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There are two big events that I mark on the Calendar for every year in wine country. Cuvée takes place in the winter, you can see my thoughts from 2015 by clicking the link. The Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration takes place in the summer. This event is important because it allows Canadian producers to showcase their wines on the world stage. The event on my calendar is the World Tour Grand Tasting and Dinner. It’s fun to taste some very serious wine in such a relaxed atmosphere.
The Grand Tasting and Dinner was hosted at Ridley College. We were lucky enough to have perfect weather for sipping Chardonnay with Summer finally deciding to grace Ontario with its presence. The walk around tasting is set up very well with the winemakers literally shoulder to shoulder. Being set up like this means that if there is a wine you’re dying to try and there is a line up chances are to the immediate left or right there is another wine without a line. Everyone pours and moves on quickly so you do get a chance to sample quite a few of the wines being poured. The food is served family style so you will have the opportunity to meet some new fellow wine lovers in the open air.
The high points from the tasting were tasting Taittinger Comptes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005 ($205.95) and then immediately having the opportunity to taste Chardonnay Musqué 2013 from Chateau des Charmes ($16.95). I don’t often find wines over the $100 mark let alone the $200 mark that I think are worth spending the money. The Taittinger was almost perfect crisp, clean and refined — the perfect way to take the edge off the heat. With the taste of the Taittinger still in my mouth I had winemaker Amelie Boury pour me the Musqué. It was dry, floral, crisp and clean — also, the perfect way to take the edge off the heat.
I also want to make mention of www.yourdd.ca a service that drives your car home with you at the end of the night. This is something we badly need in Toronto. Getting around wine country is something that just isn’t feasible using a taxi coming in from the city and for the cost of a taxi to the venue and back I was able to get myself and my car home.
There were honestly too many wines that I loved to be able to list them all. There were fantastic bottles from Lailey, 13th Street, Hidden Bench, Chateau des Charmes, Norman Hardie, Pearl Morissette, Stratus just to name a few of the local wines. Outside of Ontario Vasse Felix (Australia), Champagne Taittinger (France), Hamilton Russell Vineyards (South Africa) and Domaine Jean Bourdy (France) were the standouts for me.
This event was also a great opportunity to taste six of the wines made by Thomas Bachelder from Oregon, Niagara and Burgundy. All six wines made by the same man, two from each wine region … each one very different. The 2012 Bachelder Bourgogne is drinking fantastic right now — flavours of apple, peach and baking spice with a nice lingering finish.
Until next year!