Cider and Ice Cider – Medal Winners from NWAC 2021

Announcing the Results from the 2021 National Wine Awards of Canada

The 20th National Wine Awards of Canada wrapped up in October in Penticton, B.C., fittingly judging a record-setting number of wines from coast to coast. It’s been an amazing two-decade journey for the most respected and important Canadian wine competition. The week-long tasting is but a snapshot of Canadian wine, yet like old family photos, much has changed over two decades. The inaugural competition in 2001 drew 528 wines from 71 wineries, judged by eight men. In 2021, 26 judges — 14 men and 12 women — tasted 2,075 entries from more than 260 wineries. 

As in previous years, we have decided to break the announcement of the results into more manageable pieces, starting today with Canada’s best Sparkling wines. On October 29th we will begin announcing a few categories a day over a two week period, concluding with the highly-anticipated Platinum winners on November 10th, the Best Performing Small Winery of the Year on November 11th, and finally the Winery of the Year along with the nation’s Top 25 Wineries on November 12th.

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We’ve asked a few of our judges to summarize their impressions of each category. Today we present Cider and Ice Cider:

Platinum Pack 2021 NL

Cider and Ice Cider

Category Overview by Judge Janet Dorozynski, DipWSET

While the majority of what we taste and judge at the National Wine Awards of Canada is wine, we are also treated to flights of fruit wine and mead, along with cider and iced cider. The number of cider entries has been growing every year and at this year’s competition, there were 74 entries from British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

Cider has a long history dating back to the Roman Empire, ancient Greece and the Middle East. There is evidence that the Celts were making cider from wild crab apples in modern day Britain as long ago as 3000 BCE. To this day, UK is the world’s largest cider producer and consumer.

Cider or Sidra also has a long tradition in the north of Spain, as well as in Brittany and Normandy in France where it can be made as still, naturally sparkling, carbonated, bottle-fermented, traditional method sparkling, from dry to  medium to sweet, from eating apples or traditional and sometimes ancient cultivars of cider apples.

Cider is Canada’s earliest alcoholic beverage, with production records dating back to the 1600s around Montreal. Production was never massive though the industry was largely obliterated during the 19th and 20th centuries due to temperance movements and varying degrees of alcohol prohibition by municipal, provincial and the federal governments.

Most of the cider or perry (from pears) made in Canada today comes from large-scale production from companies like Molson’s or Arterra (Growers Cider). However, since the 1980s starting in Quebec, we have witnessed a revival and renaissance of artisanal or small batch cider production, with many craft cideries opening up in British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

Craft cider, usually fermented from the juice of freshly pressed apples after the annual harvest, tends to be distinct and taste different from larger scale production made from concentrate year round with only a small amount of freshly pressed juice. The range of cider styles in Canada runs the gamut from sweet to tart or dry in flavour, and can be sparkling, spritzy, hopped and barrel-aged. There is also iced cider or cidre de glace, first made in Quebec in 1989 by Christian Barthomeuf who founded Clos Saragnat in 2002. Ice cider, similar to Icewine, is made from apples that can freeze on the tree and harvested in the fall or winter. The resulting elixir is a balanced sweet wine with the concentrated sugars and bright acidity of apples.

There is also a growing number of Canadian ciders that are aromatized or flavoured with the addition of berries and other fruits and flowers which appear to be catering to that popular and fast growing ready to drink or seltzer category which can range from dry to off-dry to medium sweet.

The 2021 medal winners come from across the country with several well-known and long time producers along with a few new names. There is a handful of golds and silvers among the bronzes with The Cider of the Year (the top scoring cider, not including ice cider) from the Loch Mor Cider Company in Prince Edward Country in Ontario, for their Untamed, a dry and flavourful cider made from traditional cider apples. The top scoring platinum wine in the ice cider category goes to long time Quebec producer Ciderie Michel Jodoin of Rougemont, Quebec for Une Petite Finale Glacée, a beautifully balanced and aromatic sweet wine that cries out for a plate of regional Quebec cheeses.

And the winners are……



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