Last year I was very excited to see The Wine Society list their first couple of wines from Canada: a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay (both 2011 vintage) from the Norman Hardie Winery in Prince Edward Country, Ontario. Alongside the appeal of coming from a territory that’s new to me, I liked the idea that Norman Hardie adopts a minimal-intervention approach to winemaking, i.e. the winery uses indigenous yeasts, avoids the addition of sulphur and the wines remain unfiltered and unfined before bottling.
I was delighted to see a few of my favourite wine writers and bloggers recommending these wines: for example, here’s a link to Jamie Goode’s review of both the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (published on his blog).
Keen to try at least one of the wines, last October I bought a bottle of the Pinot with the intention of keeping it a few months. And then a twitter conversation with Fiona Beckett (another trusted wine writer) prompted me to splash out on a bottle of the Chardonnay, too, so I could gain the full Norman Hardie experience.
Last weekend I decided to open the Norman Hardie Chardonnay, and I’m very happy to say it did not disappoint; quite the opposite in fact, as it’s a stunning wine, reminiscent of a classy Burgundian in terms of style and finesse. Aromas of fresh lemon on the nose with a yeasty/bready note, too. It’s such a well-balanced and rounded wine with plenty of vibrant, lemony acidity, peachy fruit and a lovely creamy note. And this combination makes it a perfect partner for chicken, perhaps a chicken casserole or chicken and leek pie.
The Norman Hardie is a very sleek and refined Chardonnay indeed. As a splash-out treat, it’s right up there with another of my personal favourites, the Kooyong Clonale from Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia.
Wine stockist: I bought the Norman Hardie Unfiltered Chardonnay, 2011 from The Wine Society. Price: £20.