Last year saw the introduction of the most hyped new wine project in Ontario - Le Clos Jordanne. Le Clos Jordanne is a partnership between Vincor Canada and Boisset France and focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Well, it's another year and another vintage so the hype machine is back in full force.
Le Clos Jordanne 2005 Vintage Launch Event
There were two tastings last week. One at the Hotel Intercontinental and another at U of T Hart House. I was at the Intercontinental tasting where each of the 2005 wines was offered. It was an expensive event at $60, but the event was very professionally handled with small bites of delicious food and pretty knowledgeable staff from LCJ, Vincorp and other properties (like Inniskillin). Thomas Bachelder, the winemaker at LCJ, was working the room giving people insight in to the vineyards and the approach taken at LCJ. He's very passionate with a very engaging personality. Jean-Charles Boisset (parter in Le Clos Jordanne) was there as well but I didn't get a chance to talk with him.
All of the wines are exceptionally well made and very true to chardonnay and pinot varietals, clearly reflecting our cooler climate. Like when I tasted the '04 release last year, I found myself saying that its hard to believe that these are Ontario wines.
Personally, I thought that the 2005 Chardonnays were more impressive than the 2005 Pinots and for my palate the Claystone Terrace vineyard was the most interesting of the bunch. The Claystone was very pure, precise with ample and ripe fruit (some citrus, some tropical) and a dollop of butter. Nice acidic backbone too to keep things fresh and lively.
The Le Clos vineyard chard was also very nice but a little less intense and maybe a touch more mineral infused.
The Grand Clos chard was hard to differentiate from the le Clos vineyard and not worth the extra $$$ in my books. It might have more potential lurking but that's only based on reputation, not what I got from the glass.
My preference was Claystone Terrace, Le Clos, Grand Clos, Village Reserve (which is a decent enough value but not really noteworthy).
On the Pinot front, I enjoyed them but wasn't wowed. I had a much more positive reaction to the 04 Pinots last year and I'm trying to figure out if that's because I have exceptionally low expectations going in to the '04 tasting and too high expectations going in to last night or whether its simply a case of '04 vs '05.
Again, each wine was well made and offered very true Pinot characteristics. The La Petite vineyard was the lightest of the bunch with a nice perfume and straight forward, simple red fruits - pretty lively too. The Claystone Terrace was the biggest of the bunch with a nice bouquet of raspberrry and cherry and on the palate, it leaned a little more towards blue and black fruits. The Le Clos and Grand Clos again were very similar but the Grand Clos was holding back - not too much on the nose and while the attack and mid palate were nice (bright red fruits as compared to Claystone) the finish was quite clipped only to come back with a final, spicy flourish. If it rounds out with some bottle time, it would be a very nice wine.
The Claystone was again my favourite by quite a margin. I think that it had more character and intensity. All of them were very nice and probably would fit well in to a 1er cru or solid village quality.
It was quite funny how everyone was fawning over the Grand Clos. They may in fact prove to be better wines but last night were holding back and were far less interesting than Claystone or even the Le Clos vineyard.
It's also very possible that people were tasting the label and the rarity hype ;-) It would be fun to do a blind tasting of the entire line in a couple of years and see which wines truly stand out.