Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seriously Cool----Canadian Chardonnays Are Off To New York

Scrivener's Square Liquor Control Board Store, Toronto
I was on hand when the Wine Writers' Circle Of Canada held a tasting of some 50 Chardonnays from various parts of Canada. These were wines that were selected to represent Canada at a New York event which matched our best with their best.
The tasting was filled with a number of surprises. These included certain interesting omissions, delightful inclusions and some serious wondering on my part.
As far as the serious wondering, in my opinion some wines from some very well known estates did not fit the bill. They were lacking in fruit and rather thin. Some where old before their time.
The omissions had me baffled since some of my favourite "guard" wines were missing. When I asked how come, I was told maybe they just did not enter. Sad, since I clearly would have thought them to represent Canada well.
I will speak of the delightful surprises. The first was a large and almost disproportionate representation of Prince Edward County Wines. Everyone likes to take "shots" at the "New Kid On The Block" but this time the "Kid" shot back in spades.
Norman Hardie came out with some fine Chardonnay from both Niagara and PEC grapes. The New Casa Dea (old Carmela Estates) produced a fine light wine with fine fruit made from 100% Prince Edward County. The Grange of Prince Edward County also produced a nicely integrated wine as did Huff Estates and Rosehall Run.
Of the few British Colombia entries I found three that I liked more than the rest. Quails Gate, Stewert Family Reserve, Meyer Family Tribute Series and Mission Hill had a nice concentration of citrus and melon, tropical fruits and a fine minerality.
Ontario was well represented but four wines stood out for me! They were Hidden Bench, Tete de Cuvee 2008, Cave Spring Cellars CSV 2007,Henry of Pelham Family Reserve 2007 and Pilliteri Estates Exclamation 2006. Honourable mentions went to Closson Chase S. Kocsis, Southbrook and Pondview.
I would like to give my heart felt congratulations to the great wineries of Canada with a special note to those of Ontario for the production of some fine wines which I am sure will represent Canada very well in New York.