How to Read Those Confusing Ontario Wine Labels
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How to Read Those Confusing Ontario Wine Labels

What do all those terms mean?

Now that you can confidently purchase a bottle of Canadian wine thanks to Canadian Wine 101, it’s time to get deeper into the bottle. Wine labels can be fairly confusing to read if you’re new to wine, as the industry comes with its own jargon and standards.

But Torontoist is here to look out for you! Here’s a quick guide on how to decipher your typical Ontario wine label, so that you can be a pro at the LCBO or your neighbourhood dinner party.

Torontoist Wine Graphic

2013 Château Des Charmes Old Vines Riesling – Vintages 277228 – $16.95 – ****1/2 –

When I took my first sniff of this wine, it felt like there was a battle taking place in my nose. Mineral? Peach? Lemon? All of these aromas were trying to get out in front, but they mesh together perfectly. The flavours on this wine seem to wrap peach, lemon, and lime in a comfortable mineral jacket. The wine feels dry in the mouth, with just a hint of sweetness on the finish. I plan on enjoying a few bottles of this wine paired only with a second glass.

2014 Culmina R&D Blend – Vintages 445494 – $25.95 – ****+ –

Great value from BC. Before getting into the bottle, it’s hard not to make a comment about the label. It features a photo of Don Triggs (proprieter of Culmina) and his twin brother. The nose offers up cedar and pencil shaving with rich raspberry aromas. In the glass, you will find raspberry, plum, and blackberry. This wine will benefit from a little decanting before getting into the bottle. It’s a solid wine for the price and will make a great match to steak.


2010 Henry of Pelham Estate Pinot Noir – Vintages 268391 – $24.95 – **** –

Aromas of smoke and cherry rise out of the glass. The fact that earth and smoke almost overwhelm the fruit makes me feel this pinot has a dark side. There’s an earthiness that settles on your palate, but then the wine blooms in your mouth with floral flavours. The finish on this wine offers a mossy forest floor and hint of mushrooms. This begs to be paired with lamb cooked any way, but, given the weather, it should be the barbecue.

2014 The Foreign Affair Enchanted – Vintages 389767 – $17.95 – **** –

I’m a big fan of the appassimento treatment the Foreign Affair gives their white wines. Appassimento is a style of winemaking where the grapes are dried before pressing to help concentrate the juices. Enchanted is a blend of riesling and chardonnay, and is very rich and flavourful. Apple and peach dominate the flavours of this wine with a nice creaminess on the mid-palate. The best way to serve this wine is to start at fridge temperature, and you are likely going to find more apple and citrus flavours. But leave the bottle out of the fridge and, as it warms up, you will find apples move to peaches and, finally, pineapple.