i4C – International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration

 

i4C

The ‘International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration’ (i4c) is a festival honoring Chardonnay – the premise is to bring down winemakers from cool climate regions that grow Chardonnay, world’s most planted white varietal, and to revere it while engage in friendly competition displaying their wines. The idea behind i4C came to twelve winemakers when they sat around a bonfire in the summer of 2009 and pondered how Ontario Chardonnay that has reached world-class quality, should be celebrated. The concept materialized the following year in otherwise nearly-wine-festival-devoid July and has since become a yearly occurrence.
.
2013_i4c-international_cool_climate_chardonnay_img_0665
.
Jump to: Top | ’8 Chefs, 8 Grills’ Picture Gallery Videos |
‘Grand Tasting & Dinner’ Picture Gallery Videos | Wine Reviews | Comments

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

I was fortunate to join the i4C festivities for the first time and attended two of the main events, where I tasted and reviewed number of the showcased Chardonnays and collected material to document it. Though one of my wine friends foretold that by the end of the weekend I will not want to see another glass of Chardonnay, I enjoyed them thoroughly and can’t say that my palate became saturated or overwhelmed. Below is the recollection of the two attended events.
.
Wicked clouds unsuccessfully attempting to dampen i4C. 2013_i4c-international_cool_climate_chardonnay_img_0599
.

 

‘8 Chefs, 8 Grills’

‘8 Chefs, 8 Grills’ was Friday’s main event that took place at the beautiful Trius Winery at Hillebrand. The passageway, between the winery’s two buildings leading up to the back courtyard, was lined with barrels – each serving as a table, on which a bottle of chilled Chardonnay was presented by its creator. The courtyard was lined with 8 large tables for the 8 chefs and couple dozens of small, black-cloth stands for people to stand around while eating and savoring their Chardonnays.

 

Passageway at Trius Winery at Hillebrand. 2013_i4c-international_cool_climate_chardonnay_img_0542

 

The afternoon was hot, humid and without a cloud – conditions that soon changed as doomsday clouds rolled in and forced the i4C staff to move everything indoors into the reception room. Buckets upon buckets of rain poured down and as quickly as the weather system came, it went away leaving behind ominous clouds through which the sun shined. The staff moved the tables back outside, some underneath coverings, some open to the elements; food started to roll out and patrons again filled the courtyard not-knowing whether to talk about food, wine or the weather. The sunset was magnificent (for lack of better descriptor) and dinner proceeded more or less without any additional precipitation; though shortly after, the sky unleashed its wrath on Niagara Peninsula and did so for the night’s remainder.

 

.
~~~~~~~~
.
Marc St. Jacques ~ Auberge du Pommier Restaurant in Toronto
Bruschetta 3 ways: lobster salad, lovage, sea urchin & Chili aioli
Chicken offal ragout, melted spring onions, summer truffle, foie gras vinaigrette
or
raw summer vegetable salad with goat’s milk ricotta.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Victor Barry ~ Splendido Restaurant in Toronto
Smoked PEI Rocky Poin oyster
Yukon Gold Potato.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Stephen Treadwell ~ Treadwell Cuisine Restaurant in Niagara on the Lake
BBQ lake trout with Chardonnay poached tomato & peach salsa verde.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Ross Midgley ~ JK Windows in Niagara Falls
Spatchcock Cornish hen with grilled local peach, corn and fleur des monts polenta
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Chris Smythe Escabeche ~ Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara on the Lake
Diver scallop & Nagano pork belly lollipop,
apple cider-Chardonnay molasses,
brown butter kettle corn.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Jason Dobbie ~ Zees Restaurant in Niagara on the Lake
Chardonnay infused chili & fennel sausage,
local honey & Chardonnay mustard served on a fresh-baked bun with Chardonnay-infused sauerkraut.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Andrew McLeod ~ Spencer’s on the Water Restaurant in Burlington
Barrel smoked Lake Huron Pickerel,
charred corn,
Luis Suares chorizo.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Frank Dodd ~ Trius at Hillebrand Restaurant in Niagara on the Lake
Chardonnay brined tamworth pulled pork bun,
hand cut sea salt fries,
fennel and goose berry slaw.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Click image to view CHEFS + FOOD & navigate using arrow keys.

.
~~~~~~~~
.

 

THIS IS A COMPLETE GALLERY OF ‘8 CHEFS, 8 GRILLS’ EVENT
Click to evoke & navigate using arrows.

 

These videos document the atmosphere (literally) during the main event’s processions and how the staff successfully ensured that the weather doesn’t dampen guest’s ability to enjoy themselves. If desired, the videos can be viewed in high-definition (1080p).
.
Jump to: Top | ’8 Chefs, 8 Grills’ Picture Gallery Videos |
‘Grand Tasting & Dinner’ Picture Gallery Videos | Wine Reviews | Comments

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

‘Cool Chardonnay World Tour Grand Tasting & Dinner’

Undoubtedly the biggest of the events, spanning Saturday afternoon and evening, was held at the Vineland Research & Innovation Centre that was perfectly suitable to welcome the multitude of guests. It began with the Grand Tasting that commenced in the park just adjacent to the Centre only separated by a creek, where 6 large tents housed all of the participating wineries and all + more wines – this was undoubtedly the place to sample the range of wines and get a good handle on how the different regions compare and how Ontario shines.

 

Vineland Research & Innovation Centre’s Garden.
2013_i4c-international_cool_climate_chardonnay_img_0682

 

Just prior to dinner, patrons moved towards the centre where they received a glass of sparking wine and if heart desired, could sample some oysters, while a crowd was purposefully formed so that Harald Thiel (proprietor of Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery and i4C chair) could address all of the attendees, explain the significance this event has for the Ontario wine industry and thanked everyone for coming to this event and for continuous support. Before anyone (almost anyone) was able to finish their sparking, guests were allowed to enter under the stars dinning area and collect their food from any (or all) of the 4 food stations. Throughout the evening winemakers walked from table to table and poured their products to anyone wanting more. An aside stage filled the venue with live music and unlike the day before, sky remained mainly clear with only a few clouds adding to a spectacular sunset.

 

2013_i4c-international_cool_climate_chardonnay_img_0744

 

The food for the evening was prepared buy guest chef Vikram Vij together with Chef Bruce Worden and the team at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Smooth & Salty St. Thomas Trout
Cured trout tartar and poached trout rillettes
served with
fennel slaw, lemon caper curd, Delmonico potato salad, dill shortbread and olive oil.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Crisp DuBreton Pork Belly & Smoked Atlantic Lobster
Crisp pork belly with anise and pepper,
smoked lobster “Andouile” sausage with vanilla and orange and thyme scented savoy cabbage on cornbread.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Vikram Vij’s Butter Chicken with Cumin Studded Basmati Rice
Braised spiced chicken in creamy gravy with Kasoori Methi and cumin scented rice.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Arancini with Manchego “Mornay”
Quinoa and corn crusted canaroli rice on smoked pepper coulis with a green herb salad of honey, apricots and almonds.
.
~~~~~~~~
.
Click image to view THE FOOD STATIONS & THE FOOD & navigate using arrow keys.

.
~~~~~~~~
.

 

.
THIS IS A COMPLETE GALLERY AT VINELAND RESEARCH & INNOVATION CENTRE
Click to evoke & navigate using arrow keys.

 

 

These two videos document the atmosphere during afternoon’s ‘Grand Tasting’ and evening’s dinner. If desired, the videos can be viewed in high-definition (1080p).
.
Jump to: Top | ’8 Chefs, 8 Grills’ Picture Gallery Videos |
‘Grand Tasting & Dinner’ Picture Gallery Videos | Wine Reviews | Comments

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Wine Reviews

The 2010 Château Genot Boulanger Clos Du Cromin Meursault has intense aromas of lees and light citrus. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with forward, crisp acidity and a slightly oaky finish of medium length. It is food friendly or can be sipped by itself; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $40.25 Vintages 330043
The 2008 Cave Spring Csv Estate Bottled Chardonnay has lightly oxidized notes upon opening that quickly dissipate and intense aromas of quince, pear, light honey, vanilla and oak. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine, with good acidity and a long, vanilla based finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2017. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $29.95 Vintages 529941
The 2011 Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay has intense aromas of pear, yellow apple, butter, light vanilla and oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with forward acidity, slightly tannic and a long oaky/vanilla finish. This is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now- 2020. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts.
RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $44.95 Vintages 345819
The 2011 Bachelder Saunders Vineyard Chardonnay has appealing aromas of quince, light citrus and light honey. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with good acidity and a medium to long finish. It is food friendly; drink now -2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $44.95 Vintages 324103
The 2009 Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay, aged in French Oak for 8 months, has intense aromas of coffee, caramel, hawthorn, green and yellow apple. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with clean, crisp acidity, and a long, roasted coffee filled finish. Enjoy this one by itself; drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended based on both quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $23.95
The 2011 Angels Gate Mountainview Chardonnay, aged in French Oak for 8 months, has intense aromas of honey, linden, light oak and vanilla. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with forward acidity, soft tannins and a medium to long finish. It is quite food friendly, yet can be enjoyed on its own; drink now-2018. My impression: quite NICE, 89-90 pts – recommended wine.
RECOMMENDED Score 89-90 pts. $15.25 Vintages 116384
The 2011 Maison Roche De Bellène Rully Chassagne Montrachet has appealing aromas of wet stone minerality and light quince. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruit forward wine, with checked acidity and a medium finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts.
The 2010 Nautilus Chardonnay, barrel fermented and aged for 11 months, has pleasing aromas of green apple, light oak, light butter and light minerality. It is a light bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with refreshing acidity and a long finish. It is a food friendly wine; drink now – 2018. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended based on quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $24.95 Vintages 657569
The 2011 Nautilus Chardonnay, barrel fermented and aged for 11 months, has intense aromas of ground coffee, pear and quince. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; it is balanced with crisp acidity, soft tannins and a long, vanilla/oak finish. Sip this wine; drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended based on quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $24.95 Vintages 657569
The 2012 Coyote’s Run Red Paw Vineyard Chardonnay that was aged in Hungarian oak for 6 months, has pleasing aromas of pear and light roasted coffee. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with good acidity and a medium, wooded finish. It is quite food friendly; drink now-2016 (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $21.95 Vintages 336115
The 2012 Coyote’s Run Estate Unoaked Chardonnay, has intense aromas of green quince and green apple. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with forward acidity and a medium finish. Enjoy with food; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE, 87 pts.
Score 87 pts. $14.95 Vintages /26740
The 2011 Marimar Estate Acero Chardonnay has appealing notes of gooseberry. It is a unoaked, light bodied wine, with good acidity and a medium, clean finish. Drink with food; drink now-2016. My impression: NOTHING SPECIAL, 87 pts.
Score 87 pts. $25.95
The 2011 Road 13 Vineyards Chardonnay has intense aromas of lifted ester/wood, vanilla and pear. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with checked acidity, soft tannins and a long, vanilla and oak dominated finish. Enjoy with food, drink now – 2018+. Though overoaked, my impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $30.00
The 2011 Vineland Estates Unoaked Chardonnay has captivating notes of citrus, green and yellow apple and faint tropical notes. It is a light to medium bodied, dry, fruity wine, with refreshing acidity and a medium, smooth finish. Drink with food or enjoy by itself; drink now- 2016. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 pts – recommended both on quality and value.
Score 89-90 pts. $12.95 Vintages 669374
The 2010 Hillebrand Showcase Chardonnay Oliveira Vineyard – Wild Ferment that was aged in French oak, has intense aromas of gooseberry, wood notes and light vanilla. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with soft tannins, on the acidic side and a long finish. Drink with food; drink now- 2020. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts.

 

2013_i4c-international_cool_climate_chardonnay_img_0716

 

Jump to: Top | ’8 Chefs, 8 Grills’ Picture Gallery Videos |
‘Grand Tasting & Dinner’ Picture Gallery Videos | Wine Reviews | Comments

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Concluding thoughts

I’ve attended many wine events, but for me, i4C is the most magical one – it is so perhaps due to its casualness, as it happens outdoor right in the middle of summer, or the type of patrons that like to attend it. My suggestion to those wine enthusiasts who have not yet attended it, is to make time and attend at least one of the main events – you will never look back.
Cheers Dan.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

My gratitude goes to all the organizers of i4C, namely Dorian Anderson for the media pass and Britnie Bazylewski for taking excellent care of me both evenings.
.
I also want to give a shout out to people from WineAlign for keeping me company and welcoming me. Thank you and hope to see you this year again.
.
i4c banner

 

 

For other EVENTS in the wine country or in Toronto, please link here.

 

Jump to: Top | ’8 Chefs, 8 Grills’ Picture Gallery Videos |
‘Grand Tasting & Dinner’ Picture Gallery Videos | Wine Reviews | Comments

 

 

Here, enter comments you wish to be seen only on this page