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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Some New Wines from Chateau des Charmes...November 2022

1.Chateau des Charmes Rose Sparkling Traditional Method 2017 VQA NOTL winery and online $34.95: [I last sampled the 2016 vintage at same price] here half chardonnay and half pinot noir (blanc des noirs) from vines planted as early as 1991, very pretty colour from the pinot dosage, reminiscent of strawberry blush, 2 years lees contact and then re-fermented in the bottle. Full, rich, ripe yeasty biscuit complexity. Citric finish, best with food such as appetizers. Strawb fruit dominates. Recently disgorged. 10 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Stunning. 250 cases available. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Chateau des Charmes Brut Sparkling Methode Traditionelle NV Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA, +224766, $25.95: this Brut is a mix of about half each of chardonnay and pinot noir from vines planted as early as 1991 (and from at least four vineyards), exhibiting apple and orchard tones with citrus and toast. Some creamy texture. All wine mostly from the same vintage, and "Recently Hand Disgorged" after a year on lees, 12% ABV. Base wine for bubblies from both grapes is the same: just the skin contact varies. 9g/L residual sugar. 2877 cases. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Chateau des Charmes Riesling "Old Vines" 2016 Estate Bottled VQA Niagara-On-The-Lake, $18.95: made from vines largely planted in 1978, so it is now a very mature vineyard. 12.5% ABV. Succulent, but off-dry Alsatian character (citric tones, spices), with now almost six years of aging. A beaut with spicy or higher acidic foods – lush and plush. Lots of orchard fruit character and some minerality. Best with Asiatic food. Twist top. 8.1 gm/L. 928 cases. Quality/price rating 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Chateau des Charmes Gewurztraminer 2021 St.David's Bench VQA, $21.95 winery and online: from older vines (26 years) in the St. David's Bench vineyards, done up in stainless steel. Alsatian in style, with concentrated fruit, off-dry on the mid-palate, spicy with a tad of bitter on the finish, great with Asiatic foods or any spicy foods. Or wonderful as a sipper/aperitif by the deck/patio/pool/terrace/balcony. Cork finish, and it should improve over the next five years. 4.6 gm/L residual sugar. 13.1% ABV. 318 cases produced. Quality/price rating 91 points by Dean Tudor.

5.Chateau des Charmes Pinot Noir 2017 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard, VQA St.David's Bench,
$44.95 at winery and online: Quite a powerful wine from the 60-acre vineyard, lots of stylish Burgundian forest floor (mushrooms, earth) to complement the red berry fruit. It was last produced in 2016. Currently, this vintage is 16 months in new French oak barrels. Still needs some time, maybe two more years. 13.5% ABV. It will also show better with food such as Asian salmon preps or veal or lamb. Cork closure. Residual sugar is 1.3g/L. 13.5% ABV. 1234 cases produced. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

6.Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir "Droit" 2020 St. David's Bench Vineyard, VQA St. David's Bench, $21.95 [winery and online]: medium-full-bodied, suggestive of Beaujolais grand cru wines such as Morgon or Moulin a Vent in the Droit's capacity for aging. Dark cherry-berry flavours dominate, but there is added spicing and even some nuances of earthiness and eucalyptus, although the wine is unoaked. "Gamey gamay" is probably the phrase! Cork finish. Good with BBQ, cheese, or something substantial, but some tannic structure is present to carry through a whole meal. Chateau des Charmes is the only winery in the world using this particular gamay clone. 1g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Earlier vintages were gold medal winners in Canada. 492 cases produced. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada

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