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Bubbly adds a touch of sparkle to any occasion, from fancy-pants holiday dinners to a casual evening’s chill (Netflix optional), and it’s supremely versatile for food pairing. Ontario’s wine scene makes some of the best traditional-method bubblies out there, in a variety of distinctive styles. Here are four effervescent, food-friendly examples.

Here in Ontario, our cool climate is perfect for growing the classic sparkling wine grapes of Champagne, and others, too. This gives local winemakers an exciting palette from which to create a diverse array of bubblies.

Henry of Pelham makes their Carte Blanche vintage bubbly from 100% Chardonnay grown on their estate vineyard on Short Hills Bench. One-fifth of the wine is fermented in barrel, all of it undergoes its bubble-begetting second fermentation in bottle (in the “traditional method” of Champagne), and the resulting sparkling wine is aged an impressive 60 months in bottle before it’s disgorged and finds its way to Vintages shelves. The extended time spent in the bottle, on the lees, imparts a wonderfully toasty brioche-like character to the finished wine. The zesty fruit and mellow toastiness make this bubbly a good choice for veggie tempura, fish and chips, roasted butternut squash quiche with sage and gruyère, or oysters with a squeeze of lemon.

Featherstone uses 100% Pinot Noir—in fact, the entirety of the Pinot they grow on their property—for the Joy vintage bubbly. They give the juice some grape-skin contact to impart a pretty pink colour, and the wine is kept on the lees in bottle for 12 months. This bubbly’s perfumed floral notes, bright acidity and tangy red fruit will pair deliciously with salmon in a lemon-and-butter sauce, or beef sliders with wilted beet greens and grainy mustard.

Peller makes their delightfully unconventional take on bubbly, the Ice Cuvée, from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a little splash of Gamay. The wine spends 12 to 14 months on the lees, after which time it’s disgorged and the secret ingredient, a dosage of Vidal Icewine, adds the finishing touch. The Icewine brings a subtle kiss of sweetness and an extraordinary dimension of richness and flavour, making this a tasty choice for turkey dinner, bruschetta with roasted garlic and creamy cheeses, or rosemary-roasted pork tenderloin with rhubarb-currant chutney.

Tawse uses Riesling, the basis for the best sparkling wines of Germany, to craft their Spark Riesling bubbly—a lively, popular wine we’ve recently added to our Essentials collection. The fruit is grown in Tawse’s Limestone Ridge estate vineyard, which imparts a mineral character to the finished wine. This bubbly’s zippy acidity and zesty, citrusy flavours will shine with fish tacos, scallop ceviche with orange and lime juice, or pork chops with a garlic-lime sauce.


The Finer Points

FEATHERSTONE JOY PREMIUM CUVÉE SPARKLING ROSÉ 2015
Traditional method, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment
450700 (D) 750 mL $29.95

Delicate strawberry, cherry and rhubarb supported by limestone minerality on the finish. Made from 100% Pinot Noir.

90+ points (Matt Steeves)

Medium-bodied & Flavourful

PELLER SIGNATURE SERIES ICE CUVÉE SPARKLING ROSÉ
Traditional method, Icewine dosage, VQA Niagara Peninsula
113035 (M) 750 mL $35.75

Just a kiss of sweetness with delicious strawberry, citrus, watermelon, raspberry, spice, honey and toast.

93 points (Rick VanSickle)

Rich & Complex

HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE ESTATE BLANC DE BLANC 2012
Traditional method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment
315200 (XD) 750 mL $44.95

Elegant, rich and layered with apple, citrus, pear, lemon, vanilla, brioche and mineral. Made from 100% Chardonnay.

92 points (Rick VanSickle)

Medium-bodied & Flavourful

TAWSE SPARK LIMESTONE RIDGE SPARKLING RIESLING 2015
Traditional method, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment
370361 (XD) 750 mL $20.95

A superb value, with suggestions of honey, green apple, lemon and a crisp, pure mineral tone.

Medium-bodied & Flavourful

Organic & biodynamic product

A Vintages Essential