Thirty Bench Winemaker’s Blend Chardonnay 2015

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Canada — Ontario • $19.95 • 89/100

“Winemaker’s Blend” is a new label that uses partial non-estate fruit, that will allow Thirty Bench to extend its reach beyond the limits engendered by the size of the estate vineyards. In this case, there is a mix of estate fruit with grapes from Niagara-on-the-Lake, including 10% Chardonnay Musqué. The wine is pale straw, with fresh, youthful lemon, yellow apple, melon and floral notes complemented by hints of resin and vanilla. It is nicely balanced, with firm acidity driving the palate into a lemony-stony finish. The wine was aged in 100% French oak for eleven months, 15-20% new. Interestingly, malolactic conversion was blocked to emphasize the crisp acidity, and the Musqué element is subtle and integrated. Very good first effort. (price tentatively $17-$20) • Tasted 2017-01-13 • LCBO id#0 • Find it at your nearest LCBO

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