Chardonnay was on my mind last week during Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe our wine yearnings are a sort of basic instinct, but certain wines are just better suited to certain times of the year. I've been drinking almost exclusively rosé and light whites over the last four months (and I'll continue to drink them over the next eight), but for the first time in a while, I had a real craving for Chardonnay. We opened one bottle among a slew of others and it ended up being, by far, the best pairing with a plate of turkey, stuffing and a bunch of other sides covered in gravy. The average wine drinker's palate is in constant flux throughout his or her lifetime, and I believe that ebb and flow takes place over the course of the year as well.
Here are a few Chardonnays from three different Canadian regions, all worth craving:
1) Tantalus 2012 Chardonnay - The last time I tried this wine was at a tasting in New York, and after not drinking it for a couple years, I think I was just as impressed as the local writers and sommeliers. There is a spine of acidity that gives the fruit characters, spice, and minerality, a frame to hang on to. From Tantalus' sloped vineyard above Okanagan Lake and just south of Kelowna, this is truly cool climate Chardonnay. ($29.90/14.2% alcohol)
2) Rosehall Run 2012 JCR Chardonnay - 4000km from Tantalus and the Okanagan Valley, you'll find another great cool climate growing region—one that's gaining a big reputation for producing shockingly good Chardonnay: Prince Edward County. For another high acid, chalky Chardonnay with great poise, Rosehall Run's is among the best. ($29.95/13.5% alcohol)
3) Pearl Morissette 2012 Cuvée Dix-Neuvième Chardonnay - This is the bottle a friend of mine brought to Thanksgiving and it was far and away the best pairing on the table. Wine geeks and newbies alike commented on how good it was. The style is a bit richer than the two previously mentioned, with lots of baking spice, ripe apple, and lemon characters. In the grand scheme of things, it is still very much a cool-climate Chardonnay—there is a layer of minerality and the acid is present and refreshing. ($40.20/13.8% alcohol)
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.