Featured Wine

Chardonnay


Chardonnay

Chardonnay is considered to be one of he best selling white wines in North America.

For many years I was not a fan of Canada's Chardonnays. I preferred Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer,Ortega and Bacchus. Although Canada had already had noted success in world competition I would not but Chardonnay. Listed here are some early accomplishments for Chardonnay.

In 1984Mission Hill won the coveted Avery Trophy for 'Best Chardonnay in the World' at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in the United Kingdom. Their list of achievements has continued to grow

In 1994 Mission Hill Family Estate put the Okanagan Valley on the map by winning the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London for 'Best Chardonnay in the World' and at the time the Master of Wine Judges were in such disbelief they re-tasted all of the wines and Mission Hill won a second time.

It was in 2012 that I walked through the front door of Tinhorn Creek and was greeted by a young lady offering a tasting a their newly released Chardonnay. It was a turning point for me as I really like this wine. The next one to impress me was Culmina Family Estate Winery Dilemma Chardonnay 2013

A recent released Howard Soon Chardonnay 2015 Sandhill Estate Vineyard is a very good wine . The grapes for this wine are from an exceptional single block of 19-year-old vines. This elegant wine was aged nine months in barrel (85% French, 15% stainless steel). 

Hidden Bench Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2014 is also a very good wine.

Recently Kelowna’s Summerhill Pyramid Winery won Best Chardonnay in the World at the internationally acclaimed Chardonnay du Monde competition in Burgundy, France.  Summerhill’s 2014 Chardonnay Icewine beat out 706 entries for the top 10 spot, coming in first. They are also the only Canadian winery to rank in Top 10 in the world. 


Winemaker PHILIP MCGAHAN,

In February noted blogger John Schreiner wrote an article, he called CheckMate Chardonnays nearing 100 point wines. An very huge compliment to the newly established CheckMate, a winery in Anthony von Mandl’s stable, released its 2014 Vintage Chardonnays.

Situated on the lower slopes of the Niagara Escarpment, Tawse is a family-owned organic and biodynamic winery, voted Canada’s Winery of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016. They produce some very fine Chardonnays.

The All Canadian Wine Awards Winners

Chardonnay Under $20

Double Gold: Calamus Estate Winery, ON

Barrel Kissed Chardonnay 2013  $16.95

Gold: Legends Estates, ON

Chardonnay Reserve 2013 $18.95

Gold Quails’ Gate, BC

Chardonnay 2014 $19.19

Silver: 8th Generation Vineyard, BC

Chardonnay 2015 $19.13

Silver: Diamond Estates Winery, ON

Chardonnay    2014   $14.95

Silver: Sandbanks Winery, ON    

Shoreline White       2013  $14.95

 

Chardonnay Over $20

Double Gold: Quails’ Gate, BC        

Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay        2014 $34.79

Gold: Mission Hill Family Estate, BC         

Reserve Chardonnay       2014 $21.00

Gold : Parallel Estate, BC         

Chardonnay        2014 $32.00  

Gold: Maverick Estate Winery, BC 

Chardonnay        2014    $26.50

Gold: Cassini Cellars, BC     

Chardonnay Reserve       2013 $25.00

Silver: Featherstone, ON 

Canadian Oak Chardonnay   2014 $21.95

Silver: GreenLane Estate Winery, ON 

Chardonnay Sur Lie     2011 $40.00

Silver: Little Engine Wines, BC     

Chardonnay Reserve       2014  $55.00

Silver: Privato Vineyard and Winery, BC     

Woodward Collection – Chardonnay         2014     $25.99

Silver: Konzelmann Estate Winery, ON 

Chardonnay Barrel Fermented Family Reserve $49.95

The Chardonnay grape is green-skinned and is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown all over the world wherever wine is produced. It is a relatively “low-maintenance” vine that adapts well to a variety of climates, resulting in fairly high yields worldwide In Canada they are best grown in British Columbia and Ontario.

Nova Scotia

Newer to Nova Scotia because of winter hardiness concerns, Chardonnay is performing quite well and ripening into nice quality grapes. Nova Scotia Chardonnay is crisp and clean with green apple and mineral notes on the nose and palate. Oak aged versions develop toasty notes on the nose and rich, creamy textures – a must with grilled Nova Scotia seafood such as salmon.

Blomidon Estate Winery makes 100% gown Chardonnay. Gaspereau Vineyards is another Nova Scotia producer of Chardonnay along with their traditional method Chardonnay Brut sparkling wine.

Chardonnays boast an impressive range of flavours from the expected buttered, oak overtones to the fresh, fruit flavours of apple, pear, tropical, citrus and melon, leaving a lasting palate impression.

Chardonnay will pair well with poultry dishes, pork, seafood or recipes that have a heavy cream or butter base. Also consider pairing unoaked Chardonnay with guacamole, garlic, salads, grilled shrimp or even curry dishes.

In Ontario Coyote's Run Estate Winery Black Paw Vineyard Chardonnay has won awards on the international stage. Casa-Dea in Prince Edward County is also an international award winery. Other Outstanding produces includes Rosehall Run ( Cuvee Country chardonnay 2010) and Rosehall Run Liberated chardonnay 2011 (94). The Foreign Affair Chardonnay 2012 also recieved high praise.

In British Columbia, 50th Parallel 2014 and 2015 is considered to be a very good wine winning numeous awards.
Calona's Winery Artist Series Chardonnay wins award in major competitions. Other strong Chardonnay producers include Tinhorn Creek, CedarCreek Estate Winery (Platinum Chardonnay, Myers Family Vineyard (Tribute Chardonnay). Quails Gate (Steward Family Reserve Chardonnay) Harry McWatters, and Baille-Groham Estate winery.

Les Pervenches is a producer of Chardonnay in Quebec. Les Pervenches one of the many certified organic vineyards in Quebec. Domaine Les Brome is another Quebec producer.

Oaked Chardonnay Vs Unoaked

Oaked chardonnay is stored for a period of time in Oak barrels to inrtoduce specific flavours into the wine. The winemaker has numerous option when making oaked wines. Of all grapes Chardonnay perhaps is best suited to maturation in thee barrel. Its a popular method in Canada

“It is a style that seems to be well-understood, thus well-made in Canada,” said Quebec City's Rémy Charest. “Styles range from Chablis-esque to Napa chardonnay,” said Toronto's Tony Aspler, “and the judicious use of oak is a blessing.” Toronto's John Szabo agreed: “Winemakers now have the confidence (and the vineyards) to let fruit and minerality dominate. Very exciting!”

A decent winemaker has many tools to manage the way oak influences her wine. Large barrels decrease the surface area of wood relative to the volume of wine, muting the oak's power. New oak imparts stronger flavours than used barrels; many wine producers prefer barrels that have been broken in for a year or two. American oak contains more lactones , imparting a coconut flavour, but French oak is considered more elegant. Finally, there is time: a bottle with a great deal of oak requires time to age in the cellar, so the diverse flavours can integrate

Unoaked chardonnay is crisp and fruity. You might find aromas and flavors of green or yellow apple, citrus (especially various turns on lemon; the current vogue is for Meyer lemon), honeydew melon, pineapple and several other light yellow, tropical fruits, such as mango or passion fruit.

Unoaked chardonnay's better food partners are those high in salt, low in sweetness and with moderate fat or oil. Plainly prepared fish and shellfish are obvious candidates.

Aged, firm cheeses marry well (for instance, cheddar or Caerphilly; a great surprise is Chablis with Cantal or Beaufort). The "classic" match of crisp unoaked chardonnay with brie isn't as delicious as brie with an off-dry sparkling wine.

Unoaked chardonnay's better food partners are those high in salt, low in sweetness and with moderate fat or oil. Plainly prepared fish and shellfish are obvious candidates.

Aged, firm cheeses marry well (for instance, cheddar or Caerphilly; a great surprise is Chablis with Cantal or Beaufort). The "classic" match of crisp unoaked chardonnay with brie isn't as delicious as brie with an off-dry sparkling wine.

One more suggestion Herder Chardonnay 2009 Bold and rich, this wine has wrapped subtle oak (but not too much) around the flavours of apricots, apples and peaches. The wine was fermented half in stainless steel, half in French oak

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