2014 Lagaria Chardonnay, Vigneti Delle Dolomiti IGT, Italy – LCBO $13.55
Whilst it is often muttered that if one is looking for good Chardonnay there are much better places to look than Italy (Mr. D’Agata, I am looking at you), I have to say that I was delightfully surprised and impressed with this eminently pocketbook-pleasing example from Alto Adige/Trentino.
I think it would be fair to say that I have recently re-ignited a love affair with the whites of northeastern Italy, as each and every month I seem to taste something that really does make a pleasant impression. Saying that, the LCBO has never had a great deal of success with Italian Chardonnay on the General List, but I do hope that this bottling bucks that trend as it makes for the perfect Spring/Summer sipper, and is a welcome alternative to much of that dross industrial tidal wave that still appears to be stuck somewhere in the 90s. It’s 2015, man! We deserve better than that.
With this in mind, let me introduce you to the Lagaria Chardonnay. I really enjoy the label designed by acclaimed artist Stefano Riboli, but then again, who doesn’t like to see a cheerful lady with a bicycle enjoying a glass of wine? Saying that, considering the ridiculously archaic rulings surrounding what the KGBO allows upon wine labels these days, I’m very much surprised to see them condoning drinking and cycling in this manner.
EDIT: So, I just this moment discovered that the LCBO didn’t actually allow this label with the charming lady, the bike, and the glass of wine through. The label actually had to be altered to the one below where aforementioned charming lady is now holding a bunch of grapes. Wow.
Label aside, this 100% Chardonnay sourced from the southwest-facing, sandy clay loam soils of the Dolomitic foothills, is made from handpicked fruit that is de-stemmed and given a couple of hours of cold maceration before being in fermented in stainless steel, with a small portion in French cooperage. The wine in the barriques is given a bit of a stir every two days to ensure that component brings a little bit of leesy texture to the finished wine.
The resultant medium-bodied glass of this particular wine is a true pleasure to sip, and at this amazingly accessible price-point is a real steal. The bouquet is surprisingly complex, with zingy fresh aromatics of golden yellow apples and lemon zest, coupled with nuances of white wildflowers. The palate is bright and invigorating, echoing the nose in its fruit profile, rewarding the drinker with firm acidity, good weight, a texturally pleasing mouthfeel, and substantial mineral-focused freshness on the finish.
With this abundance of freshness and vibrancy, the Lagaria Chardonnay lends itself to all manner of dishes. Use as an aperitif, with fried white fish, calamari, roast chicken, or pasta with cheese.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’ll be filling his fridge with this, that’s for sure.