Posts Tagged "Chardonnay"

Nicolas-Jay: Hitting the High Note

Nicolas-Jay: Hitting the High Note

Posted on Jun 1, 2022

Every wine enthusiast can tell you what their ‘a-ha’ wine is…the one that forever changed them from drinking wine, to tasting wine.

Willamette valley wine oregon

The wines we tasted virtually with Jean-Nicolas & Jay.

Once you’ve been bitten by the wine bug and delve down the rabbit hole of seemingly endless varieties, styles and regions; it’s that much more impressive when a wine can still force you to stop whatever else it is you’re doing and take notice. Our first sip of Nicolas-Jay in 2020 did just that, and we knew that we had to get the story behind it.

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The Rise of Oregon Chardonnay

The Rise of Oregon Chardonnay

Posted on Jul 14, 2021

Willamette Valley oregon wine

Some of the beautiful organic vines at Youngberg Hill.

It happened quickly. Oregon has for several decades now been known as a producer of some excellent Pinot Noir. Its cooler climate was capable of producing Pinot Noir that, at its best, could be subtly nuanced, refined and elegant. Comparisons with Burgundy would come up in conversations among the wine cognoscenti and then in the wine press. Pinot Noir had put Oregon firmly on the wine map. In fact, Pinot’s dominance made people associate Oregon with Pinot Noir, to the point where “Oregon equals Pinot Noir” is a common mindset in the same way people think Napa equals Cabernet Sauvignon. No wonder people think that, as the Willamette Valley Wineries Association has on their website landing page, in bold all caps type: “WE ARE PINOT NOIR”.

Of course, neither of those notions is really true, it is just a common perception. In Oregon that perception is starting to change, and wine drinkers are starting to take notice of some of the delicious Chardonnay being produced in Oregon.

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Santa Barbara Wine Country

Jim Clendenen, Allison & Bob Lindquist.

Earlier this week, the news that Au Bon Climat Winemaker Jim Clendenen had passed away sent shockwaves throughout the wine industry. His name is synonymous with wine from Santa Barbara county, but his legacy reaches well beyond the state of California. We had the good fortune of meeting him in late February of 2020—our last AdVINEture outside of Canada before COVID-19 closed the Canada/USA border. We had made several trips to Santa Barbara wine country prior to then but due to his extensive travel overseas, our schedules never managed to sync. Just over a year ago the stars aligned, and our patience was rewarded with a most memorable afternoon as guests of one of his infamous long table lunches. A lunch that happens daily at the winery for staff, with Jim at the kitchen helm when he was in town. We described him at the time as “Plain-speaking, intelligent, witty, iconoclastic and maybe a bit irreverent too, but unmistakably charming.” We hope you’ll enjoy revisiting our time with him this week as we honour a true pioneer:

Jim Clendenen

Jim Clendenen with winery dog Emmy.

As the tributes pour in from around the world, the stories of his generosity, humour, mentorship and talent, remind us that we got to see firsthand what an unpretentious legend really looks like.

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This month the #Winophiles are taking a look at French varieties made into wines around the world. While we could think of many examples from various regions we have visited, we want to shine a spotlight on our own backyard where the Okanagan Valley is making some truly world-class Chardonnay. (To read the other articles related to this month’s topic, please refer to the links at the end).

Okanagan Valley BC

The beautiful vineyards at BC’s Blasted Church Winery.

Chardonnay has an association with Burgundy that is an unbreakable bond. That is simply because so many of the world’s most profound Chardonnay wines come from that region. The great wines of Puligny Montrachet, Chassagne Montrachet, Meursault and Chablis, among other Burgundy sub-regions, make the reference-point wines from the Chardonnay grape. But Chardonnay is a chameleon-like grape that has been successfully planted all over the world and shown its ability to adapt to new terroirs with the potential to make great wine outside of Burgundy as well as within. One of those regions that is rapidly gaining notice is the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada.

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Okanagan BC wine

The 100 point Little Pawn Chardonnay.

Just a few years into its relatively short life, CheckMate Artisanal Winery in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley was the first Canadian winery to earn perfect 100-point scores in back to back vintages for one of its Chardonnays. How do they meet the immense expectations from critics and wine consumers as a result? Like any good chess player, it starts with a plan to ensure your always thinking a few steps ahead.

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