A couple of weeks ago we talked about cool climate wines and what makes them so good to drink and pair with food. This month, winemakers from around the world will visit Niagara to celebrate cool, and specifically cool Chardonnay.
The International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, or i4C, was created in 2009 by a handful of winemakers who were gathered together toasting a win for Ontario at the Cellier Wine Awards in Montreal. A Chardonnay from Ontario beat out more prestigious wines from Burgundy and California in a blind taste test – proving these winemakers’ belief that Chardonnay, one of the most widely cultivated varietals in Ontario, is deserving of a renaissance.
The first i4C was held in 2011 with 28 Ontario wineries participating. Over the past seven years, producers from across the globe have joined in, presenting some of the finest examples of cool climate Chardonnay in the world at this annual event. The weekend is casual but in-depth with many events celebrating wine, food and learning. Here are some highlights for this year:
The School of Cool – Viticulture and Winemaking Sessions, July 20, 7:30am – 5:00pm
Join some of the brightest talents in viticulture and winemaking as they discuss three topics related to Chardonnay: The Perception of Chardonnay, Chardonnay and Cheese and Raising Chardonnay.
Flights of Chardonnay (at the Niagara District Airport), July 20, 7:00 – 11:00pm
Explore Chardonnay from all corners of the globe and meet the people who made them. You will have access to some great wines and can buy food from six of Niagara’s best restaurants.
Kick the Dirt, July 21, 12:30 – 4:30pm
Discover grape growing up-close and personal with local grape growers as you visit two vineyards near the picturesque Niagara Escarpment. Meet the passionate grape growers and the winemakers and taste the Chardonnay made from the grapes grown in these vineyards.
Cool Chardonnay World Tour, July 21, 6:00 – 11:30pm
The Cool Chardonnay World Tour showcases the world’s best Chardonnays and Ontario’s best cuisine in the beautiful courtyard of Ridley College. A dream team of the region’s top winery chefs including Craig Youdale (Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College) and Ross Midgley (Ravine Vineyard Restaurant) will create a delicious family-style menu to complement the wines.
Moveable Feast Brunch at Ravine Vineyard, July 22, 11:00 – 2:00pm
This perennial favourite brings local artisan producers together with the culinary team at Ravine to cook a classic brunch menu highlighted by regional flavours that pair perfectly with cool climate Chardonnay.
While you are in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there are also Chardonnay lunches on July 21 at Trius and Peller and Chardonnay tasting events at Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs and Strewn. Of course you can design your own Chardonnay tasting experience by visiting more wineries in the area while you are there! Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to try cool climate Chardonnay from our own backyard and around the world. More information at: http://www.coolchardonnay.org/
Anjana Viswanatha [Sommelier CAPS, CMS] is the founder and principal of Wednesday Night Wine (www.wednesdaynightwine.ca), a wine instructor at George Brown College and is the Marketing Manager for Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake (www.winieriesofniagaraonthelake.com, @niagarawine on Twitter and Instagram, @wineriesofniagaraonthelake on Facebook). Get in touch with Anjana: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram @wednesdaynightwine.