Winemaker Thomas Bachelder, formerly of Niagara Chardonnay and Pinot Noir specialists Le Clos Jordanne, has boldly stepped out on his own with a unique experiment in winemaking. He has created three separate Chardonnays, using the same techniques, in three different regions. It's perhaps the simplest way for wine lovers to learn about that thing we call "terroir."
He rented cellar space in Oregon, Burgundy and Niagara and made the wines using the same approach in each place: organically grown grapes wherever possible, wild yeasts, older barrels for aging (16 months in each case). And now the wines are here.
The Oregon Chardonnay 2009, Bourgogne Chardonnay 2009 and Niagara Chardonnay 2009 were released on Saturday February 18th and are each priced at $35.
Reviews have been universally positive, with most critics recommending you purchase all three to conduct your own terroir tasting. Here's Rick Van Sickle: "the typicity of the three regions shines through the wines. All are fine examples of where they come from but also represent what can happen in the hands of an accomplished winemaker such as Bachelder. Overall, the wines are defined by their fruit, not the oak, with a mineral edge that shows more in Burgundy than in the New World regions." It would also be worth buying some of these wines to cellar, since the regional differences will develop even more as the wine ages.
You can use the handy LCBO Search to check availability near you for the Oregon Chardonnay 2009, Bourgogne Chardonnay 2009 and Niagara Chardonnay 2009. Conduct your own tasting and come back and make a comment. We'd love to hear what you think!
Special Event - Ottawa: On February 26th, join Thomas Bachelder as he presents the wines at Play Food & Wine. Each will be paired with a course specially prepared by the chef. Tickets are $95. More information.
Special Event - Toronto: On March 7th the Gladstone Hotel is hosting an intimate dinner event where the three wines will be paired with a special four-course menu. The dinner is hosted by Thomas Bachelder and his wife Mary Delaney, who will discuss the basis of the Trois Terroirs Project in more detail. Tickets are $85. Contact the Gladstone at (416) 531-4635, x7130 to reserve your place.