Every time I open a bottle of wine that is new to me it is an opportunity to learn and experience that leads to a better appreciation of the wine. Two years ago I was an ABC but after learning to enjoy a Chardonnay I have become a CE or CA if you like. What is that? CE = Chardonnay Enthusiast which comes after you accomplish CA = Chardonnay Appreciator.
I think my problem, and perhaps for others too, the memory of an over oaked, cloying California Chardonnay. It took a chance encounter with a French Chardonnay, which of course is a Chablis, but the wine list at a quaint French restaurant in Kerrisdale (sadly long gone) called their French house white Chardonnay. Why was this wine so good? This can’t be Chardonnay?
The Chardonnay grape is widely planted in British Columbia and in order to be a true B.C. Wine Enthusiast you really need to explore this grape. Just like I don’t love every Riesling I try, I don’t always like every Chardonnay I’ve found. Wine pairing of course makes a huge difference. Also, at least for me, was understanding the variances depending on the temperature of the wine. I must admit it has taken me awhile to stop over chilling my wines, not just the Chardonnay but others, like Riesling.
The Pinot Noir comes a little easier for me. Just like the Chardonnay I have particular tastes when it comes to Pinot Noir. I prefer a Pinot that is less tart and more fully developed with a definite richness.
Reds are something I drink less often than a white. For me reds need a pairing much more so than a white wine. So when I inevitably sit down for my afternoon pleasure it would likely be a light white wine. I save my red wine moments to pair with a meal or charcuterie boards laden with salami and gooey cheese.
This is one of the things to remember about the enjoyment of wine – drink what you like, the way you like it. If you prefer your wine sweet then don’t apologize. If you prefer your wine icy cold then don’t apologize. The point of drinking wine is to enjoy it, thoroughly.
COOLSHANAGH Chardonnay 2016
As determined by Parra, each block of Chardonnay grapes is hand-picked at a different time, with the first picking taking place in mid-September and the last in early October 2016. Each section was treated differently to optimally express each unique vineyard location. For 11 months, a percentage of deeper, clay soil sections were whole cluster pressed into new oak puncheons to ferment, with the remainder being fermented in a concrete egg.
The wine underwent minimal handling and had lees stirring and bottling without fining or filtration. The idea was to create three separate parts that were uniquely represented in the whole wine. Alone, the parts showed the different sections and together the entire vineyard and all its nuances are brought into balance. This elegant wine exhibits aromas of straw, green apple and lychee, with a rich and layered texture. All flavours and textures are as nature intended. Dumayne says that this wine will reward aging.
The first scents of this delicious Chard said it all. This is a Chardonnay for true lovers of the grape. It is full bodied and bold, and dare I say “buttery”. Yet at the same time this wine is also delicate enough for those still exploring the nuances of a fine Chardonnay. Fruity with just the right touch of acidity.
$36.90 suggested retail
93 points “One of the premier Chardonnay producers in the Okanagan” John Schreiner.
We thank those who have embraced Coolshanagh to date.
It's a BC wine for this Friday's staff pick: Coolshanagh Chardonnay. The meaning of Coolshanagh is very fitting for the holidays. Find out in the video.⠀#peopleplaceandtime
Posted by Trialto Wine Group on Friday, 13 December 2019
Currently Coolshanagh produces a small batch Chardonnay, sourced exclusively from estate fruit. A Pinot Noir is also produced in limited quantities that are pre-allocated each year. The total projected volume of the winery when mature will be approximately 1200 cases of Chardonnay and 300 cases of Pinot Noir. Very few people will have the opportunity to experience Coolshanagh wine.
Wines that echo those in Burgundy were the initial inspiration for flavour and style; and winemaker Matt Dumayne notes that while the French style is a good reference point, the ultimate Coolshanagh wine style that emerges is one that specifically expresses and reflects the terroir of the valley and of the diverse soil of Coolshanagh Vineyard.
Coolshanagh’s practice is to maintain a fairly low yield so the grapes will achieve maximum flavour potential on their own. Non-interventionist winemaking is key. The grapes are fermented whole cluster in neutral French oak to impart subtle nuances and the balance went into egg-shaped concrete fermenters. The two are blended together and placed in concrete egg-shaped vessels and left on the lees to impart structure and balance in the resultant final wine. The winery team has made the policy to leave the wine in bottle for 10 months minimum, as this wine improves with time in the bottle, allowing the complexity to develop.
Tasting notes and bottle shots courtesy of the winery. Tasting notes in italics are mine. I received a complimentary bottle of each of the wines in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.