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Ontario Terroir

Terroir is a term often associated with wines from France or Italy. It's an elusive and mysterious word, but what it really refers to is "land." Everything from soil type, nutrient content, climate, and aspect can fall under this label of terroir. Old World winemakers are deeply beholden to the land they grow on, and what this concept of terroir can do for their wines.

Terroir isn't often mentioned when discussing Ontario wines, but this week's sip is changing the conversation. This week's sip is the 2020 Claystone Terrace Chardonnay from Le Clos Jordanne in Niagara, Ontario.

Winemaker Thomas Bachelder has taken Burgundian winemaking techniques and produced an expression of wine that reflects Niagara terroir. He focuses on minimal intervention, and letting the land and the grapes speak for themselves.

This wine is a beautiful expression of cold climate chardonnay. It demonstrates a great depth of fruit and a mineral, flinty finish. There's a touch of oak on this wine, but think Burgundian chardonnay versus Californian. Or rather, think Niagara chardonnay.

The mineral component of this wine is its defining characteristic, and that's due to the limestone and clay laced soils where the grapes grow.

If Chardonnay is your white wine of choice, give this Niagara gem a try. If you want to have some fun, give your dinner guests a blind tasting, and see if anyone can guess the wine's origin.

The wine world is often dominated by Old World wines, and when the conversation turns to New World wines, California shines. But Le Clos Jordanne has put Canadian wines on the map, demonstrating what Niagara soil is capable of.

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