Friday, May 24, 2013

#Chardday 2013 - 5 Tasted of 5

Listed below are my choices for Chardonnays to celebrate #ChardDay, May 23, 2013, recognizing the popularity and the  contribution of the Chardonnay grape throughout the wine world.

The criteria for choosing these five wines are:
  • VQA wines, therefore, Canadian Chards only
  • 100% chardonnay grapes - no blends
  • VQA level of a vineyard or sub-appellation - no VQA Ontario or Niagara Peninsula
  • Priced below $25
  • Available from a local LCBO outlet - no bin ends or otherwise discounted wines


  • Southbrook Vineyards Organic & Biodynamic Triomphe Chardonnay 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, 91-2  --  V, Niagara-on-the-Lake, #172338 $21.95 
  • Henry of Pelham Estate 'Barrel Fermented' Chardonnay 2011 VQA Short Hills Bench, 90-2  --  V,  St. Catharines, Ontario, #268342 $19.95
  • G. Marquis 'The Silver Line' Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, 88a-1  --  V,  Beamsville, Ontario,  #258681 $16.95 
  • Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 81  --  V, Jordan, Ontario, #286278 $16.95 
  • Palatine Hills 'Neufeld Vineyard' Chardonnay 2010 VQA Niagara Lakeshore, 80a  --  V,  Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario,  #319772 $22.95
(V - Vintages, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)

HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE 'BARREL FERMENTED' CHARDONNAY 2011 VQA Short Hills Bench, St. Catharines, Ontario, 13.5% XD  3g/L, #268342  $19.95  (Tasted May 30, 2013) 
Released by Vintages on March 2, 2013.  My notes:  A mid yellow colour with a film that coats evenly and drains through long legs from a slowly fragmenting rim.  A whiff of paraffin adds to toasted coconut for an inviting nose. The first sip has the tang of apple, the smoothness of butter and slight edge of orange zest, each flavour lasting into a long extra dry finish - easy to quaff for more intensity. A clean, on the light side of medium-bodied sipper to welcome a buffet of appetizers or pair with fresh oysters then into a meal of grilled Brook trout, scampi, crab or lobster pieces. I'd chance a few more years in the cellar looking for the edge qualities to develop. 90

FLAT ROCK CELLARS CHARDONNAY 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench,  Jordan, Ontario, 12.8%  XD  3.4g/L,  #286278  $16.95  (Tasted May 27, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on February 11, 2013. My notes:  A mild apple is prominent in the nose and the colour is a pale yellow. A swirl leaves a thin film that clears quickly through a receding rim until only fragments are left. The first sip has a mechanical aspect, some tang, some chalk, a touch of apple but combined is a flavour puzzle. The finish remains long, dry with not much depth. Not enough for a Boiled and Baked Baby Ribs with a 5 Chinese Spice & Soya sauce entrée. Perhaps a grilled tilapia and asparagus would fare better or lobster/crab pieces. A drink now. 81

PALATINE HILLS 'NEUFELD VINEYARD' CHARDONNAY 2010 VQA Niagara Lakeshore,  Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario,  13.5%  D  12g/L,  #319772  $22.95  (Tasted May 23, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on February 16, 2013.  My notes: The Palatine Hills website doesn't mention the 2010 vintage - the 2008 vintage is listed at $8.00 - a big price change for the 2010 - perhaps the cost of a new label and doing business with the LCBO?  The empty bottle is an eco-unfriendly 1.75 lbs.  For the wine inside there's a nose of spoiled apples and this is carried through to the flavour and long sweet finish - perhaps a different style or for those with an acquired taste. The body is nicely rounded with a pleasing acid level, some butter, a light caramel - but not enough to balance the detractors. Did not pair well with sushi, tempura shrimp, mixed vege and delicate seafood. Aerating helped marginally and was marginally better two days later following decanting but was discarded.  80a

G. MARQUIS 'THE SILVER LINE' SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake,  Beamsville, Ontario, 13.2%  D  7g/L,  #258681  $16.95  (Tasted May 28, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes: A Magnotta Winery label.  This is a rich yellow with a film that quickly slides down the glass from a fragmenting rim and ending cleanly. Poured at 12oC the nose is mostly vegetal with a mild apricot - the first sip has a pleasing tang, a silky texture and a pineapple/baked apple flavour muted by an almond nuttiness then changing to an astringent dryness for a long finish. Aerating brought the temp to 14oC lessening the vegetal while leaving the touch of apricot. My recommendation is to aerate and serve cooled, not chilled. Sipping has a interesting dryness, with enough body, tang and flavouring to pair with a light buffet, delicate seafoods or shellfish. A drink now.  88a

SOUTHBROOK VINEYARDS ORGANIC & BIODYNAMIC TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 13.4%  XD  7g/L, #172338  $21.95  (Tasted May 27, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on March 2, 2013.  My notes:  A tarnish to a bright gold is saying elegance in a glass. A firm film takes its time to drain from the rim leaving shrinking fragments. Butter burnt, just enough for appeal, and a touch of spice makes a strong sniff worthwhile. The first sip is medium-bodied, both bright and silky with rich flavours of butterscotch and light cream leaving the palate refreshed with a soft melon and coconut. Slow sipping lets both the nose and flavours change (+15oC)  giving a wider spectrum. I could be stretching pairing this with a boiled and 5 Chinese Spice & Soya baked back rib recipe but there's a backup. (didn't need the backup... Southbrook Triomphe did a great job!) More predictably a complement with seafood, shellfish and chicken or Chinese fare. 91

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