BC Chardonnays shine at 2016 Decanter WWA

What a difference a year makes

Steve Spurrier at Judgment of BC
Steve Spurrier at Judgment of BC

Last fall Steven Spurrier, Decanter magazine’s consulting editor, along with local wine professionals and media, blind-tasted and ranked BC Chardonnays and Syrahs against global benchmarks to see where British Columbia stands as a wine producing region. In short, the results showed our local Chardonnays trail their international brethren, while BC Syrahs shone, nabbing not only the top spot in the judges’ collective ranking but a few more positions near it, too.

To quote Sid Cross “The Chardonnay in BC is not showing enough distinct terroir as others from around the world but Syrahs are making a statement, ranking first, fourth and fifth in tough company.  It shows the Syrah is world class among its peers.”

Decanter 2016 World Wine Awards

images (1)Well, welcome to DWWA2016.  Chardonnay BC wines won twice the weighted medal count compared to BC Syrah,  with  Chardonnay’s from Cedar Creek, Quails’ Gate and Tinhorn Creek all winning gold medals.  The best the Syrah’s could do was a silver for Church & State Wines.  All the medal winners are shown below:


Gold Medal Tasting Notes



Cedar Creek Platinum Block 5 Chardonnay  2014 95/100 Expansive and fruit-driven yet mineral and refreshing, this flaunts a buttery nose beautifully embellished by notes of lemon, pear, apple peel and a snippet of white asparagus. In the mouth, it showcases a lively, off-dry, intense personality with lengthy shades of tropical fruit, toasty oak and green apple.



sfrchardonnay quail


Quails’ Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay 2013  95/100 This wine warrants attention, unveiling a complex patchwork of characters: toasty oak, ginger, ripe apple and stone fruit, nuts and butter, with these players making a comeback on the palate. It’s dry, medium-bodied and creamy-textured, and finishes with a long well-integrated vanilla oak flourish; excellent Chardonnay.




Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014 95/100 Very well made and Chablis-esque with a crisp green apple nose augmented by nutty, mineral, light oak notes. To taste, it’s dry, crisp yet fruit-driven with nectarine and lemon-infused fruit framed by a soupçon of toasty oak, finishing with a graceful smidgen of minerality.


So why the year to year change in relative fortunes of the dynamic BC wine duo?

  • Nothing to see here, just a normal year to year variation versus the competition.
  • Weaker global competition in the Chardonnay category!
  •  Maybe the Chardonnay winemakers are learning from international competition such as Chardonnay du Monde® 2016
  • This was just a year of surprises.  For example, a best in show award for red single varietal under $20 was won by a La Moneda Reserva Malbec from Chile. It is available in UK supermarkets for just $6.

If you have any thoughts on the Decanter results please leave them in the comment section below.

Source: Decanter World Wine Awards 2016