2011 Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay

In advance of our 10 wines for the holidays article, I thought I’d cover a few must drink wines. Tawse still remains the one Chardonnay producer from Niagara that I compare the rest of their competitors to. The oldest of the single vineyard chards to come out of this top-tier vineyard, yearly this is their benchmark wine. As a flagship wine it carries a higher price ($45.95) if you think solely locally, however this wine is relatively cheap compared to its Burgundy and Napa peers. To get into this quality you are likely to shell out 20 to 100% more money buying its global counterparts, something that still remains lost on many Canadian buyers. I can think of at least ten producers in Canada that can bring their top Chardonnays and compete with the best, yet I often still hear people complain about the price for those same Canadian wines. I am not sure when, if ever, this mindset will change, but the large U.S.A. wine publications are doing our producers no favours either by basically ignoring them entirely. If you want to truly impress your wine snob friends, this is one of the wines I recommend bringing to them. I live that moto as the last time I met Bill Phelps (of Joseph Phelps Vineyards and Insignia fame) I brought him one of the 2009 vintages of this wine as a gift. Enough of my soap-box chatter, let us get on to the wine itself. This wine spends the first 12 months of its life in French oak before being transferred to steel for 6 more months. Despite the pictures on Tawse website, this wine is in fact sealed with a traditional cork and not a twist top, maybe a fact that would only concern me. On to the tasting!

This light straw yellow coloured wine splashed into the glass with hints of citrus fruit and vanilla. The nose gives way to lime on the front and caramel on the back, a long way back in the mouth. Acidity is much like the rest of this wine, solid. The wine goes back to front evenly, the fruit is consistent and oaking has given this excellent toasty notes. Add in some good minerality and you have a very well-rounded and polished wine. One of the nicest things I get out of this is how exciting this wine should evolve with some cellaring. Despite being a big complete wine now, it should mellow to change just enough to add different character and maybe even unleash something more complex. This wine is one of the reasons Niagara is getting more and more recognition at international competitions. Between this and the recent Hidden Bench Felseck Chardonnay, I have been fortunate to have two brilliant wines to enjoy. Hopefully you get a chance as well.

The CWG Subjective Rating is 92 out of 100.



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The Wine Guy, He's Canadian, they call him CanadianWineGuy
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