Origin: Canada, Ontario, VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA
Bottle size: 750
Rose Hill Chardonnay, what could be said about this wine? It's an under-toned, subtle creatures with little in the line of panache and almost no flamboyance. It's not to say that this wine is without character, but it's as outstanding as pasta; sauceless, spiceless, cheeseless, pasta (on a white plate, served in a white room, clad in white drapes and inhabited by an albino guy who was tragically born without a personality... and whose name is Ross.)
So I'm not really doing this wine justice, maybe I'm just a little biased. I am a fan of reds that tackle you soon as the cork is pulled. I believe a good Riesling should grab your tongue and perforate it vigourously with pins and needles... and I trust a Chardonnay to hit me with a buttered branch from an ancient oak! It would seem that times have changed a lot since the days of a Char that could stand up to the rest of the whites and brag about it's times on the inside. All those months stuck behind slabs of oak; casked away to return one day, thicker and with more character... unlike this wine which presents itself with all the character of a bottle of Evian...
Todays Chardonnays sport labels of "UnOaked", "Clean", and my personal favorite: "Inox" (This is short for Inoxidable which is French for "Stainless"...might as well call it Chardonnay flavourless, part from that hint of Pinot Gris but less flavourful. It's not to say that these Inox Chars don't hold a place in the world of wine, but they don't exactly stand out much. I'm going to attempt to be unbiased and treat this wine with respect and admiration. Let's start with the nose:
Smell of dried lemon peel and wet limestone come through initially. The smell is entirely a local smell, and if you've ever taken a hike through the trails of the Niagara Escarpment on a rainy summer day you know the smell I'm thinking of. This wine envelops itself in its terroire. Picking up the scent of it's surrounding and its calcium rich soils in the Markham region. The scent is a distinct Chardonnay aroma and easily classifiable as a benchmark for what a basic Char should smell like. If I were teaching someone what a Chardonnay was, I would start here.
The taste is equally subtle with little to brag about. Flavors of citrus fruit and a hint of ale make this a subtle wine deserving of a place on a dinner table clad in bland fish and white rice. This wine would make a nice addition to a meal, but it wouldn't bring much, literally, to the table. I would almost suggest serving this wine as an aperitif, to entice someone's salivation (and to encourage their mind to expect flavour and anticipate something else.
Overall the wine is acidic and cleansing, not that the pallet really needs to recover from much. The wines finish is pleasant with an almost hop-like after taste. With the body being sweet enough to feel, but not enough to call it sweet, this wine is medium bodied with a pleasing mouth-feel. This wine was first tasted at 8 deg. C. but was subsequently sipped at 12, 14 and eventually room temperature. We desperately tried to get this wine to speak out and have some character, but it just got more and more sour.
Verdict: The wine is pale, in colour, in feel, in taste and in comparison to many other Ontario whites. This wine does not have the character of an oaked Chardonnay, nor does it have the presence of a sharp Riesling. To call it a boring wine gives it too much of our attention. I would only recommend this wine to a very entry level wine drinker who isn't ready for any intensity. I wish I had better things to say about this VQA, but there it is. Ordinary in every way possible. For the 10 bucks the bottle sets you back, you won't feel ripped off, but you'll be left wondering what the other bottles on the shelf would have been like... This is really a "Private Edition" they should have kept for themselves
Cheers to every wine having its place, even if you have to tantalize your taste buds separately.