i4C+ Cool Climate Chardonnay – Flights of Chardonnay
July 2018 marks the 5th year anniversary of The Wine Boys. What better way to shake things up but doing in a piece on Chardonnay! If you’ve been following The Wine Boys blogs for the past 5 years you would notice a trend that we seemed to be ABC. (Anything But Chardonnay)
So when we received an invitation to attend Flights of Chardonnay, the kick-off celebration of the i4C weekend, we jumped at the opportunity. This is one event we have never participated in, mainly, in past due to Chardonnay never being OUR grape of choice.
The one thing about wine tasting is to always keep an open mind. So many people instantly comment I don’t like something and when you ask why they really can’t explain a proper answer. The Wine Boys attending this event was like us entering a whole new world, taking our own advice and having an open mind on everything Chardonnay.
This sold out event took place at the Niagara District Airport located in Niagara on the Lake. It was a beautiful Friday evening; with an ever so slight breeze that swept by the airport hangar that housed the event. What an amazing venue to hold an event, watching planes take off and land, and then watching the sunset over the runway. Upon entering the event we stole a few moments to catch up with Carolyn Hurst and Grant Westcott of Westcott Vineyards. This was a symbolic start to this event since Grant’s daughter Victoria Westcott was the first to ever get us to try and BUY a Chardonnay wine. Then we hooked up for a few tastings with the amazing ‘Super Wine Girl’ herself, Angela Aiello founder of iYellow Wine Club, her energy and passion are amazing and it’s always a pleasure to spend some time with her.
Spent a fair amount of time with fellow blogger and new friend, Stephanie Piche of Flying For Flavour, who is a huge Chardonnay lover and her friend, April. Together, we tasted some amazing vintages from around the globe including Ontario, learned a lot from Stephanie, she is a wealth of information as she has traveled extensively tasting and enjoying many food and wine events worldwide. Many laughs exchanged and we also did a couple commentary clips for Stephanie’s upcoming podcasts. We think she made it her weekend goal to make us Chardonnay Believers – she succeeded.
Adamo Estate Winery from Hockley Valley was offering their 2017 Sogno Unoaked Chardonnay, and to our surprise, we didn’t even think we were enjoying Chardonnay. With the unoak aging, this wine was so fruit forward and crisp, we could definitely see ourselves enjoying a few bottles of these on a patio. As always, with most events, The Wine Boys enjoy starting the tasting off with a sparkling wine. Some forget that when you’re enjoying that sparkling “Brut” that, Brut is actually made from Chardonnay grapes.
The sparkling that took us by surprise was from Benjamin Bridge of Nova Scotia, Canada. We have never tasted their wines and this evening they were pouring their 2012 Blanc de Blancs. This wine was outstanding, it’s not available at the LCBO, you have to contact an agent to purchase this delicious sparkling – but well worth that one extra step to purchase and enjoy.
We’ve both enjoyed some unoaked Chardonnay in the past, but tonight we thought, bring on some of the oaked chardonnay’s next! One favourite was from Cantina Bolzano, Alto Adige, Italy. This “2017 Kleinstein” Chardonnay was not only fermented in stainless steel but also French barrels. With notes of passion fruit, pineapple, and vanilla, this was one the nights’ favourites.
Nautilus Estate of Marlborough, New Zealand was pouring their 2016 Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay which is barrel aged and rich & full-bodied with those aromas of vanilla and buttery creamy finish.
Of course, while you’re sampling all these different wines, you start to crave some food, so we headed over to our friends, Jacqueline and Stephen of Zooma Caters for a treat. We enjoyed their “Get Loaded Meatballs” and how could we say no to their delicious S’mores! What a treat that was. Zooma Caters has amazing food and we fully suggest if you’re ever looking for a caterer to contact them.
A past favourite from Cuvee 2017 was Domaine Queylus, so we were thrilled to enjoy some of their Chardonnay Reserve du Domaine 2016 which in our opinion is summer in a bottle, rich and complex.
One of the top for us was Francois Martenot, Burgundy, France. It is possible that we had dragged everyone and anyone we spoke to for a sampling of their Chartron & Trebuchet Pouilly Fuisse 2016 until they said they had none left. This wine was everything we could ask for in a wine. It has an amazing citrus aroma, it’s fresh and delicious, and would love to enjoy a bottle with some milder-tasting cheese sitting on a dock.
If we could suggest one thing to people that are shy with Chardonnay or any other varietal, take it from The Wine Boys – and the next time you are out in any wine region… ask your server to ‘blind taste’ your samplings. This way you have no preconceived idea of what you taste. It wasn’t until we started to do this, that we started to appreciate different varietals that if we were told, we would have said no to the tasting. Keeping an open mind does wonders. Don’t judge a grape (book) by its name (cover). There are so many different styles of Chardonnay out there that the saying does ring true, ‘there really is a wine out there for everyone’.
We would like to thank the Wine Country Ontario and i4C+(International Cool Climate Chardonnay Association) for inviting us to celebrate this amazing event and in capturing two more Chardonnay fans. Kudos to all volunteers, sponsors and every person that helped make this event a complete success, you have us waiting for next year, already! Cheers to you all!
In addition, it is always lovely to see so many winery and wine influencer friends out at these events. Unfortunately, when you’re at these events, you are being pulled in so many directions that you don’t get the chance to say hello to everyone, but just know, we did see you there and hope to touch base at the next wine event.
Til next time, have a great day and great wine!