Wine Guy: Grape days

The Wine Guy celebrates International Chardonnay Day

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In case it wasn’t already in your calendar, May 27 happens to be International Chardonnay Day. So if you’re looking for an excuse to crack open a bottle of this noble grape, it has arrived.

I will admit that not as much Chardonnay passes through my wine glass these days. It’s not a purposeful snub, more just a reality of the continued grape diversity on offer from around the wine world. When was the last time you sipped a glass of Chardonnay? So there you go, the occasion also serves as an excuse to get reacquainted with this historic cultivar.

T.N.T. Chardonnay, California ($14.99 on sale until June 5, #46709)

For me personally, I’ll always have a soft spot for California Chardonnay. From the borderline buttery to sinewy cooler-climate bottles, Cali Chard was one of the first types of wine I explored while really getting into this potable so long ago. Trekking through Napa and Sonoma — as well as points south in Santa Barbara and even Temecula — Chardonnay felt omnipresent in the Golden State. This non-vintage T.N.T. hails from Lodi, located in California’s Central Valley south of Sacramento. In fact it’s from the oldest operating winery in Lodi — established in 1934 — and brings a nice mix of apple and lemon fruit in a smooth, somewhat rich yet easygoing style.

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Bottom line: B, Dad bod wine

Louis Latour 2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay, France ($26.99, #55533)

While great examples of Chardonnay can be found from around the wine world, it doesn’t seem right to not alight on Burgundy, the French wine region considered by many to showcase the pinnacle of Chardonnay. Of course the crème de la crème Grand Cru bottles fetch some awesome price points, but for a starting point check out Latour’s appellation-level Chard. Pouring a bright light golden, it brings aromas of lemon, mineral, and toast in an overall leaner style that finishes fresh and balanced. Serve with of-the-moment, butter sautéed spot prawns and you have a simple, elegant but decadent meal.

Bottom line: B+, Accessibly elegant

Nautilus 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand ($26.98, available at private wine stores)

Finally, a mea culpa to Sauvignon Blanc. No, it is not Chardonnay. However, I happened to miss that May 7 was International Sauvignon Blanc Day. Alas, we have one bottle of Savvy B to redress the mishap — and it is a worthwhile representative. Not as expressively overt as most Sauv Blanc, Nautilus brings engaging citrus, mineral, and tropical fruit notes with a robust stance and a fulsome finish. This is a Sauvignon Blanc focused on texture and layers of flavour, with balance and fresh finesse. It pairs very well with the grill, both as something to sip while the chef cooks and something to serve alongside grilled pork or chicken.

Bottom line: A-, Multidimensional Savvy B

The Swirl: California Wine Release

Speaking of California Wines, on Saturday B.C. Liquor Stores is set to release a selection of limited release California wines. There’s a broad selection: from iconic Napa Valley bottles to Rhône-influenced reds and whites from Paso Robles, not to mention Pinot Noirs sourced all along the coast. Wines will be available at select B.C. Liquor Store locations, for complete details head to bcliquorstores.com.

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