2022 Ravine Vineyard “Unoaked” Chardonnay, St. David’s Bench VQA, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 3%, Residual Sugar 2.1 g/l) Winery and website $30.80 (750ml bottle)
What with it just having been World Chardonnay Day, I thought it would be a terrific idea to recommend one of my favourite unadorned examples of this grape, the Ravine “Unoaked”.
Producing a decent naked Chardonnay takes some seriously pristine fruit, as any flaws are magnified without the “foundation coverup” that oak can handily provide. Ravine does a seriously smashing job with this 2022 release, and that’s no real surprise seeing as not only do they craft some terrific wines, but the vintage was an exceptional one, if a little short—around half the yield of previous years.
Despite the short crop, the resultant wine is a thrilling celebration of gorgeous cool-climate Chardonnay fruit and exhibits a rather irresistible pear-driven bouquet with elements of bright citrus (lemon and lime), freshly-cut green apple, and a subtle hint of baby powder. Strangely enough, aromatically, this vintage reminded me of some of the excellent Cluver wines from Elgin, South Africa.
As one would expect, the palate is crisp and fresh, with bracing acidity true to its cool climate roots, but there’s a depth and ripeness here that speak to the heat units available to those St. David’s Bench vineyard plots; it’s that exquisite structural balance that defines this wine. The saline mineral profile and finish are quite pronounced, making this wine a no-brainer for accompanying briney east coast oysters.
Thanks to the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario for proving GFR with this bottle for review purposes (and to celebrate World Chardonnay Day).
(Four out of a possible five apples)