I think a day exclusively dedicated to Chardonnay is a mighty fine idea.
Then again, in my world, many days are dedicated to Chardonnay. Though I am developing a love for Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay is always my first choice in white wine.
So last week, May 21, was International Chardonnay Day. It had been one of those weeks – you know, one where everything goes wrong. Where you feel like you are running non-stop all day and get nothing done. Where plans get mixed up and snafus occur.
Yeah, one of those. It felt like I was reliving my crazy Toronto days.
But those days are over – I am now in Niagara. I have wineries on my doorstep. I am self-employed. So, Thursday afternoon got blocked off in my calendar. Instead of just cracking open a bottle of Chard to recover from my week, I went to four wineries for some Chardonnay sampling.
Brilliant, don’t you agree?
I started my tour at Two Sisters Vineyards, a favourite of mine. I knew – after the week I had – I needed to go to wineries that I love, where I knew the service and the wine would be excellent. And the views aren’t bad either.
I have written before about my fabulous experiences at Two Sisters – for tastings, lunch, and dinner. All have been excellent. The only thing I have left to do there is have dinner on their beautiful patio at Kitchen 76. Oh, and go to an event in the wine cellar.
So I headed into the tasting room.
This “I’m-so-tired-I-could-sleep-for-seven-weeks-straight” photo perfectly captures my week. I will never be one of those glamorous lifestyle bloggers, I’m afraid. You get the real deal here, folks.
But the promise of Chardonnay tasting perked me right up.
Vladimir came to help me and it was great to meet him. We’ve been Twitter pals for awhile, and I love it when Twitter meets the real world.
Then it was on to the tasting. First the 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay, then the 2013 Chardonnay. I have always been more of an oak-lover when it comes to Chardonnay, but I must admit there are several unoaked ones that are winning me over. Two Sisters’ is one of them.
Then it was time for stop #2 on the Niagarafied Chardonnay Tour – Rancourt Winery.
I discovered Rancourt’s 2012 Chardonnay Reserve during the Days of Wine and Chocolate, and loved it. Matched with a Lobster Bisque, garnished with white chocolate shavings, it was one of my favourite pairings of that event. So I was curious to try the 2013 vintage. At the winery they say it is like drinking “liquid butter tart”. How can you refuse that?
It was delicious.
I’ve always loved the relaxed vibe at Rancourt, and honestly have enjoyed every wine I have tried there. They have just finished some renovations, opening up the front tasting room. I always love reading the funny wine quotes they put up too.
There is a also place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine and a charcuterie board, overlooking their vineyards.
The Bella Terra Chardonnay was beautiful – full-bodied, with hints of butterscotch and vanilla. Everything Chardonnay dreams are made of.
I fell in love with this t-shirt from PondView too.
And this is exactly why I have my blog.
Then, it was time to head off to my final stop. No Niagarafied Chardonnay tour would be complete without a stop at Stratus.
Time for my “serious” winetasting face.
I don’t know why I was concentrating so hard. I know I love everything at Stratus, so decisions aren’t that difficult. Besides, it was Chardonnay Day, so I knew what I was having.
And the angels sing when I sip Stratus Chardonnay. Seriously.
And on that note, there really isn’t much more to be said.
We make some incredible Chardonnays here in Ontario, and I am so lucky to have so many great producers right on my doorstep.
My little tour has also got me even more excited about the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) – taking place here in Niagara from July 17th-19th.
There is so much going on to celebrate this beautiful grape, so every Chardonnay lover should plan on attending. And even if you don’t think you love Chardonnay, come anyway.
The great Chardonnays here just might change your mind.