Just a few years back I was not a fan of Chardonnay. I had a rather low opinion of Chardonnay made in Canada or for that matter in the USA. There were far better wines made in Canada. Today I am a big fan.
In 2012 I walked into Tinhorn Creek Winery and was greeted by a young woman standing behind a tasting table. She asked If I would like to try their new Chardonnay. Leary but willing I accepted the offer was delightfully surprised this was good. In fact it was very good. Each years since the Chardonnay produced at Tinhorn have got better and better. Other wineries of the Okanagan have step up and mastered the art of making world class Chardonnay.
Just last year when we visited Painted Rock we were blown away by one amazing Chardonnay I gave their 2014 Chardonnay a 98. Making it my top wine selection of 2015. This spring I invited over to our home six red wine drinkers ( who also tend to buy Old world wines) and served Painted Rocks 2014 Chardonnay. They were impressed , so impressed they wanted me to open a second bottle sadly I did not have it.
One gentleman who you will always wish to discuss wines with is John Schreiner a very respected writer. Here is what is says about the following BC Chardonnays.
Maverick Chardonnay 2014 . The only complaint with this wine is that not enough was made! It begins with refreshing aromas of citrus and lightly toasted oak. The tropical fruit flavours are intense: peach, mango, blood orange coat the palate, very subtly supported by oak. (The wine was fermented in new French oak -Nevers – and aged there six months before being transferred to stainless steel for four months). The hint of oak adds a note of spice on the buttery finish. 92.
Fitzpatrick Big Leap Chardonnay 2014 . This elegant wine is fermented in French oak barrels (seven percent new). The wine begins with aromas of citrus and peach. On the palate, there are flavours of tangerine and apple with a very slight hint of oak. While the wine has good weight, the bright acidity gives it an appealing clarity and freshness. 93.
Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Chardonnay 2014 Golden Mile Bench . This is the winery's first reserve Chardonnay. This was fermented with indigenous yeast in new French oak barrels. Subsequently, half was aged in oak, half in stainless steel barrels. The wine begins with aromas of lightly toasted oak mingled with buttery citrus. The weight on the palate is generous, with flavours of lemon, orange zest and biscotti. The balance between fruit and oak is close to perfect: the fruit is flattered by the oak, not covered by it. The finish is dry, with a lingering rich flavour of marmalade. 93.
John also recommend a Chardonnay from a winery that is not even open yet Little Engine. The reserve Chardonnay. It is priced at $50 a bottle but is very very good!
One I have enjoyed very much is 2013 Dilemma from Culmina Estate Winery.
Other recommendations we recieved were for:
Mission Hill Perpetua
Also mention was DiBello Chardonnay 70% of this Chardonnay comes from the Duncan Vineyard on the Naramata Bench and 30% from the MeyerStone Vineyard in Osoyoos.
Monster Vineyards, 2014 Skinny Dip Chardonnay received a Double Gold for Unoaked at the All Canadian Awards 2015. The Hatch, BC 2013 Screaming Frenzy Chardonnay received a Double Gold in the under $20.00 category.
Daydreamer Wines, BC 2013 Marcus Ansems Chardonnay a Double Gold Winner
Sandhill Chardonnay 2014 Gold at Pacfic Rim
We also heard from Ontario.
2013 Exultet Estates Chardonnay “The Blessed” won the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Award
Palintine Hills 2012 Chardonnay,Long Dog Winery 2012 Chardonnay and the CCV from Closson Chase all highly recommended.
On Twitter Ravine, Leaning Ost and Organized Crime were mentioned as favourites. Writer Shawn Mcormick recommended Kacaba 2013 Unoaked
Sue Couch from the Ontario Wine Society a true Chardonnay fan likes Norm Hardie Chardonnay, Westcott, and Fielding Estate. Fred Couch who writes articles for Wines of Canada. said " all Ontario Chardonnays are good".
Now if your talking Icewine Best chardonnay du Monde® 2016 Kalala Chardonnay Icewine - Okanagan Valley BC VQA 2013
Writer Bill Zacharkiw wrote that Chardonnay is doing well in Quebec. Bill mentions Les Pervenches owned by Michael Marler and Véronique Hupin and Charles-Henri de Coussergues, owner of L’Orpailleur,
In Nova Scotia Blomidon Estate Chardonnay recieved praise as did Lightfoot & Wolfville.
* Little Engine The winery owned by Steve and Nicole French opens in 2016. Their motto is Dreams don’t come true, dreams are made true and so began the journey. Why Little Engine…. because each and everyone one of us has a Little Engine Story; relating to the fable the Little Engine That Could.