Newsletter : Chardonnay Authenticity (vol. 23-04)

28 Apr 2023

April 2023 ... I am on the road in France this week learning about and enjoying the wines of the Loire and later the Languedoc regions; but Ontario is still on my mind; in particular, Chardonnay.

My commentary today deals with Chardonnay and how you find a reviewer to follow when it comes to your favourite grape.

Finally, I am starting collection and tasting for this year's 5th annual Rose Report, aka the PINKus Report, which will be published in first week of July. If you have a favourite winery you want to see in the report, reach out and make sure they are submitting.

As for what else is in the newsletter this month: wine reviews, videos, podcast links and all the other good stuff you've come to expect.

Thanks for reading.


Please consider a donation to my Patreon page to support my work - any amount is appreciated: you can find my Patreon page here.


Musings from a Wine Soaked Mind ...

Chardonnay Authenticity

Let's face it, and no offense to my podcast partner, and his alter ego Captain Chardonnay, but if you are looking for great Chardonnay advice, you should go to a guy who hates Chardonnay.

If you go to someone who absolutely loves it, they have a predetermined-bias to like whatever it is they are putting in their mouth, and look, if you are a Chardonnay-lover of that magnitude, fill your boots. But if you have discerning taste, want the best Chardonnay for the money and really truly believe there are good Chardonnays out there; and like Pinot Noir, they have to be searched out – then I would be the guy to follow.
Now, while I toot my horn at one end, I’ll give you a caveat at the other: I am sure that same podcast partner of mine would tell you to take my Gamay reviews with a grain of salt; and I fully get that. First, I'm a fan of Ontario Gamay, and any winery willing to make Gamay is okay in my book (in any form: sparkling, red or even white?). And while I am pro-Gamay, I try to be unbiased about it; but I fully admit I do get excited to see the grape getting more and more love in these parts.

When I heard Thomas Bachelder, King of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, decided to throw some love Gamay’s way, I was like: Huzzah. Kudos. And all that jazz. Maybe in his first year I was a little generous in my scoring, but sooner or later I come back down to earth. The real winners here are Gamay-fans because Thomas decided to be in the game; he seems to have given Gamay legitimacy, because of his stature in the industry.

This, in turn, has made more winemakers decide to add Gamay to their repertoire; now there is a better chance of finding out who will dethrone the king (sorry Shiraz, can’t be on top forever, even if Elizabeth tried). What’s the old saying? A rising tide lifts all boats. A rising Gamay tide benefits us all.

These days the reigning king of Gamay, as alluded to in the previous paragraph, is Shiraz Mottiar of Malivoire, having wrestled the mantle away from 13th Street years ago … this is my humble opinion, but I doubt I would get much push back when saying it. But who knows when that will change? With more wineries making Gamay the next champ could be in our midst, or sitting behind a desk at Niagara College? Is it Thomas, with his single vineyard efforts? Or maybe there’s someone else waiting in the wings. I look forward to the next 20 years, as those innovators begin to emerge.

But now let me bring it back to Chardonnay. That same adage is true for Chardonnay. We have seen an influx of Chardonnay producers in Ontario, and that in turn has raised the bar of quality Chardonnay across the board. But that does not mean that all Ontario Chardonnay is fantastic - we still have "those" Chardonnay's out there: the ones that made me join, and still hold on to my Anything But Chardonnay credentials. I still taste some miserable Chardonnays, so I'm not ready to drink the Cool Chardonnay Kool-Aid that all Ontario Chardonnays are all top-notch.

I say this all to enforce this notion ... Chardonnay may be cool and all, and Ontario may make some that are world-class; but don't poo-poo them because they are Chardonnay and don't praise them for the same reason. Be open-minded and know what you enjoy in Chardonnay. Know what you like in the wines and make the grape your own. Not the other way around.

As for my Chardonnay-loving-podcast-partner; I would like to believe my curmudgeonly influence has helped to curb his once total fealty to the grape and shaped him into having a more refined palate when it comes to that grape at least … but there are still days.

I also invite you to join us on the podcast this season, Two Guys Talking Wine, as we investigate the rest of the world of Chardonnay, not just Ontario.


  Click on any wine name to see the full review:

Last House 2020 Hillier Rouge, Daniel Block ... (****)

Malivoire 2020 Gamay Noir, Courtney ... (**** ½)
Malivoire 2020 Stouck Farmstead Red ... (****+)

Pelee Island 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon / Petit Verdot - Vinedressers ... (****)

Pillitteri 2016 Cabernet Franc Reserve - Exclamation Series ... (****+)

Ravine Vineyard 2020 Cabernet Franc ... (****)

Westcott 2020 Pinot Noir, Mayfield ... (****+)
Westcott 2020 Chardonnay, Block 76 ... (****)
Westcott 2019 Pinot Noir Reserve, Vinemount Ridge ... (****)


 The Non-Ontario Selection ...

Lungarotti 2020 L'Um - Merlot / Sangiovese ... (****) - Umbria, Italy


--- Highlighted Videos This Week ---

Ontario Wines ...
Lighthall 2020 Cabernet Franc
Rockway 2017 Small Lot Cabernet Franc

"International Wines" ...
Domaines des Galloires 2021 Les Chailloux
Gianni Gagliardo 2016 Barolo - La Morra


      See the full newsletter with video, side bar links and more - click below:

Ontario Reviews: The Wines You Need to Get (vol. 23-04)



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