I was always interested in wine - it's something I wanted to know more about, but felt incredibly intimidated by. Then one day I decided to step into the conversation on Twitter and I asked Brian Schmidt (@benchwineguy) some questions about VQA events. He not only answered my questions, he offered up dozens of suggestions for fantastic wine contacts across Canada. Brian made me realize that wine is not a closed club and that there was plenty of room for me at the party.
Since then, I've been trying to convince Shawn that we needed to visit Vineland Estates, where Brian is the winemaker, so I could actually try his wines and not just talk about them. We've finally been able to coordinate our schedules to get out there in September, but then I found a bottle of Vineland Estates 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay at the LCBO. I was a bit torn - I am not always a huge fan of chardonnay, especially if it's very dry. Was it a good idea to pick up a bottle and risk not liking it? Or should I wait and do a proper tasting at the winery so that I knew I'd find something I like from a winemaker who has already been such a positive influence? I figured, I'd give it a shot and see what happened - worst case I'd just never mention it again.
Luckily, I can add this to the slowly growing list of chardonnays that I really, really like. This is smooth and crisp, it has a hint of apple, a bit of citrus and, best of all for me, it's not too dry. I paired it with my husband's chicken tacos (a non-traditional pairing, I know) and it worked very well. This is something I could happily sip on a patio in the summer or on a cozy winter evening.
I'm looking very forward to our visit to Vineland Estates in the fall - I'm hoping to pick up more chardonnay and excited to discover even more wines to enjoy. I'm planning a full post on our visit and, who knows, maybe I'll finally get to meet Brian too.
For a great review of a Vineland Estates tasting and an overview of their wines, you should check out this fantastic post from Shawn McCormick at Uncork Ontario. Shawn is another great resource for wine lovers in this province and I found his reviews of Vineland's offerings extremely helpful.