Eight white wines that pass the ‘cool’ test

“…a three-day festival that’s become the Niagara peninsula’s biggest and best party.”

By Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail, July 10, 2017

As a devotee of Chablis, which I would nominate as my desert-island wine if desert islands had fridges, I am impulsively drawn to any chardonnay that bills itself as “cool.” Chablis, the northernmost district of Burgundy, is the quintessence of cool-climate chardonnay, known for producing the most compellingly crisp, lean, electrically charged interpretations of the world’s most popular white grape.

That’s what coolness does. It preserves acidity and mineral-like verve while permitting grapes to mature slowly, with not just sugar but also full physiological ripeness, delivering subtly complex flavours along the way. On the chardonnay flavour spectrum, Chablis – which generally sees little or no new-barrel contact – is the opposite of the plump oak-bomb style more typical of warm climates and uninteresting restaurant wine lists. Think of a crunchy green apple versus a grilled slice of pineapple topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

But there is a rising tide of chardonnay out there laughably posing as cool. I’ve noticed a spike in the rhetoric even since last year, when I last wrote about the stylistic dichotomy on the occasion of the annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, a three-day festival that’s become the Niagara peninsula’s biggest and best party.

Read more, including reviews of Domaine Laroche, Stratus Vineyards, Sperling Vineyards, Vasse Felix, Trail Estates, Invivo, Mer Soleil and Rodney Strong.