For the last five years we’ve headed out bright and early on a (usually) sunny Friday, July morning, making our way to Niagara to celebrate the best of cool climate Chardonnay.
We’re not alone. Averaging somewhere around 2,000 people over the weekend, wine lovers in the know, know where the coolest wines are being poured. And that would be Niagara for an intensive, all-encompassing and ridiculously fun weekend totally focused on Chardonnay.
Wondering what the fuss is all about? Read on for why you should be there.
Now in it’s 6th consecutive year, the International Cool Climate Celebration runs from July 22 – 24. Tickets are selling fast, but there are some still available. Visit coolchardonnay.org to get yours.
You get to rub elbows with leading wine makers, sommeliers and leading wine media. Literally. They’re not shuffled off behind some velvet rope in the VIP area where you can only see tops of heads and get grainy shots with your ultra-zoom lens. Nope, industry insiders are right there, sipping and swirling beside you, more than happy to chat about what makes Chardonnay so darn awesome (see our pics below with some wine and industry superstars taken during past Celebrations).
It’s a refined experience, in a casual setting. I4C’ers certainly take their Chardonnay seriously, but not themselves. You’re not going to find a collection of better wines in one setting, and even if you did, you definitely wouldn’t be having as much fun as this weekend offers (sipping wines at an airport hanger? When was the last time you did that?).
Some of the world’s leading international producers will be pouring their wines including Drouhin, Tattinger, Louis Jadot, Torres, Kistler and La Creama, not to mention Ontario’s best wineries pouring their best bottles.
Still an ABCer? You’ll probably change your mind by the end of the weekend, but as extra enticement, this year, Chardonnay is making some elbow room for a few select varietals of the red grapes Ontario – and other cool climate wine growing regions – excel at: Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet Franc. Yum.
150 wineries from 37 countries including Argentina, France, Italy, New Zealand and South Africa will be there. Talk about a global tasting!
Keynote speakers are industry heavy weights and offer some excellent insights to wine making today and local wines in a global perspective. This year, Decanter contributing editor Ian D’Agata takes the honours; previous speakers have included Wine Spectator’s Matt Kramer, Decanter’s Stephen Spurrier and MW Tim Atkin from wine-searcher.com
The food is outstanding! With leading Niagara restaurants pitching in – including Backhouse, Wellington Court, the restaurant at Ravine, Trius’ winery restaurant, Redstone and Inn on the Twenty – you will be treated to the best Niagara has to offer.
Niagara is flat out beautiful. As certified Torontonians, we are true-blue city slickers. But give us the tiniest of excuses to get out of the Big Smoke and into the greener vineyards of Niagara and you don’t need to ask twice. With lush, rolling vineyards to one side and the blue Lake Ontario on the other, it’s one of the most gorgeous wine countries we’ve ever seen.
A Walk Down Chardonnay Memory Lane – Our Photo Album of Past I4C Events
Don’t Miss These Wines
More than 100 wines from around the world will be poured at this year’s event. Here are a few worth seeking out.
Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay, VQA Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada 2014 $19.95 Green apple, lemon and peachy flavours make up the fresh and bright palate that also shows subtle toasted spice notes. 88 points.
Flat Rock Cellars “The Rusty Shed” Chardonnay, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, ON, Canada 2013 $24.95 A smokey nose leads to a rich and generous palate filled with yellow apple, lemn zest, fresh peach and subtle toasty notes. 89 points.
Henry of Pelham “Speck Family Reserve” Chardonnay, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, ON, Canada 2013 $29.95 Creamy and rich but still light and focused, with flavours of fresh lemon, green apple, vanilla pudding, and ripe pineapple. Full bodied, with vibrant acidity. 90 points.
Bachelder “Bourgogne Blanc” Chardonnay, Burgundy, France 2013 $28.95 Medium bodied and silky on the palate with lovely flavours of ripe yellow apple and pineapple supported by an undercurrent of minerality. 89 points.
Domaine LaRoche “Les Vaudevey” Chablis, 1er Cru, Burgundy, France 2013 $37.95 A soft and pretty nose of sugar cookie and lemon, the palate is bright with attractive flavours of ripe pear and apple, with a vibrant acid and silky mouth feel. Very good. 90 points.
Tabali Reserva Especial Chardonnay, Limari Valley, Chile 2013 $18.95 Tangy and zesty with bright notes of green apple and lemon drop along with a touch of raw fennel and a subtle mineral streak. Fresh, lip smacking acidmakes this a nice choice for fish and chips or tempura vegetables. 88 points.
Artesa Chardonnay, Carneros, California, USA 2013 $29.95 Creamy and fresh with rich flavours of crème brûlée, lemon pudding and grilled pineapple with mild oaky notes. 88 points.
Want to taste these and more and get a chance to talk to the people that made them? Get your I4C tickets now – but hurry, they’re selling fast! Visit coolchardonnay.org to get yours.
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