We Tasted 43 Canadian Pinot Noirs Live and These Are Our Top Picks - Carl's Wine Club

We Tasted 43 Canadian Pinot Noirs Live and These Are Our Top Picks

On September 30, 2023, during a 5-hour live-streamed tasting marathon, we embarked on a Pinot Noir journey that took us from the vineyards of Ontario to the stunning landscapes of British Columbia. All in the name of learning about and discovering the best examples of this beloved grape!

Our tasting marathon featured an impressive lineup of 43 Canadian Pinot Noirs, with a total known retail value of $1,783. With an average price of $43.50 per bottle including tax, we sampled an array of wines that showcased the craftsmanship and diversity of Pinot Noir in Canada.

This thrilling social media live show was broadcast simultaneously on Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and it garnered a total viewership of around 2,000 views over the following two weeks.

If you're a wine lover, you know that the world of Pinot Noir is as diverse as it is enchanting. Pinot Noir grapes have the remarkable ability to capture the essence of their terroir, resulting in a spectrum of flavours and aromas that can transport your senses to the very place where these grapes are grown.

Ontario's Pinot Noir Excellence

Of the 43 Pinot Noirs in our lineup, 12 hailed from Ontario, with four of them originating from the picturesque Prince Edward County.

Additionally, we had a delightful representation from the Lake Erie Northshore and seven exquisite Pinots from the renowned Niagara region, including one from Niagara-on-the-Lake.

100% of the Ontario Pinot Noirs were certified VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance). What's even more impressive is that 100% of the VQA wines were tied to a sub-appellation - showing the dedication to showcasing specific terroir, and a true testament to the quality and authenticity of these wines.

British Columbia's Pinot Noir Diversity

In the world of Canadian Pinot Noir, British Columbia is making a name for itself, with 31 wines in our tasting lineup.

The Naramata Bench was the most represented sub-GI, featuring seven exceptional wines, closely followed by Okanagan Falls with five standout selections. 13 wines were from the VQA Okanagan Valley regional appellation.

We also explored wines from the Similkameen and Lillooet, highlighting the diverse range of terroirs in BC.

However, it's worth noting that four of the 31 BC Pinot Noirs were not VQA (13%), a fact that can be attributed to either the smaller size of the producers or their desire to shine a spotlight on a particular region. For instance, the hamlet of Kaleden, BC is emerging as a stand out terroir for Pinot Noir, and two of the producers chose to highlight this origin specifically instead of the more generic "VQA Okanagan Valley."

A Glimpse of What Else We Learned...

One of the main goals of our Pinot Noir marathon was to find out who could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Canada's top Pinot Noir producers, including Thomas Bachelder, Leaning Post, and Closson Chase. The results were both surprising and impressive.

In our top 10 Pinot Noirs, we found that three of the highest-rated wines were from Ontario. In fact four of the top five Pinot Noirs are Ontario wines. The 2020 Closson Chase "Closson Chase Vineyard" (94pts), 2019 Leaning Post "Senchuk Vineyard" (94pts), and 2019 Bachelder "Warren Saunders 100" (92+pts), delivered remarkable performances as anticipated. The only BC Pinot Noir to break into the top 5 was the 2021 Tightrope "Fleet Road" with an impressive 92pts, showcasing the growing quality of BC Pinots.

Out of the top 10, the average price per bottle sits at $49.10, with the six Ontario Pinot Noirs averaging $45.70, and the four BC Pinots averaging $54.25 per bottle.

These results not only demonstrate the exceptional quality of Canadian Pinot Noir but also offer a range of options for wine enthusiasts with varying budgets.

Upon tasting these wines over the five hour live marathon, we sealed them overnight and tasted them again with members on October 1, 2023. The initial scores from our live marathon shifted slightly based on our Day 2 findings, with some wines gaining a half point or point in score, while some wines declined slightly. There are also a few wines we tasted that we will look forward to tasting again as they have a lot of potential - and it is possible that they were too close after bottling to evaluate fully right now.

In this moment in time, here are our top ten picks from the live tasting marathon...a glimpse into the world of Canadian Pinot Noir!

Discover Our Top 10 Pinot Noir Picks

  1. 2020 Closson Chase "Closson Chase Vineyard" Pinot Noir

    • Origin: ON, VQA Prince Edward County
    • Rating: 94pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $36
  2. 2019 Leaning Post "Senchuck Vineyard" Pinot Noir

    • Origin: ON, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore
    • Rating: 94pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $65
  3. 2019 Bachelder "Warren Saunders 100" Pinot Noir

    • Origin: ON, VQA Beamsville Bench
    • Rating: 92+pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $48
  4. 2021 Tightrope "Fleet Road" Pinot Noir

    • Origin: BC, VQA Naramata Bench
    • Rating: 92pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $44
  5. 2019 Henry of Pelham "Speck Family Reserve" Pinot Noir

    • Origin: ON, VQA Short Hills Bench
    • Rating: 92pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $35
  6. 2017 Mission Hill "Prospectus" Pinot Noir

    • Origin: BC, VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Rating: 93pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $98
  7. 2020 Westcott 'Reserve" Pinot Noir

    • Origin: ON, VQA Vinemount Ridge
    • Rating: 92+pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $50
  8. 2021 13th Street "Reserve" Pinot Noir

    • Origin: ON, VQA Creek Shores
    • Rating: 91+pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $40
  9. 2019 Solvero Pinot Noir

    • Origin: BC, VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Rating: 91+pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $40
  10. 2021 Upper Bench Pinot Noir

    • Origin: BC, Okanagan Valley
    • Rating: 91pts by Carl's Wine Club
    • Price: $35

Time for Your Own Adventure! Try the Pinot Noir Mystery Pack

If you're eager to explore the enchanting world of Canadian Pinot Noir and discover some of the top-rated gems from our marathon, we have a special offering for you.

Our Pinot Noir Mystery Pack includes a curated selection of six different Pinot Noirs rated 91 points or higher, allowing you to taste and experience the diversity and excellence of Canadian Pinot Noirs.

Don't miss this opportunity to embark on a journey of flavours, aromas, and terroirs, and discover your newest favourite Pinot Noir! 

To see details and purchase your Pinot Noir Mystery Pack, visit this page.

At the time of publishing, only four mystery packs remain!

A big THANK YOU to all of the excellent producers that participated in our 2023 Pinot Noir Marathon by providing samples!

And a huge thank you to you, the wine lover, for making this all possible.

Cheers to the delightful moments each bottle brings to your glass!

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