Posts Tagged ‘i4C’

Yeah! Make it a Chardonnay!

Posted by Julie

Monday, July 10th, 2017
Share

It’s that time of year again when the annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (also known by those in the wine biz as ‘i4C’ or #i4C17) descends upon the Niagara region. Everyone gathers for this special i4C weekend to celebrate the most popular grape varietal in the world.

It is an incredible weekend – July 21 to 23 – where 30+ wineries from around the world PLUS 30 Ontario wineries gather to showcase their finest wines made with Chardonnay grapes – everything from sparkling, fresh Chardonnay, aged ones, Chablis style, fermented with wild yeast and those aged in barrels from around the world.  You get to sample everything. Even fine sweet wines made from Chardonnay grapes.  It is a heavenly weekend event!

At i4C, winemakers attend along with wine enthusiasts, Sommeliers, wine writers, restaurant owners and those who are simply visiting Niagara wanting to take in a top-notch event.  A number of us from the Savvy Team have attended and it is hands down an incredible learning and entertaining experience not to mention absolutely delicious & tasty. I highly recommend making i4C the reason for a weekend getaway to Niagara (if you need a reason!).

And for those of you who are ABCers (aka like Anything But Chardonnay), there is an incredible white wine from Spain that I discovered in the recent LCBO Vintages release from the feature or Spanish wines.  Spain often offers great value wines that taste like they should cost more, but my recommendations on those will have to wait for another time as I am filling my basket with 100% Chardonnay for this blog…and can’t wait to get sipping.

Long live i4C!
-Julie

i4C Social Media Information: Website  *   Twitter   *  Instagram 

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LBCO Vintages Release for Saturday July 8, 2017

 

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2015 

VQA Niagara-on-the Lake
$24.95 (Vintages #172338) 12.5 % alcohol

In 2008, Southbrook was the first wine estate in Canada to earn both organic and biodynamic certification for its vineyard and winery. This is one smooth Chardonnay from start to finish. There is some minerality in this white wine which is unusual for a Chardonnay, but this only enhances the soft tropical fruits.

Mid-weight and beautifully balanced with some baked pear on the finish, it’s one lovely drink. Would partner nicely with BBQed chicken or salmon.

 

 

Emiliana Natura Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #439398) 14 % alcohol

In the last release I featured Emiliana Winery for their sparkling wine. And here they are again on my top picks list!

This unoaked Chardonnay wine is anything but “typicity”.  In winespeak, this is the degree in which the grape varietal reflects or demonstrates its characteristics from the origin or region. I found just a hint of effervescence, light-bodied with lime tanginess which is unusual for a Chardonnay.  It’s fresh and clean with a green apple finish. I really liked it and this white wine is definitely going into my shopping basket & right into my fridge for a hot summer afternoon where I will uncork it for lunch or a light dinner with something like a Watermelon, Feta Cheese & Black Olive Salad.

 

 

Buena Vista Chardonnay 2015

Sonoma County, U.S.A.
$24.95 (Vintages #396440) 13 % alcohol

In a little corner bordering Sonoma and Napa’s southern boundaries is the celebrated vinicultural area called Carneros. While only about 90 square miles, the region is recognized for producing world class Chardonnays.

This white wine is a style that is heavier and creamier than what comes from other Chardonnay growing regions but for those who love a ‘Big Bold Chard’, this wine is for you!  I put extra stars beside my tasting notes, indicating that I love this wine. Aromas of buttered popcorn, rich and smooth on the palate as the tropical fruit simply takes over the senses and abounds.  It’s dry, crisp with a lingering finish. Elegant and refined, a class-act Chardonnay. Would easily stand up to a dinner of Steak & frites…yes white wine with steak!

 

 

Invivo Gisborne Chardonnay 2016

Gisborne, North Island, New Zealand
$15.95 (Vintages #499855) 13 % alcohol

Although this was not available at my tasting, Invivo Wines is going to be present at i4C represented by Winemaker and Co-founder, Rob Cameron. I never have any difficulty recommending a wine from New Zealand, especially the Gisborne region, since wines that are produced are always top notch. Tasting notes indicate an easy drinking style with citrus and ripe stone fruit on the palate.

At this incredible price point, (remember it travelled half way around the world to get onto the LCBO shelves), this white wine is definitely going in my basket. It is worth a try!

 

A dynamite wine from Spain you have to try …

Barón De ley Blanco 2016

DOCa Rioja
$13.95 (Vintages #145995) 12 % alcohol

A blend of Viura (90%) and Malvasia (10%) grapes, this fresh aromatic white wine is easy to drink. While not common grape varietals, these are quite at home in Navarra in the DOC Rioja region.

The winemaking process is carried out in stainless steel tanks which lends to its super fresh lemon lime flavours with a citrusy finish. Fresh and a light-bodied whine, makes for a terrific wine on a hot summer’s day.

 

 

Grand Total = $95.75

Share

If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Thursday, July 7th, 2016
Share

This weekend at the LCBO features “Great Values for Summer” on the store shelves at Vintages and a real cool event that takes place in Niagara called “i4C” – the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration.  Years ago my husband and I attended this festival, set on the hills of lovely Tawse Winery in along the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment).vintages magazine cover

Winemakers & Sommeliers from around the world transcended to Niagara to sip & savour Chardonnay all weekend.  Events of all kinds shone the spotlight on this featured grape.  At one event, Canadian singer songwriter Murray McLaughlin played live as the icing on the cake to make this annual event memorable for me.

Join me to fill your shopping cart with bottles of Chardonnay to celebrate i4C along with “Great Values for Summer” that await your discovery at Vintages.

Heres to the dog days of summer…I wish they could last forever.

Cheers & enjoy,

Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday July 9, 2016

 

Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014

BC VQA Okanagan Valley
$ 19.95 (Vintages #378489) 14 % alcohol

Straight from the Okanagan Valley, this dry, smooth Chardonnay has no shortage of tropical fruit plus the green apple taste offers perfect acidity. Medium-bodied and fresh there’s a bit of toasty oak and vanilla. It is an elegant Chardonnay with luscious brioche and a hint of coconut at the end. Grilled salmon with new potatoes, buttery and parsley.

                                             

Casa Del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2015

DO Casablanca Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #974717) 14% alcohol

Very pale in colour but not in taste, this Sauvignon Blanc is very clean and refreshing. Talk about a palate cleanser.

There’s lots of citrus, especially white grapefruit flavours with a pithy aftertaste that sends you back for more…and more…and more!   Light-bodied that makes it perfect for a picnic.  At this price, it is a great value wine to have in your fridge until Labour Day, or heck, buy more and keep on drinking it until Christmas!

 

 Timulqui Single Vineyard Torrentes 2015Timulqui Single Vineyard Torrentes 2015

La Rioja, Argentina
$13.95 (Vintages #450486) 14.5 % alcohol

Torrentes is such an interesting grape varietal. When I serve a Torrentes everyone always asks what kind of wine is this since it is so different from our  usual varietals like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. It is produced only in Argentina and has an incomparable flavor.  The Torrentes grape originated in Mendoza apparently under the leadership of Jesuits. Pale golden in colour with floral, geranium aromas, lots of  orange and passion fruit on the palate with a touch of oregano or white pepper at the end. It’s interesting, fresh and another fantastic value.

Waterkloof Circle of Life 2012

Waterkloof Circle of Life 2012

WO Stellenbosch, South Africa
$19.95 (Vintages #284588) 13.5% alcohol

Although Circle of Life reminds me of a Disney movie, the winery has certainly taken it’s title seriously embracing a sense of origin with the bio-dynamic vineyards.

I found this wine unusual in taste. I’m not sure whether it was the forest, almost tree-like aromas or that there was so much going on with its Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc (also known as Steen in South Africa) blend. Some tropical fruit, yellow apple and lime mingles with a pinch of honey on the aftertaste making this medium bodied blend very smooth and satisfying. I liked it immediately and can’t wait to pick up a bottle to enjoy with seafood.

 

Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec 2015Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec 2015

Uco Valley, Mendoza
Bodegas y Videos La Esperanza
$15.95 (Vintages #65664) 14.1% alcohol

In February my husband and I traveled to Buenos Aires and ever since there’s always lots of Malbec in our wine cupboard. It’s dark, inky purple almost opaque in colour (it’s going to look fabulous in my big bowl wine glasses!) and exhibits layers of spice, tobacco, blackberry and a little cassis. It packs serious punch. It’s smooth, lingering with persistent length and depth. It’s another fabulous value wine.  Bring on anything grilled.

 

Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2010

Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2010

DOC Gioia del Colle, Puglia
$14.95 (Vintages #724674) 13.5% alcohol

I learned in the LCBO release report that the Latin word, “Primitivo” translates to first to ripen. Just when I thought Primitivo grape made great medium to big red wines that are perfect ‘spaghetti wine’ (you know…perfect with a bowl of spaghetti!) Vibrant dark plums, ripe red berry and violet aromas, lead you to a delicious, medium-bodied palate of ripe black cherries, fleshy raspberry, some ground pepper and noticeable tannins. The fruit is ripe and remains start to finish.

 

Grand Total: $99.75  – how is that for being on budget! 

 

Share

Chill out with cool Chardonnays

Posted by Julie

Friday, July 19th, 2013
Share

Who does not love the dog days of summer?  Flowers are in full bloom, berries and vegetables crowd the market stalls, people are barbequing and in spite of the wet weather, those little grapes of ours are slowly making their way to fruition.

So it is not surprising that the LCBO Vintages release for July 20 focuses on BBQ and Cool Climate Chardonnay wines. I remember a time when Chardonnay wines used to be heavy and oaky which probably gave some weight to the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) era. Now, there is so much variety in winemaking techniques that Chardonnay has been given a makeover.

In 2011, approximately twenty nine Ontario wineries started the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Association that has done much to return the Chardonnay grape to dignity. While the grape origins may be in Burgundy, France, it has flourished in the cooler climate Ontario soil that offers minerality and difference to the grape. It is still the most popular varietal for people to drink and the only difficulty this release presents, is finding the Chardonnay style that is right for you.

This weekend in time with the Vintages release Chardonnay feature, Niagara is hosting the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (follow #i4C2013 on Twitter or @coolchardonnay for all of the buzz!) again this year and it is bigger than ever with a Grand Tasting event outdoors, lunches at wineries, intimate winemakers dinners in the vineyards, educational seminars – everything to showcase the best Chardonnays in the world as they come together in Niagara.  Worthy of a roadtrip!

I hope you will join me in picking up a few of my top Chardonnay picks at Vintages and don’t be afraid to pair it with a hamburger or grilled steak.  You will find out how very “cool” Chardonnay can be.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Julie

 

Angel’s Gate Mountainview Chardonnay 2010

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #116384) 13.5% alcohol

Some wines are just so good, I want to enjoy them on their own and not have to worry about pairing them with food. I’m sure most Europreans would disagree with me, however.  A pale golden coloured medium bodied Chard. with aromas and tastes of stone, pineapple, lemon zest and green apple. It’s fresh, medium bodied and makes for a lovely afternoon sipper. It’s lip-smacking delicious on its own or with salad for a light lunch or white fish at supper.

 

Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay Musqué

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #640516) 13.5% alcohol

This fresh chardonnay has lots of citrusy expression with aromas of white blossoms and stone; a tad mininerally which is typical of the Chardonnay Musqué clone. This undermining of minerality gives it a fresh and light taste with apricot, grapefruit and green apple on the palate and aftertaste. Another great sipper for mid-afternoon and would match grilled chicken and lighter fare.

 

Papale Linea Oro Primitivo di Manduria 2010

DOP, Varvaglione Vigne & Vini, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages# 261784)  14% alcohol

This wine was a Gold Medal 2012 Mundus Vini winner. Made from the Prinitivo grape in the Puglia region of Italy, also known as Zinfandel in North America. It is no wonder that 115 bottles of the 2008 vintage of this wine was purchased by the Vatican following the election of Pope Francis in 2013. Rich ruby red in colour, almost opaque with aromas and tastes of dark berry pie and a little leather. Full bodied, chewy and smooth with a little sweet spice dancing around the palate; medium tannins leaving a velvety and persisting finish. A handsome and elegant wine to serve with any roasts or tenderloin.

 

The Show Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

California, U.S.A.
$17.95 (Vintages #140715) 13.9% alcohol

Deep dark ripe berries aromas combined with classic pencil shavings waft from the nose of the glass with this Cab. Sauv. An assortment of ripe fruit swirl on the tongue plus, chocolate and mocha flavours, combined with a pinch of sweet spice. It is heady and full bodied layered with flavour and lovely soft tannins. It’s a real “show-stopper” with a long cherry finish.  Would be just fabulous with any grilled meats or ribs in a heavy duty barbeque sauce. Full bodied and well concentrated; stands on its own.

 

Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Blue Label Merlot 2011

California, U.S.A.
$11.95  375 ml (Vintages #250001) 13.5% alcohol

A perfect size for an afternoon picnic!  A medium-bodied Merlot, brimming with aromas of blueberries, violets, dark currants and plums that follow through on the palate. Lovely and smooth, an easy sipper with paté or cheese for a delectable mid afternoon snack under the willow tree.

 

Rosewood Harvest Gold Mead 2011

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages# 346767)  12% alcohol

This honey wine also known as InforMead is made from the fermention of honey and water. Honey is flower nectar collected by domesticated honeybees and contains a complex mixture of sugars, enzymes, proteins, organic compounds and trace minerals. These compounds give honey its distinctive flavor and aromas. The wine is light bodied, almost colourless and not at all sweet as one might expect from a honey wine. I detected aromas of beeswax, almost like candles and white blossoms, with tastes of mild yellow baked apple or pear with a delicate aftertaste of those fruits. It could easily be paired with something very spicey, or sushi or even with strawberries for an interesting desert. It is a real conversation piece at a great price point and well worth the pick up.

Grand Total: $100.70 – ooops…I was over by 70 pennies!

 

 

Share

Not just ANY Chardonnay…

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013
Share

Move over maple syrup, there is a new kid on the block that deserves the spotlight.  Introducing Canadian made wines aged in barrels made from Canadian oak trees.  This is 100% Canadiana just like Beaver Tails, the Bluenose II….these special wines will impress you.

In fact, Canadian Oak Barrels are not brand spanking new, yet in true Canadian style we are not shouting from the roof tops about them.  Not only do the wines taste good, there is a great story how the idea was conceived- let’s just say, some beers were involved!

The story goes…

About 5 years ago (or maybe it was 7), a handful of winemakers were ‘talking shop’ at a backyard BBQ.  Conversations lead to wondering what a barrel made with native Canadian oak would do to their wines. After a lot of research, they found a cooper (barrel maker) in California who would make these one-of-a-kind barrels. Next step was to find native oak trees – luckily found in Brantford, Ontario. The wood staves were cut and shipped in hockey bags (brand new ones of course!).  Their “what if moment” & hard work paid off when several Canadian Oak barrels arrived at the wineries.

From the get go, there were fewer than 10 winemakers across Canada who barrel age some of their wines in this special oak – including Tawse Winery, Featherstone, Malivoire, Strewn, Sandhill Wines to name a couple.  Now there is a cooper in Canada making the barrels  (note the unique maple leaf stamp on the barrel head – right) and over 50 winemakers from coast to coast have experimented with Canadian oak barrels.

Derek Barnett (left), co-owner & winemaker at Lailey Vineyard is a big enthusiast of Canadian Oak.  He barrel ages some of his Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meritage wines aged in Canadian oak.  These wines have been receiving rave reviews from day 1.

We introduced our Savvy Selections wine of the month club subscribers to Lailey’s Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2011.  Here’s are our tasting notes (or read our monthly Savvy eZine):

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “This wine makes me think of buttered popcorn” suggested Eva.  Golden straw colour with aromas of wildflower honey, tropical fruit (think coconut & sweet citrus) with some nuttiness – walnut perhaps?.  Rich & round mouthfeel with flavours of lime, stone fruit & baking spice with minerality & a lengthy warm finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Given the rich aromas & flavours of this Chardonnay try the Chicken & Farfalle with Creamy Walnut Sauce recipe.

Be on the lookout!

Now that you are ‘in the know’, seek out wines aged in Canadian Oak barrels.  You will definitely find a range of Chardonnays at next weekend’s Cool Climate Chardonnay Conference (aka i4C) in Niagara.  This 3 day spread give you the opportunity to learn & taste Chardonnays from every corner of the wine world as well as be WOWED by Canadian Oak Chards.

 

 

Share