Since I found so many white wines in this release that I wanted to recommend, I decided to highlight my featured Chardonnays on their own, with a second report on crisp and aromatic whites elsewhere. The selection includes three from Burgundy — two Chablis and one regional Bourgogne, then two from Niagara, one from Sonoma, and one from South Africa.
The first Chablis is the interesting 2003 Domaine Daniel-Étienne Defaix Côtes De Lechet Chablis 1Er Cru. Aged premier and grand cru Chablis is really something special, and this release gives those of us who don’t have extensive cellars the opportunity to experience it for ourselves. The second wine is a typical example of Chablis, the 2014 Domaine Du Colombier Chablis. The regional Bourgogne is the 2015 La Fontaine Goby Sur Calcaire Bourgogne Chardonnay, crisp, clean and very competitively priced.
The two Niagara wines are the 2013 Aberdeen Road Vineyard Chardonnay from 2027 Cellars, and the 2014 Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay.
The 2014 Rodney Strong Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is an attractive entry-point to Sonoma, with excellent balance and relatively constrained oak treatment, while the 2014 Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay is an excellent value, offering lots of interest at a modest price.
DOMAINE DANIEL-ÉTIENNE DEFAIX CÔTES DE LECHET CHABLIS 1ER CRU AC 2003
Vintages #470435 • $51.95 • 750ml. • 91/100What a treat to be able to sample this 2003 1er Cru Chablis! The wine is medium yellow-gold, with a savoury and slightly herbal nose, almost no fruit aromas, and the merest hint of nutty sponge toffee that I associate with evolving white wines. The wine is bone-dry, with high acidity and balanced alcohol. On the palate the savoury-herbal elements are complemented by a residue of lemon and apple fruit, and the lengthy finish is rich with stony and saline elements. This is drinking beautifully, and shows the interest of aging Chablis. A gorgeous richness of texture.
Tasted Oct 28, 2016 • BRAND NEW DAY WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE DU COLOMBIER CHABLIS AC 2014
Vintages #366419 • $25.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The wine is light straw in colour, with focused lemon-lime and green apple fruit, and notes of earthy stones and chalky minerality. The wine is bone-dry, with high acidity and modest alcohol. The palate is crisp, with a vibrant citrus and apple centre balanced by some weight and breadth, and carrying into a salty-stony finish. Typical Chablis, and all the better for it.
Tasted Oct 28, 2016 • C & E WORLDFINDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LA FONTAINE GOBY SUR CALCAIRE BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY AC 2015
Vintages #470930 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine is light yellow, with crisp yellow apple and lemon fruit on the nose, and a suggestion of vanilla, toast and blanched almonds. The wine is bone-dry, with firm acidity, a medium body, and a light creamy texture that softens the citrus and green apple fruit, but doesn't hide the stony-mineral finish. A very crisp and tasty regional Bourgogne.
Tasted Oct 28, 2016 • FBM INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2027 CELLARS ABERDEEN ROAD VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2013, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment
Vintages #472241 • $30.00 • 750ml. • 89/1002027 Cellars is Kevin Panagapka's virtual winery, producing Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir in small lots from a number of Niagara vineyards. This Chardonnay is straw-yellow, with a nose that suggests apple and lemon fruit, white flowers, and rich resin and vanilla notes. The wine is dry, with firm acidity. Despite the moderate alcohol, the wine has a rich, creamy texture, that makes the fruit a little more apparent on the palate. While the wine is obviously oaky, and will improve in the cellar as the oak settles down and integrates, it has excellent structure and the acidity will carry it for many years.
Tasted Oct 28, 2016 • 2027 CELLARS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CAVE SPRING CELLARS ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY 2014, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #256552 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The 2014 edition of this wine is hard-pressed to meet the high expectations set by the excellent 2013, although it comes close, with a rather different personality. The wine is straw-yellow in colour. There is a light herbal-spearmint element on the nose, with green apple and lemon fruit and a faint scent of white flowers. The wine is bone-dry, with fresh acidity balanced by a little creamy texture on the palate. The barrel notes are subtle, suggesting mostly older oak, with just a hint of resin. Fruit is somewhat riper on the palate, and the finish is drying, tart and mineral. While I am maintaining my rating of 89, this vintage may not have the broader appeal of the 2013 — but I appreciate the precise, focused nature of the wine.
Tasted Oct 21, 2016 • CAVE SPRING CELLARS LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
RODNEY STRONG SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY 2014, Sonoma Coast
Vintages #465724 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The wine is medium yellow in colour. Aromas of ripe apple, peach and pineapple fruit with a lemony edge, are underpinned by vanilla, light resin and cedar. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, elevated alcohol, and a medium-full body. The sweet and ripe fruit on the palate is complemented by light toasty and nutty flavours, and the fruit leads into the drying finish. This is 50% barrel fermented and aged in 100% new French oak, and 50% fermented and aged in stainless steel. This is a very good entry-level Sonoma Chardonnay: while the ripe fruit and elevated alcohol are very Californian in nature, the wine maintains a sense of vibrancy that lends it some real class.
Tasted Oct 21, 2016 • MARK ANTHONY BRANDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY 2014, WO Western Cape
Vintages #328559 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine is light yellow in colour. Aromas of lemon, yellow apple and white peach are complemented by sweet vanilla and a note of resin. The wine is dry, with slightly elevated alcohol balanced by fresh acidity. The palate is slightly creamy in texture, with the ripe fruit playing through to the finish, with the oak spice taking on a nuance of caramel. This wine is an excellent value, and should please widely.
Tasted Oct 21, 2016 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation