A couple of weeks ago I chatted with a suave French man who enthusiastically raved about Canadian wine. But I hadn’t been aware that French wine enthusiasts were allowed to dig beyond the relatively obscure local varieties like Beaujolais and Bishop’s. Some French wine experts are now promoting Canadian wine among their buddies, in an effort to expand the wine market in the United States.
Before I get into this, let me say that even French wine experts find Canadian wines fascinating. Michel Rolland, a master sommelier and author of a book called “The Great Decanter Race,” was impressed by the Canadian wine industry at its biggest event, the Wine and Spirits Western Canadian Conference (WASCC) in Vancouver last month.
“Canadian winemakers are relatively young and eager to learn,” Mr. Rolland said. “They are, in fact, passing on these lessons and habits to younger generations, something which is quite inspiring.”
Canadian winemakers like Matt McMillan from Chilliwack, who spoke at WASCC and made a fine Cabernet Franc, and my friend David Gernon, of the Grape and Wines International Festivals, have been giving wine lovers advice on how to improve their taste and expanding the wine audience with their advice and presentations.
Mr. Rolland spoke about a wine convention he took part in in Brussels. He described a seminar of Canadians, who produced a wine for someone in the United States who was his age. The winemaker “simply brought the bottle over, rather than opening it.” When the person opened the bottle, he said, he didn’t know it was from Canada.
“The taste surprised me, which is not something I have ever heard of in the British department,” Mr. Rolland said. “It was a rather mean grape like Chardonnay, but the finish was so silky smooth and sweet that I ended up drinking it twice.”
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