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Dam Chardonnay 2020

My Caribbean, Ethiopian, Indian, and Thai cuisine lovers, you need to check this out.

If you talk to most winemakers and grape growers in Ontario, they will tell you that 2020 was a phenomenal year. Well, phenomenal for grape growing. Everything else in our world went to hell in a handbasket!

The 2020 season was warmer and dryer than usual, avoiding that cat and mouse chase with mother nature that happens around harvest time. Is it going to rain? When will it rain? How much hang time will we get? Will there be enough time for the

phenolics to level? In 2020, none of these items were an issue or looming question. The weather was right, with no extremities. So, like many Ontario wine lovers, I sat patiently until these wines were released, and we've started to see them hit shelves this year. So far, I have enjoyed what I've had, but nothing has made me want to take to deep dive pairing experiments, and blog posting like the 80x Wines, Dam Chardonnay.

About the 80x Wines, Dam Chardonnay

80x Wines is a virtual winery. They purchase their grapes from prominent vineyards in the Niagara Peninsula and make their wines in a shared facility. In the case of 80x, the wines are vinified at the Rockway Vineyards facility.

Tasting the Dam Chardonnay was so impactful that I don't know quite where to start. First, I will say that the grapes came from the famed Wilms Vineyard, of Four Mile Creek, here in the Niagara Region. If you are familiar with this vineyard, then you know many great winemakers have made wines using these grapes, and they've been outstanding.

While the source of the juice is impressive, what first got me about this wine was its nose; apple, lemon, lime, grapefruit, passion fruit, pineapple, white flowers, and white peppercorn. The aromas were both beautiful and complex as they came one after the other.

Green apple skin, lemon pith, nectarine, honeydew melon, mango, almond, and exquisite mineral essence are on the palate. Even though I have used many descriptors, I feel I am not doing this wine justice. I tried it at room temperature and then cooled, and in both states I was blown away.

When looking at wine pairing for cuisines like Caribbean or Thai foods, I generally do not grab cool climate Chardonnay. While I drink it often, and it's my go to with a lot of seafood and fried dishes, it's not what I grab for well seasoned foods. Though the much needed acidity is there, it often misses some of the weight and combination of tropical and spiced notes I like to use.

The winemaking that put the juice through malolactic transformation and, more importantly (in my opinion) studious bâtonnage (lees stirring) are just two of the many elements that makes the 80x Dam Chardonnay incredible on its own and unstoppable with more herbed and spiced dishes.

While you cannot pick up the 80x Dam Chardonnay in the LCBO, it can be ordered from the winery and shipped to your front door.


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