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Seriously Cool Chardonnay

Every Canadian student since Confederation has been forced to write at least eight to twelve double-spaced pages on the topic of “What does it mean to be Canadian?” It shouldn’t be too surprising that these exercises have struck a psychic cord with the tiny percentage of schoolchildren lucky enough to move on to being winemakers, winery owners, and general wine marketers.

Particularly so for Southbrook Vineyards’ owner Bill Redelmeier who started the Seriously Cool Chardonnay programme.

Last year the event went to London and Jancis Robinson and friends loved some of the Canadian Chardonnay so much that this year they’re taking their show to New York City on March 8.

I had the great pleasure of attending the media preview tasting for this year’s crop and I was definitely impressed by many of the offerings.

It’s true that our harsh climate and ridiculously high alcohol taxes create a sub-optimal “pricing environment” but there is definitely a premium being charged for some of the best wines featured in the tasting. Without even considering the older library wines two of the best 2008 Chardonnays are now priced at the $35 mark.

In these two cases I don’t think the prices are unjustified but value should definitely be an important consideration for Canada’s wine industry as it matures and establishes an international profile. At hisĀ  Ontario Wine Review site Michael Pinkus had a more in-depth rant about this topic here.

Lakeview’s 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, one of the few wines I really liked from the tasting that retailed for under twenty bucks, is now entirely sold out. Decent value can be found in the excellent Chardonnays available from Rosewood (2007 Reserve), and Coyote’s Run (2007 Black Paw) that are both in the low to mid 20′s.

More in-depth coverage of the tasting–including commentary from guys who know a lot more than I do about wine–will be up on Spotlight Toronto shortly and I’ll post a link when that happens.

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