In Canada, our vineyards are almost exclusively planted with popular French grapes—and for good reason—whether for climate suitability, trends, or economic motivations. That being said, there are over a thousand cultivated grape varieties and when a winery is growing a lesser-known grape and achieving success, it's always exciting.
Whenever I hear of Spanish or Italian varieties planted in Canadian vineyards, my ears perk up. Terravista's Fandango is a blend of two white grapes grown in Portugal and the north and northwest areas of Spain: Albarino and Verdejo. This is the only wine in the country made from Albarino or Verdejo, and if this is any marker, there should be a whole lot more. Fandango is bright and fresh with white floral elements and distinct minerality. ($24.90, 14% alcohol)
If the grape Melon de Bourgogne doesn't ring a bell, the appellation it thrives in might: Muscadet. It's the refreshing, briny, and stony wine produced around Nantes at the mouth of France's Loire Valley. Emulating Muscadet's sur lie process, Keint-he ages this wine through the winter on its fine lees. This adds a richer texture and imparts some of those minerally notes to balance the linear, acid-driven qualities. Keint-he makes a delicious example of Melon de Bourgogne, which seems to flourish in Prince Edward County. Will it become a minor star in the region? ($20, 11.3% alcohol)
While the Nova Scotian appellation Tidal Bay and grapes like Ortega and L'Acadie Blanc may not be rare for locals, it's all new for many of us just discovering the province's wine. Tidal Bay is a new appellation for wines that embody coastal characters of “lively fresh green fruit, dynamic acidity and characteristic minerality.” They're tasted by a panel and must have no more than 11% alcohol. These wines are best drunk young and on a patio. Benjamin Bridge's Tidal Bay is among the best I've tried so far and it's exciting to welcome them aboard My Wine Canada. ($23.95, 10.5% alcohol)
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.