available in Ontario from November 11, 2017
This is a set of absolutely stellar Chardonnays: five of the seven I’ve rated 90 points and above, with two at 93 which is extremely high from my perspective. I have rated the final two wines at 89, which may seem low in this august company, but they are terrific wines in their own right and are very attractively priced.
Three exceptional Burgundies are the 2013 Domaine Servin Bougros Grand Cru Chablis, the 2014 Picard Le Charmois Saint Aubin 1er Cru and the 2015 La Chablisienne Grande Cuvée Chablis 1er Cru. The fourth wine is a fine example from Marlborough, the 2014 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay, balancing a reductive firmness with new world ripeness.
The fifth and sixth wines are Canadian: an intensely oak-framed wine from the Okanagan, the 2015 Quails’ Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay, and a refined example from the Beamsville Bench in Niagara, the 2015 Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay. The final wine is a very good regional Chablis from William Fèvre, their 2015 Champs Royaux Chablis.
DOMAINE SERVIN BOUGROS GRAND CRU CHABLIS AC 2013
Vintages #145623 • $69.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 93/100A tour de force from the Grand Cru vineyard Bougros. Very light savoury and resinous elements on the nose suggest the beginnings of maturation in the bottle, then a smoky undertone, with honeyed white peach and melon notes supplementing lemon and apple fruit. The palate has real heft and substance: while it is bone-dry and acids are vivid, there is a creamy lactic weight that carries, but does not overpower, the underlying core of freshness and life. Liquid limestone emerges on the finish, tightening, drying and returning to the core of Chablis. Wow!
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • GROUPE SOLEIL (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
PICARD LE CHARMOIS SAINT AUBIN 1ER CRU AC 2014
Vintages #522078 • $57.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 93/100A thrilling wine and a classic white Burgundy. The nose is constrained, with a muted smoky-flinty frame around a nuanced core of lemon and apple fruit. It is bone-dry, with crisp acidity and a subtle breadth and weight. The acidity brightens the fruit, and dries the stony finish. This is focused and direct, with wonderful character and balance now, but that really should be allowed to age gracefully for a few years, with a drinking window of at least a decade. Very fine indeed.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LA CHABLISIENNE GRANDE CUVÉE CHABLIS 1ER CRU AC 2015
Vintages #685222 • $31.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 92/100This is a blend of several premier cru sites, and for me this is one of the more compelling 2015s from Chablis that I've tasted to date. The vintage was warm and in some cases the extra ripeness has taken the wines a little away from what I love about the focus and direct nature of Chablis. While this shows a little of the 2015 character, it remains totally in tune. A lactic and almost resinous note leads the attack, with subtle apple and lemon fruit, but with a stony and chalky essence overall. It is bone-dry, with high acidity, and a firm, mineral-laced palate despite the touch of generosity that shows in the fruit. This is a tremendous value for a premier cru wine.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CLOUDY BAY CHARDONNAY 2014, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #359513 • $37.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 92/100This is an intriguing new world Chardonnay — on the one hand it's reductive and smoky, but on the other it shows real ripeness and richness, a rather unusual contrast. Resin and vanilla notes surround fresh fruit on the nose, while on the palate the oak frame retreats as bright acidity infuses riper melon and peach fruit with a centre of fresh lemon and apple, and lingers into the lemon and wet stone finish. Complex and compelling.
Tasted 20-Oct-2017 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
QUAILS' GATE STEWART FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2015, BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Vintages #639641 • $43.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is an ambitious Okanagan Chardonnay that succeeds almost despite itself. There is an immediate oaky resin note on the nose, but it doesn't overshadow the bright lemon, apple and melon fruit. On the palate the oak frame doesn't waver, but again doesn't overpower, as the acidity saves the day and dries and firms the finish. Perhaps too much oak influence for my taste, but in the end it all comes together in a compact and nicely focused package. This will really benefit from several more years in the cellar.
Tasted 20-Oct-2017 • HOBBS & COMPANY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment
Vintages #256552 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Bright lemon and green apple fruit, a sprinkle of green herbs, and a hint of barrel spice define the nose. The palate is crisp and clean, there is a light, leesy note supporting the fruit, and the oak spice is subtle and integrated. A focused, direct Chardonnay from the Beamsville Bench, and a fine value.
Tasted 20-Oct-2017 • CAVE SPRING CELLARS LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
WILLIAM FÈVRE CHAMPS ROYAUX CHABLIS AC 2015
Vintages #461640 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is an attractive and approachable regional Chablis. The nose is rather neutral — lightly floral with some underlying lime and green apple fruit, and a lightly lactic and stony backdrop. But the palate comes to life, with lively acidity, some generosity in the fruit that shows the ripeness of the vintage, and a firm, stony finish. Like many 2015s this is not quite what I think of as typical Chablis, but it is oh so attractive and quaffable.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation