The 21st Century’s Best New World Chardonnays Are From Ontario by Elin McCoy

Published in the November 29, 2016 Washington Post.

(Bloomberg) -- The Kingston, Ontario, town crier, in fur-trimmed tricorn hat and bright red coat, rang a brass bell and shouted “Hear ye, hear ye” as the lead-in to my most surprising tasting this year: “The Judgement of Kingston.”

The blind competition, held Nov. 6, pitted such top California chardonnays as Chateau Montelena against those from Prince Edward County, a little-known, newly exciting wine region on the north shore of Lake Ontario.

I was the lone American on the judging panel, but like the Canadian judges, I ranked Ontario chardonnays as No. 1 and No. 2, ahead of the oakier Napa examples. They were brilliant: light and crisp, with spiky acidity, succulent layers of lemon-lime and stony flavors, and a flinty elegance missing from the California wines.

The two winners, Rosehall Run JCR Vineyard (No. 1) and Closson Chase South Clos (No. 2) reminded me of premiers crus white Burgundies—at a much cheaper price.

Sipping and spitting under the steady gaze of historic portraits in Kingston’s grand City Hall added some gravitas to the results, but really, I shouldn’t have been that surprised.

Continue reading the story at the Washington Post

Return to Judgement of Kingston