The team behind the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) has declared today International Chardonnay Day and is hosting a global virtual tasting party. All you need to do to participate in the festivities is open a Chardonnay and share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
We at Spotlight Toronto are lovers of great cool climate Chardonnay and think Ontario produces some truly world class examples. Last year's i4C was one of the premier local wine events of the summer and we covered the festivities extensively. Organisers are looking to build on that success and bring the celebration to the next level this July.
Spotlight will have some preview coverage in the coming weeks. But to kick-off things we've rounded-up a few local Chardonnays that you can pick-up on your way home and join today's virtual tasting conversation.
Michael Di Caro's Picks
With a focus on small production wines that have a distinct sense of place, Hidden Bench consistently makes some of the most outstanding examples of cool climate Chardonnay in Niagara. This 2009 from the Beamsville Bench estate comes from one of the coolest vintages in recent memory, which is an asset because cool temperatures suit Chardonnay very well. Expect flavours and aromas of fresh Meyer lemon zest, golden peach, bosc pear and toasty hazelnut spice. It has a beautiful rich round texture with a creaminess. Sparky minerality and crisp acidity keep it all in lovely balance.
2009 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay
Availability: LCBO Vintages (33936)
When the joint project of Canada's largest wine company and Burgundy's largest producer began a little over a decade ago under the Le Clos Jordanne banner the goal was to produce the very best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Niagara. Thus far the winery has been largely successful in that goal producing wines with critical and consumer acclaim year in and year out. This 2009 entry level Chardonnay is a great example of the winery's mid-Atlantic style. It has great layers of fragrant citrus, golden apple, vanilla, flinty smoke, oak spice and that signature bench minerality. Best of all it's on sale until the 27th.
David Ort's Picks
2008 Malivoire Moira Chardonnay
Availability: Winery and LCBO (243113)
I had the opportunity to try this vintage of a very special Chardonnay for the first time at the recent Somewhereness tasting. For Malivoire the Moira Chardonnay (and its Pinot partner) represent their "tete du cuvee" offerings and are only made in very small amounts. The wine's green apple tinged buttery-sweet nose leads smoothly into citrus with an under-control flavour of roasted marshmallow that finishes on a nutty note and lingers for ages. It takes care to pair a very special Chard with food but I struck gold at the Somewhereness tasting with a brie-like goat cheese.
Paul Pender, winemaker at Tawse, crafts some of Ontario's best-regarded and most-awarded Chardonnay. These top-flight wines come at a north-of-$40 price but happily for everyday drinking they also put out the Sketches Chardonnay for $20. Green apple and citrus balance on the nose and a palate that is supported by just the right amount of oak. (Universally, under-control oak seems to be a more likely characteristic of the less-pricey Chards.) This wine will shine best when paired with food, especially simply grilled fish or subtle pasta sauces.
Suresh Doss' Picks
2010 Lailey Vineyard Brickyard Chardonnay
From this Niagara-on-the-lake winery comes a nicely balanced Chardonnay that is a pleasure to drink with tropical fruit on the palate and the right amount of acid to lift the flavours. When I'm sipping it, I'm thinking that it would go great with roast chicken, pad thai, or coconut-based thai curries. There's ample fruit on the nose and palate and the acid will complement nicely with the thicker, deeper elements of Thai curries.
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