That chardonnay is oh so cool...

Great venue
 A few weeks ago I attended the Discover Chardonnay tasting at the Roy Thompson Hall here in Toronto. It was to finish off the International Cool Climate Chardonnay celebration taking place over the weekend in the Niagara wine region. I was so excited about this event. I couldn't make it out to wine country so I just let the wines of the world come to me.  I just love chardonnay. I know that there are many people who are very "ABC": anything-but-chardonnay.


Well, I say to those ABCers: "try a cool climate chardonnay!"

I was eager and early
Ontario Represent!
So what's the big deal with cool climate chardonnay? Well, usually when you say "chardonnay", people often imagine a style of wine that's super buttery, oaky with high alcohol. Sometimes, this style of wine can also be quite flabby. This style of wine penetrated the marketplace and gave the grape a bad rap. Bigger ain't always better!  This type of wine will often come from a warmer climate where the grapes ripen sometimes too well. The riper the grape, the more sugar it will have. When sugar increases, acid decreases. Acidity is what gives wine it's "zing!"...it's liveliness.  Warmer climates sometimes have a harder time maintaining the acidity in their wines because, well, you guessed it - it gets too warm.  Don't get me wrong, I've had some wonderful chardonnays from warmer climates. There are some stellar examples in my wine rack. I'm just saying that we need to start looking at the cooler climates of the world to save chardonnay from being alphabetized...no more ABC!

My favourite sound - pop!
What is considered a cool climate? Many factors contribute to creating a climate that is considered cool:

latitude (how far north or south the location is from the equator)
altitude (how high up the vineyards are)
proximity to large body of water (water acts like thermal regulator)

Cool climate chardonnays really show their sense of "place". They express where they were born and raised. Chardonnays coming from cooler climates are delicate, elegant and have wonderful minerality. They can be extremely refreshing (from that great acidity) and complex.

Candians make great wine!
It was great to see so many Ontario wineries represented.  I'm a huge advocate of Canadian wine. Specifically, Ontario wine. We have such wonderful "cool climate" factors for producing examples of yummy mineral-driven chardonnay:

Tawse
Lailey
Inniskillin
13th Street
Flat Rock Cellars
Angels Gate
Coyotes Run
Hillebrand
Closson Chase
Le Clos Jordanne

www.coolchardonnay.org/category/winery/canada

"Thirty Ontario wineries started the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Association – a not-for-profit group devoted to reinstating the dignity of chardonnay." - www.coolchardonnay.org

www.coolchardonnay.org/category/winery/founding-member-wineries

I'm a lover of Ontario Chardonnay. I'll shout it out loud! I did, however, taste some lovely Chardonnays from other parts of the world. Don't hate me Ontario. My love affair with you will never be overshadowed.

Vie di Romans
This Italian Chardonnay was one my personal highlights of the tasting. It was spectacular. Too bad you can't buy it anywhere yet!

"located within the DOC zone of Friuli Isonzo, in the most easternmost area of northern Italy, close to the Slovenian border. The Adriatic is barely 20 km (1243 miles) to the south, and the first slopes of the Alps about 30 km (1864 miles) to the north."


Interesting read: www.coolchardonnay.org/node/1038


I think Chardonnay is one cool grape. No more ABC! Unless it's the Jackson 5. Enjoy!