A Wine One Learns to Love

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Our ABC's. They are among the first thing we learn as children, as we enter the education system. Ironically (and sadly),  the ABC's can be the first words declared by those entering the wine ‘education system’ as well. "I'll drink Anything But Chardonnay". This poor little grape often starts out with some major distance to cover, yet I never underestimate its' power to do.

This “ABC” motto (and OK, I'm guilty of this shameful proclamation in my early days) is something that I think is starting to subside. Why? because there are simply too many awesome chards out there, that one can't argue with evidence suggesting such a great increase in quality (especially here in Niagara).  But why is it such a misunderstood and under appreciated varietal? I blame its' diversity.

This wine can be oaked, or it can be unoaked. It can be creamy and buttery, it can be big and bold or fairly light and sharp. It can have citrus notes and aromas of green apple, or be tropical with hints of coconut. It can be fungal and metallic, or smell of butterscotch, and popcorn. It's a wine that can be toasty and dry or cotton-candy sweet. The possibilities are exhausting, and this is why it's often referred to as the wine maker's playdough. 
When it comes to Chardonnay, it's a process of trial and error. You're bound to come across some that you hate, but don't let that stop you on your quest to beat the ABC's. There is a bottle out there that is "just right," and when you find it, you have found a friend for life.
We're lucky that Niagara's climate is able to breed such diversity. Chardonnay is considered by many to be Niagara's best varietal. This is evident by the recognition it receives from world renowned wine critics.

Niagara, being the cool climate region that it is, often produces Chardonnay reminiscent of its famous French counterpart: Burgundy. These wines hold great emphasis on terroir and complexity. Yet, at the same time, with a hot summer and the right amount and type of oak, Niagara is capable of producing a style similar to Napa Chardonnays, famous for their warm tropical notes. Therefore, Niagara gets the best of both worlds.
So, the next time you try a Chardonnay, see where it falls on your wine spectrum. Experiment, ask questions and don’t strop till you find a chardonnay that’s right for you, because I guarantee it’s out there.

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