On the Road with the Grape Guy

Those Damn Chardonnays – i4C 2018

15 Nov 2018


(July 2018) ... I have spoken much on Podcasts, in Newsletters and anywhere else I write / talk or give opinion about my distaste for Chardonnay – but while not a fan there are still good to great Chardonnay that are able to turn my head and have me sitting on the fence … During the Flights of Chardonnay evening at the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) I found these versions did just that – making the i4C a worthwhile event for someone who is an ABCer, like me, as well as someone who loves the stuff with hesitation … come one, come all there is a Chardonnay for everyone.

Arterra 2016 Chardonnay, Ontario
Mineral, green apple, white peach – very fruit forward with nice acidity on the finish … fresh and lively with fruit because of the minimal 20% oak.  (****) - $29.95

Blue Mountain 2009 Blanc de Blancs, British Columbia
6.5 years on lees has developed real biscuity notes along with apple and lemon zest … a real toasty number ready to drink for any occasion … 25% of Blue Mountain production is bubbles, so you know they have a vested interest in doing these wines well.  (****) - $69.95

Champagne Collet NV Blanc de Blancs, France
A three vintage blend (2009 / 2010 / 2011) which spends 5 years on lees – the brioche notes are a real winner with sweet biscuits, butter and a creamy mouthfeel.  (****+) - $84.95

Hahn Estate 2016 Chardonnay, California
15% new oak and aged 5 months in total – creamy and buttery with rich peach fruit and vanilla undertones.  (*** ½+) - $21.95

Marcel Cabelier 2014 Esprits de Chardonnay Cremant Jura, France
Great value in a 24 month on lees traditional method bubble from 100% Chardonnay; nice mousse, bracing acidity and a pure mineral finish … that such a gorgeous bubbly comes from Jura is the great shocker here.  (****+) - $23.95

Lightfoot & Wolfville 2012 Blanc de Blanc Brut Nature, Nova Scotia
A 5 year or less sparkler with no dosage … plenty of breadiness and mineral from start to finish.  (*** ½+) - $78.00

Paul Cluver 2016 Estate Chardonnay, South Africa
Nice creamy texture on the palate where you’ll also find gentle spice, peach, creamed apple and a minerality that carries this wine to the finish.  (****) - $27.95

Tantalus Vineyards 2017 Juveniles Chardonnay, British Columbia
Young vines Chardonnay (4-5 years) that sees older barrels (50%) and the other half in stainless steel – both versions rest on lees for 5 months … these may be young vines but there’s still mineral and flinty notes that come through along with plenty of single note apple fruit; when these vines get older they’ll make greater Chardonnay – for now it’s just plain good.  (*** ½+) - $31.95

Vidal 2017 Reserve Chardonnay, New Zealand
Big, creamy mouthfeel with mineral, hints of smoke, apple and pear fruit … but it’s that mineral note that’s making this wine off the chart good.  (*** ½+) - $24.95

Villa Maria 2016 Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay, New Zealand
A gentle, easy drinking version of Chardonnay that’s smooth and silky across the palate with spiced-peach and lime zest, but the acidity keeps it from being too creamy and from coming off uneventful.  (*** ½+) - $21.95

Echeverria 2012 Family Reserve Chardonnay, Chile
A fruit forward unoaked Chardonnay that has something extra to give it a yum factor: apple, gentle lime and lemon notes, mineral and a wonderful acidity to the finish – no way this is 6 years old … a double-take look at the label again, yes it is.  (*** ½+) - $24.95



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