Thomas Bachelder, who gave his name to the ambitious Bachelder Project, popped by Castello di Szabo (Canada’s first and only ‘unofficially’ Michelin–starred, and by ‘invitation only’, establishment) the other day, along his lovely wife, Mary. Happily, they brought along almost the entire portfolio of his wines, made in three regions in three different countries, Niagara Peninsula, Burgundy and Oregon.
Bachelder has worked in all three aforementioned regions throughout his career, including his job as founding winemaker at Clos Jordanne. That’s what makes possible sourcing grapes from some of the top vineyards, producing remarkable wines with concrete terroir focus and individual personalities.
Going backwards for a moment here, I have known Thomas for number of years, sampling everything since the first vintage of Le Clos Jordanne, and beyond, as well as a few wines he has made abroad, hence the confidence of voting him the “who’s your daddy” of Canadian winemakers.
Here are the personal favourites of yours truly from the Bachelder collection, with the one and only additional mention about the 2011 Saunders Vineyard Chardonnay, as much as it was boasting power and fullness I believe that it was in a down phase and not showing well on the day of the tasting.
Bachelder 2011 Chardonnay ‘Wismer Vineyard’ Niagara Peninsula
Remarkable purity, composure and poise here, complex with seamless balance and integration, drop dead gorgeous, the Montrachet of the true North. (93)
Bachelder 2011 Puligny-Montrachet “En Corvee de Vignes’ Burgundy
Medium weight with exotic elegance, intense and integrated in the same time, with a clean and long lingering finish, focused and to-the-point (92)
Bachelder 2011 Chardonnay ‘Johnson Vineyard’ Yamhill Carlton District Oregon
Distinct with a mineral edge, smoke, flint and wool notes hide underneath its apple – y fruit core, full and open over the palate with tight finish. (91)
Bachelder 2011 Nuits-Saint-Georges ‘Le Petite Charmotte’ Burgundy
Gothic, deep spice and dark fruit – driven, with broad shoulders and a complex array of flavour nuances, aside fruit with spicy truffles, sandalwood and attractive floral reflexes, age-worthy. (91)
Bachelder 2011 Cote de Nuits Villages ‘Aux Montagnes’ Burgundy
Masculine, black fruit – driven and dramatic barn notes, tannins are evident, yet well integrated, supporting its built and aging potential. (91)
Bachelder 2011 Beaune 1er Cru ‘Les Reverses’ Burgundy
Fleshy and impressive with an intriguing mineral tone, succulent Bing cherry and Moroccan spice accents, complexity meets finesse.(92)
Zoltan Szabo is a sommelier and wine writer based in Toronto. He is available for corporate and private wine tastings, restaurant and hotel consultations, as well as assistance with private collections. His website is zszabo.com and he tweets regularly as @zoltanszabo.