Wines of Canada – Seriously Cool Chardonnay

cool

What a very curious name for a Canadian Campaign, yet oh so … cool.  Actually, the word ‘cool’ is clever as it describes two clear facts about this Chardonnay:  it is cool climate (read Burgundian cool) and the idea of a Canadian Chardonnay is, well, cool.

The seminar and tasting for New York journalists was held March 8 and included a larger representation of cool climate VQA Chardonnays featuring 54 wines from 31 Canadian wineries located in British Columbia and Ontario.

First off, the seminar was very well organized. The presenters actually remarked on how "cool" the room was, as from the top of the McGraw Hill building one can see the entire city (and it was a picture postcard day). I’d venture to say most journalists appreciated all the maps, the nicely organized and printed source material, the well-orchestrated tasting sheets, and the USB plugs for more information.

Very impressed by the wines, which had incredible minerals and high acidity. Oak was a key element, with some producers using new oak and others more restrained. These wines will give Burgundy a run for its money!

Wines included:

Angels Gate Winery Mountainview 2008
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2005
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2008
Casa Dea Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Cave Spring Cellars Blancs de Blancs Brut 2004
Cave Spring Cellars CSV 2007
Chateau des Charmes Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard 2007
Chateau des Charmes Musqué 2009
Closson Chase Vineyards Beamsville Bench 2005
Closson Chase Vineyards S.Kocsis Vineyard 2007
Closson Chase Vineyards Closson Chase Vineyard 2008
Colaneri Estate Winery ‘Paese’ 2008
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery Black Paw Vineyard 2007
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery Red Paw Vineyard 2009
Exultet Estates 2009
Flatrock Cellars Reserve 2007
Flatrock Cellars 2008
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Speck Family Reserve 2007
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery Tête de Cuvée 2008
Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery 2008
Hillebrand Winery Showcase Oliveria Vineyard Wild Ferment 2008
Hillebrand Winery Trius 2009
Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff Blancs de Blancs 2006
Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards 2008
Lailey Vineyard Old Vines 2008
Lailey Vineyard 2009
Lakeview Cellars Reserve 2000
Lakeview Cellars Reserve 2007
Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace 2008
Le Clos Jordanne Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard 2008
Malivoire Moira Vineyard 2008
Malivoire Mottiar 2008
Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Series Kenny McLean 2009
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Select Lot Collection 2005
Norman Hardie Cuvée ‘L’ Unfiltered 2008
Norman Hardie Unfiltered 2008
Pelee Island Winery Barrique 2005
Pillitteri Estates Winery Exclamation Cellar Series 2006
Pillitteri Estates Winery Icewine 2007
Pondview Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Quail’s Gate Estate Winery 2008
Quail’s Gate Estate Winery Stewart Family Reserve 2006
Ravine Vineyard Reserve 2009
Rosehall Run Cuvée County 2008
Rosewood Estates Reserve Renaceau Vineyard 2007
Rosewood Estates Reserve 2008
Southbrook Vineyards Poetica 2003
Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy! 2008
Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe 2009
Tawse Winery Beamsville Bench Reserve 2002
Tawse Winery Quarry Road Vineyard 2008
Tawse Winery Robyn’s Block Vineyard 2008
The Grange of Prince Edward County Victoria Block Barrel Fermented 2008

upon the highly successful Seriously Cool Chardonnay media tasting held in London, England last spring, Canadian wine producers now have their sights on the Big Apple. The New York City event will take place on March 8 and will include a larger representation of cool climate VQA Chardonnays featuring 54 wines from 31 Canadian wineries located in British Columbia and Ontario.

“A generation ago, the New Zealand wine industry launched Sauvignon Blanc in Britain and put New Zealand wines on the map,” says Bill Redelmeier of Southbrook Vineyards, who spearheaded the group effort to promote Canada’s cool climate Chardonnays to international media. “Last May a group of Ontario wineries went to London with a similar goal but showcased Chardonnay, a grape variety that is particularly suited to Canada’s cool climate regions.”

The 40 Ontario Chardonnays from 22 wineries featured at the debut tasting held at Canada House in Trafalgar Square attracted over 95 wine media and members of the trade. The wines received accolades from such noted wine critics as Jancis Robinson, Steven Spurrier and Oz Clarke.

“The reaction from U.K. media was surprise, appreciation and delight, not only for the quality of the wines but for their consistency across the range,” comments Canadian wine writer and author, Tony Aspler, who attended the London tasting and headed the panel of judges selecting the top wines featured at the event.

Buoyed by the success of the London event, Ontario wineries are now joined by the Wines of British Columbia and are headed to New York City where the key U.S. wine press is located to repeat the tasting to demonstrate the success Canada has with cool climate Chardonnays.

“When people around the globe think of Canadian wines, they only think of Icewine,” says Redelmeier. “Our aim is to change that perception by presenting our wines to influential wine critics in such key cities as London and New York to let the world know what a great job Canada also does with table wines, in particular Chardonnay.”

VQA wineries in British Columbia and Ontario were invited to submit their wines in a blind tasting judged by a panel of Canadian judges led by Tony Aspler, and wine experts, Linda Bramble, Konrad Ejbich, Stephen Elphick, David Lawrason, Michael Pinkus, Gordon Stimmell and John Szabo, MS (Master Sommelier). The panel previewed 100 Canadian Chardonnays and selected 54 wines from 31 wineries to qualify for the New York City Seriously Cool Chardonnay event. To ensure a diverse range and styles of wines, a limit of up to two eligible wines per winery and one library wine over five years per winery were selected for the New York tasting.

Lead judge Tony Aspler observes: “The wines chosen for the New York tasting show how versatile Chardonnay can be when grown in Canadian vineyards – from sparkling wine, to unoaked Chardonnay, Chardonnay Musqué, ripe New World styles in warmer B.C and Icewine.”

For the list of wines to be featured at the Seriously Cool Chardonnay tasting in New York City go to coolchardonnay.ca.

Chardonnay is the most widely produced VQA white wine in British Columbia, which has 144 VQA wineries in five wine growing regions – Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands. With 124 VQA wineries in Ontario, Chardonnay is the most widely produced VQA wine in Ontario in its four wine growing regions – Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, Pelee Island and Prince Edward County.

The public is invited to preview the Chardonnays that will be poured at the New York City event at the upcoming Seriously Cool Chardonnay Toronto tasting organized by The Ontario Wine Society on February 22 at 6:30 pm at Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. Tickets are $43 for members and $53 for non-members. Go to ontariowinesociety.com on purchasing tickets.

The New York City wine event will be held on the 50th floor of the prestigious McGraw Hill Building, 1221 Avenue of the Americas located in midtown Manhattan, for invited media and wine professionals. The 54 VQA Chardonnays from 31 British Columbia and Ontario wineries include:

Angels Gate Winery Mountainview 2008
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2005
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2008
Casa Dea Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Cave Spring Cellars Blancs de Blancs Brut 2004
Cave Spring Cellars CSV 2007
Chateau des Charmes Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard 2007
Chateau des Charmes Musqué 2009
Closson Chase Vineyards Beamsville Bench 2005
Closson Chase Vineyards S.Kocsis Vineyard 2007
Closson Chase Vineyards Closson Chase Vineyard 2008
Colaneri Estate Winery ‘Paese’ 2008
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery Black Paw Vineyard 2007
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery Red Paw Vineyard 2009
Exultet Estates 2009
Flatrock Cellars Reserve 2007
Flatrock Cellars 2008
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Speck Family Reserve 2007
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery Tête de Cuvée 2008
Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery 2008
Hillebrand Winery Showcase Oliveria Vineyard Wild Ferment 2008
Hillebrand Winery Trius 2009
Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff Blancs de Blancs 2006
Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards 2008
Lailey Vineyard Old Vines 2008
Lailey Vineyard 2009
Lakeview Cellars Reserve 2000
Lakeview Cellars Reserve 2007
Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace 2008
Le Clos Jordanne Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard 2008
Malivoire Moira Vineyard 2008
Malivoire Mottiar 2008
Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Series Kenny McLean 2009
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Select Lot Collection 2005
Norman Hardie Cuvée ‘L’ Unfiltered 2008
Norman Hardie Unfiltered 2008
Pelee Island Winery Barrique 2005
Pillitteri Estates Winery Exclamation Cellar Series 2006
Pillitteri Estates Winery Icewine 2007
Pondview Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Quail’s Gate Estate Winery 2008
Quail’s Gate Estate Winery Stewart Family Reserve 2006
Ravine Vineyard Reserve 2009
Rosehall Run Cuvée County 2008
Rosewood Estates Reserve Renaceau Vineyard 2007
Rosewood Estates Reserve 2008
Southbrook Vineyards Poetica 2003
Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy! 2008
Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe 2009
Tawse Winery Beamsville Bench Reserve 2002
Tawse Winery Quarry Road Vineyard 2008
Tawse Winery Robyn’s Block Vineyard 2008
The Grange of Prince Edward County Victoria Block Barrel Fermented 2008


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