Malcolm Jolley welcomes the return of an iconic Ontario wine…
This week Arterra Wines Canada threw a party in Toronto to welcome back two old friends: the 2017 Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay and the 2017 Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir. Or, I suppose, they’re new friends, since they’ve not been out of the cellar before: they are now just available at leclosjordanne.com and at LCBO Vintages this Saturday, November 23*. In any event, the re-emergence of Le Clos Jordanne wines, and wines from the original Grand Clos vineyard on Niagara’s Jordan Bench after several years hiatus is, I think, pretty much universally welcomed by Ontario enthusiasts and the mood at the re-launch party at the GE Monogram Design Centre on Castlefield Avenue was entirely festive. The crowd included a few media types like me, a smattering of wine trade like the Ritz’s Lori Sullivan, but mostly Clos Jordanne fans who haven’t been able to buy a new vintage of the wine since the 2012 was released in 2014.
The Clos Jordanne was discontinued during the turmoil that saw the Canadian division of Constellation Brands spin-off from its American parent company and, with the new ownership of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, become Arterra Wines Canada. Arterra’s CEO, Canadian Jay Wright, who was President of Vincorp before it was acquired by Constellation, led the charge to re-establish winemaking under the Clos Jordanne label. This was explained to the crowd by Thomas Bachelder, the original and longest serving winemaker at the Clos, who Wright hired to oversee the reborn project.
And the wines? They showed well, but are made to be aged and are still pretty tight. The Chardonnay is for sure a fancy wine with full malolactic fermentation and 20% new French oak élévage, but also a racy and mineral wine with energetic acidity and concentrated citrus to peach fruit. It was after 7pm and Bachelder told us the Pinot Noir had been open since noon, and it was served from decanters. It was also luxurious, showing great concentration of fruit – red cherry and cranberry over a food friendly Niagara brightness. Bachelder’s winemakers’s notes state that on top of being a single vineyard wine, he and his team did a further classification of both Grand Clos wines, selecting the best barrels. Vin do terroir meet vin de technique; it’s good to have Le Clos back.