Tawse, Estate Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, 2011

Ripe citrus and pineapple aromas – quite exotic with an attractive florality. Good attack, with concentrated fruit and high acidity, showing real intensity and pungency. Discreet, fresh and very persistent. An extremely classy wine. Financier Moray Tawse founded his eponymous wine estate in 2005. It is located in the Vineland distict of the Niagara wine region. At first he worked closely with the French-Canadian winemaker Pascal Marchand, who had established a firm reputation for full-bodied Burgundies at Domaine de la Vougeraie in Nuits-St-Georges. After leaving Vougeraie in 2006, Marchand pursued a career as a consultant and roving winemaker and from 2011 he and Tawse joined forces to create a negociant house in Burgundy, Marchand Tawse. As Tawse had also acquired the 5ha Domaine Maume in 2012, Marchand was able to draw on those and other Tawse-owned sites for the Marchand Tawse wines. With Marchand’s growing involvement in Burgundian ventures, he ceased to consult for the Niagara winery. For many years Tawse’s chief winemaker has been former carpenter, Paul Pender. Some 30,000 cases are produced each year. The property is a large one, with 80ha planted and the vineyards farmed organically and biodynamically. All grapes are handpicked and processed in a gravity-operated winery. Pender makes a number of single-vineyard Chardonnays as well as this Estate bottling. Here, grapes from vineyards in the 20 Mile Bench sub-region are whole-bunch pressed and fermented in barriques with minimal intervention. Malolactic fermentation is not induced, but if a wine feels like losing some malic acidity, that’s fine with Pender. No new oak is used and after 12 months in barrels without lees-stirring, the wine spends a further six months on fine lees in tanks before being bottled. The cellars are covered with earth, so as to maintain a constant temperature and humidity level (about 85%), providing ideal ageing conditions for wines in barrel. Only 6,500 bottles were filled.
Estate Chardonnay
Niagara Peninsula