly salty hints, too. It’s mineral, expressive and quite open. 90/100

Trius Brut NV Niagara Peninsula, Canada
70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir. 8 g/l dosage. Around 2 years on lees. Crisp, taut and focused with lovely citrus fruit the main theme, and good acidity. This is very fresh and focused with nice intensity. Lovely fruit, nice purity, and a compact structure. Impressive in this very clean, crisp style. 90/100

Trius Brut Rosé NV Niagara Peninsula, Canada
70% Chardonnay, 23% Pinot Noir, 4% Pinot Meunier, with 3% Gamay as a red wine blended in to give colour. Dosage is 8 g/l. Pale pink in colour. Nice bright fruit here with citrus and a hint of cranberry, as well as a twist of sour cherry. Has lovely fruit purity and good acidity. Compact and vital, this is really expressive. 90/100

Jackson Triggs Entourage Sparkling Rosé 2017 Niagara Peninsula
Taut, focused and fresh with lovely citrus drive. It’s a direct, dry rosé with some cranberry and citrus character. 90/100

Bighead Big Bang Block Blanc de Noirs NV St Davids Bench
Ripe, rich and balanced with notes of cherry and orange peel, a bit of spice and a zesty finish. Supple and fruity. 90//100

Creekside Sauvignon Blanc Backyard Bubbly 2019 Ontario
Charmat method. Very aromatic and fruity with elderflower and citrus. Fresh and zesty with nice weight on the palate and a slight saltiness. Lovely. 90/100

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catherine Rosé Brut NV Niagara Peninsula
12% alcohol. Very pale in colour, this is supple and bright with lovely sappy hints, notes of cherry and pear, and a touch of lemony brightness. This is fruit driven. 90/100

Lakeview Sparkling Wine 2020 Niagara Peninsula
Fresh and linear with nice apple and pear fruit with some fine spiciness. Good acid line here: zesty and bright with some appley hints on the finish. 89/100

Angels Gate Archangel Chardonnay 2017 Beamsville Bench
This is supple and appley with some lemony notes. Bright and expressive with some toasty richness and a hint of sweetness on the finish. 89/100

Westcott Vineyards Violette Sparkling Rosé NV 2018 Niagara Escarpment
Lively and bright with fresh red cherry and some spice. Has a bit of flesh and lovely weight. Lively with nice sweetness on the finish. 89/100

Ravine Vineyard Charmat Rosé NV Ontario
Fruity bright and expressive showing our cherry and cranberry fruit with good acidity. Fruity and fun. 89/100

Queenston Mile Pét Nat Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 St Davids Bench
Fruity with nice weight. Has a touch of pear and cherry with a savoury, yeasty twist. Has a saline twist. Combines fruity notes with some savouriness. 88/100