Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Report from … Cuvee Experts’ Tasting – Saturday March 5, 2011

It’s always from to sit in a room with like-minded individuals to taste wines and learn a few things in the process.  The Saturday after the Cuvee Gala is the Experts’ Tasting where a writer (like myself) gets to rub shoulders with winemakers, winery owners, restaurateurs, sommeliers and other industry insiders.  This year’s tasting focused on Chardonnay, a wine I am becoming more and more intimately familiar with, especially since the beginning of the year, having taken part in the judging for the Seriously Cool Chardonnay and the two tasting that followed.

This morning’s keynote speaker, at 10:10am on a Saturday morning, was Peter Gamble, who was feeling the effects of a self-admitted bender of “two bottles of Ontario Chardonnay” the night before to “focus his thoughts” on the subject, proceeded to deliver the best Charlie Sheen impression I’ve seen since the “winning” actor delivered his latest interview – as he hunched over his notes at the podium, he seemed at times to ramble and be incoherent.  I'm pretty sure he was discussing Chardonnays from around the world starting in Ontario and moving to Chardonnay powerhouses like the U.S., Australia and of course Burgundy, then back to Ontario.  He, of course, was pro-Ontario, but his thoughts never seemed to gel and become cohesive.  Those must have been two really good bottles of Chardonnay.

We then went on to tasting Chardonnays in 4 flights: The Many Faces of …, Aged …, Class of 2009 and Class of 2008.  As with any flight of wines I had my favourites in each category:

Many Faces of Chardonnay - 8 wines tasted (a variety of oaked, unoaked, sparkling and other forms of Chardonnay) …
1)    Cave Spring 2004 Blanc de Blanc
2)    Henry of Pelham 2008 Reserve Chardonnay
3)    Stoney Ridge 2008 Charlotte Chardonnay Unoaked

Aged Chardonnay - 7 wines tasted (from 1998 – 2005) …
1)    Flat Rock 2005 Chardonnay
2)    Henry of Pelham 2004 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

Class of 2009 - 5 wines tasted (the newest vintages from Ontario) …
1)    Pondview 2009 Bella Terra Chardonnay
2)    Niagara College Teaching Winery 2009 Dean’s List Chardonnay

Class of 2008 - 7 wines tasted (read above to get the idea) …
1)    Tawse 2008 Robyn’s Block Chardonnay
2)    Le Clos Jordanne 2008 Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Chardonnay

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