2017 Bachelder Wismer-Wingfield Ouest Chardonnay
The Twenty Mile Bench Wismer-Wingfield Chardonnay is from Thomas Bachelder’s latest ripening sourced vineyard parcel, furthest from Lake Ontario, at the highest elevation, from the western part of the block. “I know what to do with this wine. Just get out of the way of it,” Bachelder says. “You can practically taste the crunchy rocks between your teeth,” he says, adding: “Old world, that’s what it tastes like to me.” No other wine in the Bachelder portfolio defines his style more than this Chardonnay. If this is not the most interesting Chardonnay made in every vintage in all of Ontario, it is certainly close. When Niagara finally decides to create a “cru” system of defining the best sites for certain varieties, Wismer-Wingfield, now sourced by some of the finest Chardonnay vintners in the region, will get an automatic pass to the elite list. No question about it. This is all about elegance, finesse and defining the undefinable — minerality, and is consistent vintage to vintage because Bachelder makes the necessary tweaks to be true to the vineyard’s potential. It is one of those Chardonnays that you can pick out of a lineup of 100 Chardonnays from anywhere in the world, it’s that singular in style and that particular to Niagara and the Twenty Mile Bench. The nose is dreamy with white flowers, pear, stony/flinty minerality, lemon sharpness, bin apple and underlying elegant spice notes that all build in intensity as you swirl it in the glass. And then as you move to the palate, oh, my, such a clean and fresh entry that builds and builds in complexity with pear, apple and lemony vibrancy, adding crushed rocks, flint, spice and nougat that all leads to an enthralling and elegant finish that lasts for minutes. This will gain some fat and depth as it ages gracefully for 5+ years but is irresistible right now. Can’t see this lasting in the online retail store.
Rick VanSickle, winesinniagara.com, May 20, 2020
2017 Leaning Post Wismer-Foxcroft Chardonnay
Winemaker Ilya Senchuk has been making a Wismer sourced Chardonnay from the Twenty Mile Bench since 2012, but it is the cooler years, like this 2017 version, that he prefers to make and drink. “There’s weight and power, but it’s really about the length,” he says. The grapes were hand picked, hand sorted, and whole cluster pressed. Once the wild fermentations were completed, the wine remained in French oak barrique (40% new, 20% 1-year-old, 40% 3+ year-old) without stirring of the lees for 14 months. Such a lovely perfumed nose of ripe pear, apple, quince, lemon accents, toasted almonds, spice and that vein of chalky minerality that rages through the Wismer vineyard. Beautiful mouth feel on the palate with pear, pineapple, citrus, creamy/spicy notes, saline/chalky minerality and all perfectly finessed through a long, racy finish. Can age 5+ years. Gorgeous.
Rick VanSickle, winesinniagara.com, April 22, 2020