This release has a number of interesting Chardonnays from around the world. Chardonnay has had a bad rap in recent years as people think of the over-the-top oaky, buttery, rich California style. In fact different countries produce significantly different wines based on their terroir and their style.
This is a great opportunity to focus on the different wine styles from various countries.
(Shhh… another great idea… give the wine lover you love a ‘Chardonnay Tasting’ for Christmas.. choose from the Ontario choices and support our local wine industry at the same time! )
Of course, France is the benchmark, bone dry, flinty, minerally.
California is probably the next most recognizable style. California has become famous for producing rich, oaky, buttery bombs on the high end and cleaner less complex wines on the value end.
Chile has some interesting Chardonnay styles -some nodding to the rich and buttery and some on the clean, crisp side.
South Africa tends to go clean and crisp.
Canada has a number of quality producers with Chardonnay offerings in this release. You could do a whole tasting on Ontario Chardonnays to compare the different winemaker’s styles. Canada tends toward the unoaked, crisp style but we are capable of producing layers of complexity as well. I listed Canadian Chardonnays last because of the extra detail I have included. Be sure to read on down to Canada so you don’t miss out on some very worthy wines.
In general, if you can’t find these specific wines then just choose chardonnays from various countries. Be sure to include France as the benchmark since Burgundy whites are acknowledged to be the epitome of chardonnay. Include California and then a couple of other countries for comparison. Cool climates tend to produce the citrusy, leaner chardonnays and warm climates tend to produce fruitier wines.
Within Burgundy there are 3 separate styles of winemaking:
Chablis to the north produces lean, austere, bone dry chardonnays that will be unoaked.
Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais produce lightly oaked, less austere chardonnays. Pouilly-Fuissé is in this region and is one of the most recognizable appellations.
Côte d’Or produces rich, deeply oaked chardonnays, some of which are the most long lived white wines in the world – think Beaune, Cote de Beaune.
Outside of Burgundy – Blanc de Blanc Champagne will be 100% Chardonnay. The value version of this goes back to Burgundy in the form of Crémant de Bourgogne.
Domaine du Colombier Chablis 2014 (#366419) $25.95 Excerpts from Vintage tasting notes-pear, melon, buttercream and mineral on the nose. Palate juicy and bright, grapefruit and light smoky mineral tone. Lively and fresh-snappy citrus finish. (Light & Crisp)
Jean-Pierre et Michel Auvigue Solutré Pouilly Fuissé 2013 – (#278960) Score 90 $33.95 Excerpt from tasting notes-Intense, chalky, light tannins framing peach, apple pie, lemon and stone flavors, tight on the finish. (Full Bodied and Rich)
There is no Cote d’Or Chardonnay in the Nov 26 LCBO release but in case you are interested to try one of each of the 3 French styles the wine below is available in some Ontario LCBOs.
Henri de Villamont La Canée Auxey-Duresses 2012 (#: 445270) $33.75 A well made and pretty wine – aromas and flavours of pear, apple, vanilla and buttery richness. Score – Commended. (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2015)
Rodney Strong Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (465724) $29.95 Excerpts from from tasting notes-lovely chardonnay with tropical fruit and citrus notes, lightly toasted, creamy texture. Crisp acidity keeps richness in check. Nice length. A steal for this caliber of wine. (Full-bodied & Rich)
Toro de Piedra Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2014 (417493) $19.95 Excerpt from tasting notes-bombastic butterscotch, pineapple, banana, cedar smoke on the nose and palate. Bright acidity underscoring rich fruit. (Full-bodied & Rich)
Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2014 (328559) $16.95 Excerpt from tasting notes-impressive and good value, rich and well-balanced, peach, lemon and apple tones with underlying spicy note. (Full-bodied & Rich)
Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2014 (256552) $18.95 – excerpt from tasting notes- Cave Spring winery is noted for 30 years of exceptional purity, precision and elegance in premium Ontario winemaking. This wine consistently delivers intense and elegant styled fruit with a flinty mineral undertone. (Full-bodied & Rich)
Coyote’s Run Rare Vitage Chardonnay 2014 (426437) Score 91 $24.95 Excerpt from tasting notes- not to be missed, ripe with peach, cream, baked apple, pineapple, spice and lilac on the nose. Cream, vanilla, banana and minerals on the palate. Long finish, fresh acid and superb length. (Full-bodied & Rich)
Fielding Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2015 (355842) $21.95 excerpt from tasting notes-Floral, depth of peach, yellow plum and white pepper and mineral aromas and flavors. Fresh and crisp, slightly creamy, long minerally finish. (Full-bodied & Rich)
2027 Cellars Aberdeen Road Chardonnay 2013 (472241) $30.00 -excerpt from tasting notes-Spice box, Key lime and persimmon on the nose. Medium weight on the palate with lemon-lime yogurt, pear and spicy peach. Crowd pleaser, firm structure juxtaposed with soft creamy texture, pleasing long finish and after taste. (Light and Crisp)
Canada’s award winning Chardonnays of 2016
Here are the 2016 results of WineAlign’s National Wine Awards of Canada. Each year in June a number of prominent wine writers, sommeliers and industry professionals get together and blind taste Canadian wines. The wines submitted to the competition must be available for retail sale in Canada for that year (or scheduled for release up to March of the following year). They taste the wines blind – they only know what varietal is being tasted. The wines are given a number, some taste in first to last order, some backwards, some start with odd number etc so the later wines are not disadvantaged by palate fatigue. Each wine is assigned a number of points, points are accumulated to determine the highest scoring wine in each category.
Adamo 2014 Oaked Chardonnay Wismer Foxcroft Vineyard, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
CedarCreek 2014 Platinum Chardonnay Block 5, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Flat Rock 2013 Rusty Shed Chardonnay, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Legends 2013 Chardonnay Reserve, Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Norman Hardie 2013 County Chardonnay Unfiltered, Prince Edward County, Ontario
16 Mile Cellar 2012 Civility Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Closson Chase 2014 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay, Prince Edward County, Ontario
Coolshanagh 2014 Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Creekside 2014 Chardonnay Queenston Road Vineyard , St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Domaine Queylus 2013 Chardonnay Tradition, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Hidden Bench 2013 Estate Chardonnay, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Hidden Bench 2013 Tete de Cuvee, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Kacaba 2015 Unoaked Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Meyer 2014 Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Stanners Vineyard 2014 Chardonnay, Prince Edward County, Ontario
Upper Bench 2014 Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia