Tag Archives: Chardonnay

TNT Chardonnay 2012


BC, $22.90

The last few years have seen a welcome backlash against the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), which is good. Excluding an entire grape because you don’t like some of its expression is just plain crazy, but…I confess my heart falls a bit when I open the door to dinner guests and see a bottle ofChardonnay in their hands. It’s not that I don’t like the grape, it’s just that I often have trouble getting excited about it. As with any rules there are dozens of exceptions, but for me the greatest of all of them is my love of Chablis. I sometimes think that I love Chablis more than I love White Burgundy from the Cote de Beaune, which is sort of like saying you like Porsche Boxters more than Porsche 911s. But for me the steely, gravely expression of Chardonnay that Chablis has mastered is a revelation every time. And while lots of new world producers shoot for this style with their unoaked Chardonnays precious few get near. That’s why this bottle grabs me. It’s crafted by Sommelier Terry Threlfall (late of Hawksworth) in partnership with Okanagan Crush Pad and it’s the closest wine to a true Chablis that the Okanagan has produced in a while. It’s zippy and alive but has that underlying body and subtle creaminess that tells you you’re not drinking Sauvignon Blanc. And know it’s not named after either the AC/DC song (which would be sort of awesome) or the Swedish explosive compound—”TNT” are Terry’s initials. Only 150 cases were made—they may have it at you local wine store or you can buy it from OKC okanagancrushpad.com


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Hester Creek 2012 Chardonnay

hester-creek-chardonnay (1)Oliver BC, $25

Hester Creek has been one of the Okanagan’s best performing wineries for the last few years. Their Character Red and White blends are, at $20 and $18 respectively, easily among the regions best deals. I chronicled my affection for their heavy-hitting The Judge a few month back (link: Hester Creek The Judge 2007 ) And they make, hands down, the country’s best trebbiano. (Well, it’s the country’s only trebbiano, but still.) So if there was ever a oenological case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, it’s Hester Creek. But they didn’t have a classical Chardonnay and while that milieu has suffered in years past, it seems to be making a bit of a comeback (Foxtrot, Harry McWatter’s Time, Mission Hill’s Perpetua) these days. Hester Creek’s entry is restrained—it’s neither buttery, nor oak-y—but there’s still some richness that’s offset by a slight citrus bite. At $25 it, as usual, well-priced.

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Sparkling Wine, oui, Champagne, non

Stellars Jay Sparkling Wine


I feel like I’m generally alone amongst my peers in my general indifference to Champagne. It’s not that I don’t love it—I do—it’s just that for the $65 a bottle of Lanson Black Label set me back I’d get a red wine that I’d probably enjoy more. And don’t get met started on the $250+ for a bottle of the amazingly excellent Krug Grand Cuvee. But that doesn’t mean I skip the bubbles—I just keep it local. People often gripe about OK wine prices but a bottle of Stellar’s Jay (left) is $27—and for me Veuve Cliquot is not 3 times better, but it is 3 times pricier. Ditto the new Entourage Sparkling Chardonnay from Jackson Triggs. Its elegant lightness is evocative of Taitinger’s Comte de Champagne, but it costs $30 not $175.  And unlike really cheap bubbles that are either injected with gas or bottled under pressure (like most prosecco) these wines go through the painstaking (and expensive) method classique which is the same as the big boys. Don’t get me wrong—I do see the magic in a bottle of Bollinger RD but it’s a time (rarely) a place (hopefully someone else’s house) wine for me. These two are everyday drinkers

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