A week­end-long bash to cel­e­brate Chardon­nay

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - LIFE - CHRIS WA­TERS

Sixty-three wine­mak­ers from 10 coun­tries are set to par­tic­i­pate in next week’s In­ter­na­tional Cool Cli­mate Chardon­nay Cel­e­bra­tion in Ni­a­gara. The an­nual event brings top wine­mak­ers and wine lovers to­gether to honour the world’s most pop­u­lar white grape along­side caber­net francs, gamays and pinot noirs through­out the week­end.

In­spired by the In­ter­na­tional Pinot Noir Cel­e­bra­tion in Ore­gon each year, a group of Ni­a­gara wine­mak­ers dreamed up a chardon­nay-soaked week­end that would be a re­fresh­ing mix ed­u­ca­tional and en­ter­tain­ing events. The goal was to sell more wine, to be sure. But also make bet­ter wine.

Get a num­ber of wine­mak­ers to­gether and there’s bound to be shoptalk. Shar­ing knowl­edge about grape grow­ing and wine­mak­ing prac­tices in­evitably pro­motes deeper un­der­stand­ing of which fac­tors best con­trib­ute to top qual­ity chardon­nays.

When the in­au­gu­ral cel­e­bra­tion was be­ing planned, pre­mium chardon­nay pro­duc­ers shared con­cerns over the so-called ABC con­sumer who was in­ter­ested in Any­thing But Chardon­nay. It was be­lieved that the pop­u­lar­ity of mass mar­ket chardon­nays (wines from warm grow­ing re­gions in Aus­tralia, Cal­i­for­nia and else­where) had cre­ated a back­lash against overly oaked and but­tery tast­ing white wines.

Cool cli­mate chardon­nays bring other char­ac­ter­is­tics to the ta­ble. Fresh­ness and fo­cus, bal­ance and in­ten­sity — qual­ity wine­mak­ing hall­marks wor­thy of be­ing cham­pi­oned. So the first flag-wav­ing cel­e­bra­tion was staged in 2010 and has been held on the third week­end in July ever since.

Eight years on, there has been a stream of pro­duc­ers (190 winer­ies to date) from dif­fer­ent wine re­gions around the world pour­ing and pre­sent­ing their wines to crowds of con­nois­seurs and col­lec­tors as well as ca­sual con­sumers who at­tend the pub­lic tast­ings.

A num­ber of in­flu­en­tial writ­ers and wine me­dia have also at­tended the event and re­turned home to broad­cast their in­sights about the qual­ity wines com­ing out of Canada. This year’s fea­tured guest is New York­based au­thor and writer Jon Bonné, who is slated to speak at this year’s School of Cool mas­ter­class tast­ing.

“Chardon­nay is one of the most pop­u­lar and fa­mous va­ri­eties around the globe, and I think it’s cru­cial to un­der­stand its state of the art. So, I’m ex­cited to come and dis­cuss one of my favourite grapes, and to learn more about the ex­cep­tional work be­ing done in On­tario to pro­duce some world-class ex­am­ples,” said Bonné, who is se­nior con­tribut­ing ed­i­tor of Punch­drink.com.

More in­for­ma­tion about the cel­e­bra­tion is avail­able at coolchardon­nay.org

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