2022 The Grange Of Prince Edward “Farmer’s Series” County Chardonnay, Prince Edward County VQA, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 14.2%, Residual Sugar 3 g/l) Winery and Website $31 (750ml bottle)

I’ve always been keen to follow the wines of The Grange of Price Edward, as they were one of our very first Good Food Fighters (read: invited sponsors) way back in the early years of the website.

I think it would be a fair observation to say that the wines of The Grange had rather lost their way over the last handful of years. I recall thoroughly enjoying one of their Pinot Gris a few years ago, but I found that most of their excursions into sparkling wines were certainly not for my palate. Across the range, I found that there was way more volatility than my more traditionally-slanted palate could possibly handle.

With this in mind, I was delighted to hear that the winery has been going through a transformation under new leadership and now has Hinterland’s Jonas Newman working as their winemaker. I’ve greatly enjoyed Jonas’ evolution as a winemaker (not to mention his wry sense of humour) over the years and was seriously intrigued as to what he was going to bring to The Grange.

The property’s vineyards have been undergoing a two year rejuvenation by viticulturist Mike Peddlesden, who took part in the original plantings and is a gentleman with deep County roots; the winery is thrilled to have him back at the viticulture helm. The Grange cellar too has gone through a complete overhaul courtesy of Jonas’ oh-so careful and judicious hand.

Thinking back to the last few vintages from The Grange, Jonas’ take on the PEC Chardonnay is like a breath of morning air on a crisp County morning, as it is delightfully clean, vibrant, and lively. Utilising pristine fruit from the Casa Deas Vineyard, Greer Road, he’s managed to capture that chilly mineral/limestone essence of County fruit that was sorely missing from this winery’s whites in more recent years. The oak influence (⅓ new French cooperage for 10 months, the rest being neutral oak) is reserved and enjoyably subtle. 

The palate is both assertive and crisp, and the structure carries that 14.2% alcohol with considerable aplomb. There’s a touch of leesiness on the nose, which shows itself through some pleasant weight and texture mid-palate. That mineral element extends out into the long finish that’s akin to licking friable limestone.  

It’s undeniably an accomplished terroir-driven wine and a great start for Jonas at The Grange. I look forward to tasting through his other wines over the coming week.

(Four out of a possible five apples)