Deciding which grapes are blended together while making wine in the New World is often dictated by convention and history in the Old World. In Bordeaux, grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and others are blended together because they offer different qualities to the structure of the wine. They also grow differently based on the soil and weather, and diversifying your vineyard can work a bit like insurance.
In Canada, many times when we blend grapes, it is to mimic the style of the Old World regions that have been tried and true for hundreds of years but, unlike them, we have no legal restraints about what can be blended with what. I’m always thrilled when I taste a blend I hadn't before (dubiously, perhaps) and the grapes work to successfully complement each other. Here are a few blends from across Canada, available on My Wine Canada, that are a little offbeat and very delicious.
This Chardonnay Musqué blend from Blasted Church was one of my favourite wines when I was starting out as a wine drinker. I loved the orange blossom and citrusy aromatics and the slightly off-dry finish. In a sort of Burgundy-meets-Alsace-meets-Rheingau, this wine is also made up of Chardonnay, Ehrenfelser, and Gewürztraminer. It's years later, and I still love how this wine has stayed as easy-drinking and tasty as ever. (13%, $19)
This wine combines two grapes that grow very well in the Niagara Peninsula: Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. So why was I so surprised to see them together? The Cuveé Métis is a 50/50 blend from young vines. It's fresh and vibrant with notes of brambly berry fruits and baking spice. These grapes partner so seamlessly together, you won't be able to tell where one ends and the other begins. (12.2%, $27.20)
This blend from Haywire is made mostly with Gamay with a little addition of Syrah for a medium-weight vibrant sipper. The Gamay brings the soft texture, ripe berry fruit, and slight earthy notes, while the Syrah handles the fragrant black peppercorn characters. (12.6%, $21.90)
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.