More than 130 bottles of sparkling wine from four provinces were popped at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) Thursday, Nov. 29, in the world’s largest tasting of Canadian sparkling wine.
Tom Stevenson, regarded as one of the world’s leading sparkling wine experts, travelled to Brock from the United Kingdom to taste sparkling wines from Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Nova Scotia.
“I am really pleased because there are a lot of really good sparkling wines here,” said Stevenson. “After the first flight I found a few potential gold and silver wines.”
Stevenson has been tasting top sparkling wines blind in the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), which he founded and is the head judge for. He said Canada is a strong contender and hopes some of the producers he earmarked will be encouraged to participate in the global competition.
“It would increase the profile of Canadian sparkling wine. We haven’t typically had many entries from Canada in the past to really see what these producers have available from a competition perspective,” Stevenson said.
Over a number of hours, he tasted the wines alongside wine writer and judge Treve Ring, who said the top wines stood out in the tasting room when it came to balance, complexity and depth.
“I think the top wineries in Canada are making sparkling wines that can easily stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the top wineries around the world,” Ring said. “It was fantastic to see such diversity of wines and styles, everything from ancient method through to traditional method sparkling wine that has been aged for years.”
The tasting was organized and hosted by CCOVI Senior Scientist Belinda Kemp. Her lab, dubbed ‘The Bubble Lab,’ is recognized for its leading sparkling wine research and outreach work, helping grape growers and winemakers produce quality sparkling wines through initiatives such as Fizz Club — a networking group for Canadian sparkling winemakers.
“I’m so pleased we were able to showcase wines from so many wineries, especially with our annual Fizz Club taking place next week,” said Kemp. “It is quite incredible to watch the progress of Canadian sparkling wines as we raise awareness of production techniques and tackle challenges with CCOVI research. This is just the beginning for Canadian sparkling wine.”