The Cellar Salon Series—Those County Chards, Part I

If you’ve spent five minutes with me you know how I feel about County Chard. Because we like to show our terroir rather than inhibit it, particularly when the grape reflects our land so spectacularly, the Chard here tastes like this place. And we love this place so very dearly, every vintage is one whole year of perfect memories, a magical blend of tears and joy. We don’t have to hide behind oak, our winemakers aren’t intervention-mad. I love tasting the season that was rainy from day one to the last or the year we didn’t get any rain at all until Fall. Our Chardonnay shows all of that in it’s wonderfully composed, perfectly minerally glory and I highly, highly recommend it.

Astrid on Chard

“Chardonnay is a polarizing topic—you either love it or you don’t. I tend to think that, for people who say ‘anything but chardonnay,’ they just haven’t been tasting the right ones. This lineup shows the many, diverse personalities of Chardonnay, from very simple to highly complex and everything in-between. I believe there is something here for everyone. That said, there were so many others that didn’t make it into this lineup that we’ll have to revisit this theme again soon!”

Most Memorable Wine

There was some division in the ranks on today’s most memorable and it was a close call between three of the local Chards, but ultimately the most memorable in the back-to-back was Lighthall Vineyards‘ ’17. Well-deserved, this is one of my favourite wineries, Winemaker/Owner Glenn Symons is a master, conjuring a consistently magnificent lineup of wine and some of the best cheese you can imagine. On the ‘Elsewhere’ side, Pike Road was easily the favourite.

County Chard, Part I: Wine Re-Cap (October 22)

Merrill House, Hillier 2016

Crisp and fresh with bright apple, pear, and honeydew melon underscoring a tart, citrusy minerality.

Sugarbush “Unoaked” Hillier 2018

Fresh and clean with bright citrus and hints of coconut on the nose; the generous palate gives up tangerine and churned butter.

Keint-he “Portage” Hillier 2014

Notes of lemon curd and zest on the nose with mineral aspects of flint rock and wet gravel over white flowers and a hint of spice. Opulent texture on the mid-palate finishing with layers of stone fruit, lemon curd, and subtle spicy notes.

Morandin Wines “Sangreal Estate Vineyard” Hillier 2017

A gold-medal winner at this year’s Wine Align Awards, the nose gives up fresh and poached pear, white peach, and sweet citrus notes; the mid-weight palate has a creamy texture with hints of toasted nuts and spice over a languid finish.

Rosehall Run “JCR” Hillier 2016

Fresh citrus, baking spice, and almond paste on the nose giving way to tangy lemon, green apple and toasted vanilla on the palate. Finishes with a mineral flourish and just the slightest hint of roasted chestnuts.

Lighthall Vineyards, South Bay 2016

Buttered toast on the nose gives way to butterscotch, lemon curd, tangerine, and creamed coffee notes. Big, bold, and ripe with hints of hazelnuts and nut butter underscored by fresh lemon citrus that sings through the lengthy finish.

Elsewhere

Pike Road, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2017

Fresh and youthful, showing lime citrus and crisp apple and pear on the nose, orchard fruit flavours and melon on the palate, framed by mouthwatering acidity and nicely balanced by subtle oak and vanilla notes.

Chablis, Domaine Grosset “Traditionnel” France 2017

Juicy apple fruit up front with racy minerality that lights up the softly textured palate. Medium-bodied with a youthful freshness and excellent balance of acidity and fruit on the finish.

Failla, Haynes Vineyard, Napa Valley, California 2015

Ripe orchard fruit, chamomile, and dried wildflowers on the nose over a superbly balanced, highly textured mid-palate. Brown butter, dry-roasted nuts, toast, and baked apple on the mid, lingering long and luxe on the finish.

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