2017 Dam Chardonnay “Rockway Vineyard”, Twenty Mile Bench VQA, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 13.1%, Residual Sugar “less than four”) Website Only $24.95 (750ml bottle)
From the minds of the ever-ebullient (and occasionally man-bunned) André Proulx and cohorts comes this stylishly packaged Twenty Mile Bench Chardonnay. Having had some great fun with the ersatz Beaujolais Nouveau they made a couple of years ago, and then having missed out on their “When Pigs Fly” rosé, I was eager to try the third wine from this crew. I did sample it afterhours at this years i4C, but if I recall correctly I was a little too refreshed at that moment to evaluate in an effective manner.
Made in conjunction with Niagara’s Rockway Vineyards, this barrel fermented bottling comes from seven barrels of 2nd or 3rd fill French cooperage, with five of the barrels being inoculated with different yeast strains whilst the final two went through a spontaneous ferment to add that extra layer of aromatic complexity; around nine months of ageing on the lees of the aforementioned yeasts only adds to the mix, and no doubt contribute to the textural personality of the wine.
The intriguing nose is one of spicy poached pear, malted milk, baked apple, ghee, pineapple, and a little bit of rather pleasant funky nuttiness. The palate is certainly generous and mouthfilling, and there’s some decent acidity running through it despite the partial malolactic conversion.
I found this wine much more satisfying once I allowed it to warm up a little and its true aromatic profile began to show itself, so don’t serve this too chilled.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And that went down very well last night.