Ontario’s Burgundian Ambition

A selection of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Canada’s cool eastern province.

At a tasting in London’s Canada House in May… I focused on the offerings from Ontario, a mere 2,000 miles to the east… and decided to taste the Burgundian varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir…

Ontario has been known as a good-quality source of these varieties for some time, led by particular producers who have gained an international reputation. Several of those were present at the tasting, and they continue to fly the flag for the region. Thomas Bachelder and Norman Hardie are two of them…

…the quality was overall very high – and certainly more consistent than burgundy usually offers – at prices that are indisputably better value.

Norman Hardie, Unfiltered Chardonnay 2016 Niagara Peninsula


Creamy, mealy, savoury style with a dried-grass sort of flavour as well as baked apple and cinnamon spice. Lots of chew and texture to the palate.

Norman Hardie, County Unfiltered Chardonnay 2016 Prince Edward County


Expressive saline, marine aromas on the nose, plus subtly toasted spices and ripe green apples. So well realised on the palate, with tons of flavour in a featherweight structure. Has all the hallmarks of top Chardonnay: lees flavour, balanced oak, appetisingly savoury fruit and that delectable mineral finish.

Norman Hardie, Cuvée des Amis Unfiltered 2015 Prince Edward County


Aged 10 months in oak, then another 12 in a horizontal tank to maximise lees contact.

Super-reductive nose – pungent sulphurous aromas. Bacon, toast, fresh apple and a whole box of matches. This is stylised and modernist and almost absurdist even, such is the intensity of flavours – but for people who like that style, this is one of the ultimates.

Norman Hardie Pinot Noir 2016 Niagara Peninsula


Cherries, cranberries and a stick or two of rhubarb – very much the just-ripe spectrum of flavour, plus a smoky element as well as delicate violet perfume. Fine, delicate structure with an appetising snap to the acid.

Norman Hardie, County Pinot Noir 2016 Prince Edward County


Fine-grained tannins, bright acidity, fuller and more concentrated than their Niagara Pinot Noir. Sweet spices on the finish. Still a closed book.

Richard Hemming MW & Julia Harding MW

www.jancisrobinson.com  5 Jul 2019