A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 655: Checkmate Chardonnays

Château Ripeau 1967
(See July 1st)

Monday, June 26th: Down to Canoe for a lunch tasting of Anthony von Mandl’s Checkmate Chardonnays conducted by winemaker Philip McGahan (who has made wine in the Hunter Valley and with Williams Selyem in Sonoma) and Anthony Gismondi. It was a blind tasting pitting the Checkmate Chardonnays against some top white Burgundies and Chardonnays from Sonoma and Argentina. All vintage 2014.

Anthony Gismondi and winemaker Philip McGahan

  • Checkmate Capture Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan Valley – $90): pale straw colour with a lime tint; apple bouquet with nicely integrated toasty oak; medium-bodied, dry, well balanced apple and orange flavour with a lively spine of acidity, a thread of minerality and good length. A well-balanced wine. (92)
  • Checkmate Queen Taken Chardonnay 2014 (Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley – $125): pale straw with a lime tint; minerally, white flowers and apple on the nose with apple, peach and oak spice notes; rich mouth-feel, full-bodied, dry and beautifully balanced. (93)
  • Marc-Morey Puligny-Montratchet 2014 (Burgundy – $80): pale straw-lime colour; minerally, smoky, high-toned lemony, green apple bouquet with a toasty oak finish; a beautifully balanced wine. (93)
  • Checkmate Little Pawn Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan Valley – $110): straw colour; vanilla oak and apple nose; full-bodied, spicy peachy nose; well-balanced, great length of flavour with a lively acidic finish. (93)
  • Checkmate Knight’s Challenge Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan Valley – $85): pale straw colour with a lime tint; minerally, apple nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, apple flavour with a touch of oak spice; fresh acidity with green pineapple and apple flavours. Long finish with well-integrated oak and a nutty finish. (92)
  • Wayfarer “Wayfarer Vineyard” Chardonnay 2014 (Sonoma County – $150): straw colour with a lime tint; spicy, nutty, toasty apple; rich and full on the palate. (93)
  • Checkmate Fool’s Mate Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan Valley – $80): pale straw colour; white blossoms, oak spice, apple and white pepper bouquet; medium to full-bodied, mouth-filling, dry, well-balanced with a lively acidic finish. (92)
  • Domaine Latour-Giraud Meursault Cuvée Charles Maxime 2014 (Burgundy – $104): pale straw colour; developing barnyard notes; earthy, minerally, apple bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, lean and lemony, slightly tart and tight with mouth-watering acidity. (91)
  • Bodegas Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Chardonnay 2013 (Mendoza, Argentina – $90): straw colour; spicy, resiny nose of Fernet Branca; full-bodied, dry, some bitterness here with lively acidity. (88)
  • Checkmate Attack Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan Valley – $105): pale straw colour; minerally, apple nose with a sour cream note; medium-bodied, soft on the palate with fennel and salty notes and a toasty, nutty finish. (90)

Checkmate Attack Chardonnay 2014

Tuesday, June 27th: Another trip down to the LCBO lab to taste the July 8th Vintages release. In the evening to George Restaurant for diner celebrating Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 50th anniversary with head winemaker Bob Bertheau.

Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Bob Bertheau

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

At the outdoor pre-dinner reception, we tasted Chateau Ste. Michelle Michelle Brut Rosé before sitting down to the following dinner:

Chateau Ste. Michelle dinner menu

Enjoyed the 2005 Merlot so much that I bought two bottles on the spot.

Wednesday, June 28th: Woke up with a debilitating pain in my shoulder. Think it might be a pinched nerve. Lunch at LBS restaurant on Yonge Street with Angella Aiello to discuss next year’s Winetario consumer tasting. In the evening, down to Giancarlo for a family dinner prior to tomorrow’s wedding celebration for my grand-niece Emily.

Thursday, June 29th: The pain in my shoulder is still there. Wrote my Wines of the Week and spoke with the Lieutenant Governor’s office regarding the presentation of certificates of the winners of the LG wine awards. Then prepared for the wedding. A beautiful affair but my enjoyment was tempered by the excruciating pain in my shoulder.

Friday, June 30th: No relief from the shoulder pain. Down to the LCBO for another Vintages release. In the evening Doris Miculan Bradley came by to pick up file boxes of Grapes for Humanity that I have been storing in my locker. For dinner with chicken, Huff Merlot 2016 (Prince Edward County – $20): deep ruby colour; a nose of black cherry and vanilla oak; medium-bodied, dry and fruity with a cherry flavour tempered by peppery notes. (88)

Saturday, July 1st (Canada Day): Deborah left for Coburg and the One of a Kind Show there. She’ll be working one of the booths that sells sweaters. She returns Monday night. I celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday at Michael & Rosie’s house with Paula and Steven Elphick. Michael opened some fine bottles – Flat Rock Riddled, Bertrand de Monceny Chablis Les Montmains 1983, Château Ripeau 1967, Henry of Pelham Cabernet Merlot 1998 (blind, I thought it was a Ducru-Beaucaillou!). Steven brought half bottles of Hidden Bench Select Late Harvest Gewurztraminer and Trimbach Riesling SGN. 

Bertrand de Monceny Chablis Les Montmains 1983

Henry of Pelham Cabernet Merlot 1998

Hidden Bench Select Late Harvest Gewurztraminer and Trimbach Riesling SGN


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