My thoughts turn to Chardonnay

Chardonnay pressed at Harry McWatters winery
Chardonnay pressed at Harry McWatters winery

As the weather turns colder in the Okanagan valley my thoughts turn to Chardonnay. Time to leave the timid whites behind and think about a nicely oaked chard to go with the local roasted chicken. BC has many award winning Chards from producers such as Burrowing Owl, Cedar Creek, Church and State, Mission Hill, Mt. Boucherie and Quails Gate. All these producers had significant wins at the 2015 21st Chardonnay du Monde competition in Burgundy. However no BC winery came home with the gold. As Steven Spurrier, Decantermagazine’s consulting editor noted at the recent The Judgment of B.C., where B.C. Chardonnays and Syrahs were ranked against global benchmarks to see where we stand as a region. In short, the results showed BC Chardonnays trail their international brethren, while B.C. Syrahs shone. Why is this the case? France’s Burgundy region is renowned for its chardonnay and pinot noir. Unfavourable weather conditions have significantly reduced the quantity and quality of wine being produced. The vineyards risks include late spring frosts, early fall rain or hail that can come even in the hottest of the summer months. However, it may well be that these marginal weather conditions that give Burgundy it’s magical chardonnay qualities.

When you take a look at BC grapes tonnage you will see that Chardonnay is running a very close second to Pinot Gris based on the 2013 grape totals, although the acreage growth rate has not kept up with Pinot Gris or Riesling. You can see the details from the BC Wine Statistics tab on this site.

Other BC wineries with award winning Chardonnays include Meyer Family, Bench 1775, Gehringer Brothers and Painted Rock.

With all these wineries continuing to mature we can expect BC Chards to improve and challenge the best of Burgundy and New World wines.