When it comes to readily available white table wine from Niagara, Riesling and Chardonnay rule the roost. I have a challenging time with Ontario Rieslings for a multitude of reasons but not so with Chardonnay. Cave Spring was kind enough to send me a bottle of their 2019 Estate Chardonnay for review just before a wintery blast socked Toronto and Niagara in the face.
The wine is from Beamsville Bench and I was just in their Beamsville tasting room a couple of weeks ago in 25-degree (Celsius) temperature with fall ending blazing gold everywhere. Now that wonderful image and equally wonderful Cave Spring Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir tried at the tasting room are but a very good memory.
So what about the Cave Spring Estate 2019 Chardonnay that just missed travelling in a nasty snowstorm?
Moderately gold in colour. On the nose pineapple, mango, South African tangerine, marzipan and peach with moderate oak notes. On the palate Greaves apricot jam, Sweet Israeli grapefruit, Niagara pear Galette, butterscotch and guava with a peppery finish. Beautifully integrated acids so important to sippable white wines. The oak influence in the wine is moderately high
Yes I could mention chicken in a tarragon cream sauce or a vongole pasta as a food pairing but you may find this matching well with Oka, Camembert and Canadian aged cheddar. As Christmas is creeping up if you are having turkey (with minimal cranberry sauce) this might be your choice. The winery suggests crispy shrimp, crab stuffed ravioli, grilled tempeh with roasted cauliflower, pan seared halibut and roast capon and I will not debate that. While the wine is sippable due to the oak influence after a glass it seems to call for food. Isn’t that what wine was invented for?
$19.95 is more than a fair price for the wine. And given the jack up at The LCBO for California wine $19.95 may just be compelling.
Ontario residents or those close to an LCBO in Quebec and Manitoba this Chardonnay is now just available in your Vintages section or you may order directly from the winery. European and American readers there may be a distributor in your country than can make this available to you. Check their website at https://cavespring.ca/
The wine is from the Cave Spring Vineyard on the Niagara Escarpment known as the Beamsville Bench. Limestone and clay soil. Chardonnay does particularly well in limestone soils. The average age of the vines is 31 years. 70% of the juice fermented in French oak and 30% in stainless steel with 10% of the oak new. Drink until 2030.
(Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Cave Spring Vineyard, Jordan, Ontario, $19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 25652, 13.5%, RKS Wine Rating 92/100).