Quite a daunting number! We didn’t have a billion, but when I saw all the wines poured out (two sets, so that the second set would still be cool by the time we got to it) it felt like a billion. Chardonnay is a truly international grape, growing around the world with relative ease. It’s more important in some areas than others – for example, it’s really important in Chablis and Champagne, but only somewhat important in Piedmont and New Zealand, because of the wines that producers want to make and the styles/varietals that take precedence. We tasted a range of Chardonnays from Canada, the USA, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Argentina, with French Chardonnays having the highest share.
(We also drank a couple of reds, to give our palates a rest from all this Chardonnay, and boy were they a treat! A Rioja Gran Riserva and a Sforzato – num num num)
My two faves from last night were the Tawse 2010 Chardonnay, from Ontario, and Dom Antonin Goyon Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes-Dessus 2008 Chardonnay, from Burgundy, France.
Ontario does really well at producing Burgundian-style wines from Burgundian varietals, so it wasn’t terribly surprising that the Tawse 2010 Chardonnay was a great sample. The wine was pretty, bright, and pale straw coloured, with a reserved nose of green apple and wood oven. The palate opened with vanilla and pear, with tart fresh-picked apples on the mid-palate, and toasted hazelnuts on the finish. It was clean, fresh, and vibrant, leaving a cool and tingly sensation in the mouth. Like Italy’s high-acid wines this Chardonnay didn’t need food, but it sure did make me want to eat. And, even better, it’s affordable and easily available! Hurrah! ($35 at the LCBO)
Dom Antonin Goyon’s Charmes 1er Cru 2008 provides an interesting contrast to the Tawse 2010, having certainly gone through malolactic fermentation, and showing a bit more of the influence of oak. The wine was gold coloured – we’re talking 10 karat – and had a more generous nose with smoke, flint, pears, honeysuckle, and a hint of sawdust. On the palate it tasted of popcorn, toasted nuts, and fresh tree fruits – pears, apples, and peaches. This wine was silky, zippy, and energetic, leaving a wonderfully clean sensation in the mouth. It was delicious, and would be worth every penny of the 89 bucks it sells for at the LCBO.
Next week: Syrah!