Celebrate Canada Day this 1 July with these incredible alcoholic beverages from Canada that speak of the country’s vast provenance and terroir.
Canada celebrates its birthday this coming 1 July, to commemorate the anniversary of its formation as a confederacy in 1867 that marked an important milestone on its way to achieving full independence in 1982. Today Canada Day is celebrated differently across its various provinces, with Canadians all over the vast country spending time with family and friends in the backyard over good food and drink, camping out in nature parks, or watching full-blown parades complete with fireworks.
Canada Day isn’t quite celebrated in Singapore, aside from the small but patriotic Canadian expatriate community here. But you still can get into the swing of things by picking up some made-in-Canada alcoholic beverages to understand a little bit more about The Great White North.
So for this coming Canada Day, we look at some of the booze options from Canada – from wines and gins to beer – that recently arrived on Singapore shores.
The Rhone-like wines of Le Vieux Pin, British Columbia
We may be more familiar with the dessert-like ice wines of Canada, but the Great White North also produces some stunning still dry wines of both red and white varieties. For example, the British Columbia winery that is Le Vieux Pin – situated along the Osoyoos Lake on the edge of the Osoyoos desert some 400 kilometres east of Vancouver – may just surprise you with their Rhone-like wines.
There’s their flagship Le Vieux Pin Ava, which blends together the classic white Rhone varietals Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier for a refreshingly crisp drop that tastes like fruit salad. Syrah fans would be intrigued by the Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violette, which follows the Cote Rotie tradition of adding a splash of Viognier to Syrah for incredible complexity and a touch of Northern Rhone authenticity.
You can buy the wines of Le Vieux Pin from The Straits Wine Company.
The Tuscan winemaking tradition of La Stella, British Columbia
As its name implies, British Columbia’s La Stella Winery – like Le Vieux Pin is located along the Osoyoos Lake in the South Okanagan Valley – ascribes to an Italian tradition of winemaking, and crafting a series of wines from its various vineyard plots across the valley with names inspired by music.
There’s the La Stella Fortissimo, a vivaciously delicious red blend made in the style of a Super Tuscan that’s comprised of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc with a touch of Sangiovese. On the other hand, the La Stella Allegretto “Pie Franco” is a single vineyard Merlot if you’re looking for a wine with a more nuanced terroir take.
You can buy La Stella wines from The Straits Wine Company.
The primeval gins of Distillerie du St. Laurent, Quebec
The sparsely-populated eastern Canadian province of Quebec largely combines a sweeping coastline and massive swathes of forests, and it is here, along the St Lawrence River 300 kilometres northeast of Quebec City where you can find Rimouski-based gin makers Distillerie du St Laurent.
Drawing inspiration from its estuarine location and the nearby boreal forests, St. Laurent makes gin that are a unique representation of the region and its frigid cold climate. Its St. Laurent Gin is an all-natural, handcrafted specimen that includes the use of kombu among other botanicals during infusion, leading to a herbaceous and floral gin that’s underpinned by briny notes from the seaweed.
There’s also the St. Laurent Gin Vieux, which takes the flagship St. Laurent Gin and ages it in ex-bourbon casks for over a year. The cask maturation adds a layer of woody and sweet vanilla notes for further complexity that makes it a particularly good candidate as a sipping gin.
You can purchase the gins of St Laurent from Ginealogy.
The terroir-led vodkas and gins from Cirka Distilleries, Quebec
Unlike the primal wildness of Distillerie du St. Laurent, Cirka Distilleries – based in Quebec’s largest city of Montréal – is decidedly more urbane. The artisanal Montréal distillery draws upon the city’s cosmopolitan culture and vibrant energy for inspiration for its craft spirits, as well as leveraging on Québec’s rich terroir for their ingredients.
For example, the Cirka Vodka Terroir is distilled from premium non-GMO corn grown in the province. Slow distillation in its 24-foot column still helps create a silky and velvety texture for its vodka while giving it a soft sweetness in the finish. Then there’s the Cirka Gin Sauvage, which sources some 33 botanicals from Québec’s boreal forests to infuse in its corn-based eau de vie for a modern dry gin that’s layered and complex.
You can get Cirka gins from Ginealogy.
The colourful beers of Collective Arts Brewing, Ontario
Like the United States across the border, Canada has seem an explosive growth in craft beer over the past few decades. Ontario’s major cities of Toronto and Ottawa, in particular, mirrored the rise of craft beer across the pond in American cities such as Chicago, Minneapolis, and Cleveland, and witnessed an entire slew of microbreweries popping up across the province.
An example would be Collective Arts Brewing from Hamilton in Ontario. Founded in 2013, This edgy Canadian craft brewery offers a mind-blowing core and seasonal lineup that covers an eclectic range of beer styles including IPAs, sours, and stouts (they even make ciders). Of particular note are its flagship IPAs, Life In The Clouds and Ransack The Universe, while their award-winning Stranger Than Fiction is a porter that picked up a bronze medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup.
If you’re into art, you may realise the artwork on their beers are more colourful than most. That’s because Collective Arts works with a strong grassroots slant, regularly inviting and working with artists for their eye-catching label designs.
You can find Collective Arts beers at Temple Cellars.
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