A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 859: Thomas Bachelder, Poet Laureate of Niagara Terroir

Saturday, November 19th: The day of the first big winter snow storm. Mary Delaney, Thomas Bachelder’s partner, graciously picked me up to drive me to the “Bat Cave” – Thomas’s wine cellar on Lundy’s Lane – to taste his Toussaint release of 2020 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – nineteen wines in all.

Bachelder Pinots

Bachelder Les Villages Pinot Noir 2022 (a blend of four vineyard parcels)
Deep ruby in colour with a violet rim; lightly floral, cedary, raspberry and red plum bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, lovely mouth-feel, firmly structured, ending on a saline note. (90)

Bachelder Bator “Vieilles Vignes” Pinot Noir 2022 (St. David’s Bench, $49)
Deep ruby; cedary, spicy, cherry pit nose (with a light reductive note); medium-bodied, dry, savoury, salty, cherry flavour with well-integrated oak. (90)

Bachelder Lowrey Vineyard “Vieilles Vignes” Pinot Noire 2022 (St. David’s Bench. $55)
The palest of TB’s Pinots. Floral, cedary, toasty nose; slightly reductive, black cherry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, fresh and lively on the palate with cranberry and red plum flavours. A wine to age. (91)

Bachelder Lowrey Eastern Block ’84/’88 Cuvée Pinot Noir 2022 (St. David’s Bench, $75)
Bright ruby colour; floral, raspberry nose with a mineral thread and well-integrated oak; elegant, Volnay style, beautifully balanced and lingering. (93)

Bachelder Hanck Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $55)
Deep ruby in colour; rich nose of toast, vanilla, dried cherries; medium-bodied, dry, lovely mouth-feel; richly extracted, firmly structured with lively acidity and evident tannins. Needs 2–3 years. (91–93)

Bachelder Wismer-Parke Pinot Noir 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $55)
Deep ruby colour with a violet rim; spicy, toasty, floral nose of vanilla and red berries; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted, Burgundy style, firmly structured, raspberry and plum flavours with a saline note on the finish. (91)

Bachelder Wismer-Parke “Wild-Ouest-End” Pinot Noir 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $65)
Deep ruby colour; floral, toasty, red plum bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, Pommard-style; lovely mouth-feel. Raspberry and cranberry flavours buttressed with tannins. A real blood-red meat taste with a saline finish. (Not for Vegans!) (93)

Bachelder Spencer-Morgan Pinot Noir 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $49)
Deep ruby in colour; lifted, rose petal, toast and oak spice nose or red licorice; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted black cherry and black raspberry flavours carried on lively acidity. Firmly structured, lovely mouth-feel. Elegantly voluptuous. (93)

Bachelder Saunders “Bas” Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020 (Beamsville Bench, $49)
Deep ruby-purple in colour; lightly floral, toasty, vanilla and red berry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted, elegant, red berry and cocoa flavours with lively acidity. Youthful and tight. Hold 2–3 years, (90–92)

Then the Chardonnays:

Bachelder Chardonnays

Bachelder Bator “Vieilles Vignes” Chardonnay 2022 (Four Mile Creek, $45)
Bright, pale straw colour; lightly oaked, apple bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, concentrated, sweet apple and peach flavours expanding to pineapple notes; well-integrated oak and beautifully balanced. (92)

Bachelder Wills Vineyard “Vignes de 1983” Old Vines Chardonnay 2020 (Four Mile Creek, $49)
Bright straw colour; vanilla oak, apple nose with a barnyard note; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, lots of energy here; peach and lemon flavours. Chassagne-Montrachet style. (94)

Bachelder BAI XU “Vignes de 1981” Old Vines Chardonnay 2022 (Four Mile Creek, $49)
Bright straw colour; minerally, vanilla, toasty oak nose; medium to full-bodied, richly extracted pineapple and lemon flavours; lovely mouthfeel, beautifully balanced finishing on green pineapple and lemon flavours. Reminiscent of a fine Pouilly-Fuissé. (93)

Bachelder Patte Rouge Organically-Grown Chardonnay 2020 (Four Mile Creek, $45)
The grapes are from the old Red Paw Vineyard at Coyote’s Run. Bright straw colour; lightly toasty, lightly oaked, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, salty, spicy, lemony-peach flavour; well-structured and well-balanced. (91)

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft “Nord” Vineyard Chardonnay 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $55)
Bright straw colour; lightly toasty, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, saline apple and peach flavours; beautifully balanced, great length. (92)

Bachelder Wismer Wingfield Vineyard Chardonnay 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $60)
Straw colour; light toasty, spicy nose of green pineapple; medium-bodied, dry, salty, green peach and pineapple flavours. Lovely mouth-feel. Cellar 1–2 years (93–94)

Bachelder Wismer Wingfield “Hill of Wingfield” Vineyard Chardonnay 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $75)
Light straw colour; toasty, minerally, apple and peach bouquet; medium to full-bodied, dry, sturdy, broad on the palate with well-extracted peach and apple flavours. (94)

Bachelder Saunders ‘HAUT Vineyard’ Organically grown Chardonnay 2020 (Beamsville Bench, $49)
Bright straw colour; light toasty, minerally nose of yellow apple; medium-bodied, dry, honeyed Meyer lemon flavour with a thread of minerality. (92)

Bachelder Laundry Organic Chardo Musqué 2020 (Lincoln Lakeshore, $39)
Pale straw in colour; spicy, minerally, lightly floral, peach bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, sweet fruit tinged with salt. Well-balanced (91)

Bachelder Grimsby Hillside “Red-Clay Barn Block” Chardonnay 2020 (Lincoln Lakeshore, $49)
Light straw in colour; lightly floral, toasty, minerally, vanilla nose of apple; medium to full-bodied, dry, savoury, lemon and apple flavour; well structured. (92)

Nobody explores soils like Thomas Bachelder. Thomas is the Poet Laureate of Niagara terroir.

Bachelder Grimsby Hillside “Frontier Block” Chardonnay 2020 (Lincoln Lakeshore, $49)
Light straw in colour; toasty, minerally, apple bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted and beautifully balanced with lively acidity. Great length in the mouth. (93)

Other wines tasted:

Château des Charmes Pinot Noir 2017 (St. David’s Bench, Niagara; $24.95)
Ruby colour with a tawny hue; cedary, raspberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, minerally, raspberry flavours; firmly structured with ripe tannins. (90)

Château des Charmes Pinot Noir 2017

Château des Charmes Gamay Noir Droit 2020 (St. David’s Bench, Niagara; $21.95)
Deep ruby in colour; back cherry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, peppery, black cherry flavour; well-integrated oak, well-balanced with ripe tannins and lively acidity. (89)

Hester Creek Syrah 2020 (Southern Okanagan, $29.00 (BC + Tax))
Deep ruby in colour; blackberry and black olive bouquet with a light floral note and oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry, black plum flavour with a saline note. (89)

Malivoire Mottiar Chardonnay 2020 (Beamsville Bench, $34.95, winery only)
Bright straw colour; minerally, toasty, apple nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, apple and peach flavours; well-balanced; lively acidity. (89)

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