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Ontario Chardonnay: 20 cool-climate buys from Canada

There’s more to eastern Canada than maple syrup, ice hockey and endless frozen winters. And while the latter helps with Icewine, that’s not what’s causing a buzz. If you love cool-climate Chardonnay with a real sense of place, then don’t think Burgundy, think Ontario.

Telling people I was heading on a work trip to the Niagara Peninsula, in Canada’s eastern province of Ontario, the response was invariably ‘oh, for the Icewine’. Even friends from my birth city of Ottawa, Canada’s capital and a 5.5-hour drive from the heart of the winelands, were surprised that anything else would lure a wine writer across the pond.

Just as there are lingering outdated perceptions that all Sherry and German Riesling is sweet and old fashioned, it seems there’s still a way to go to convince the general public that Ontario has many (many) more strings to its winemaking bow.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores of 20 Ontario Chardonnay wines to try

While growers planted the first vinifera vines of the modern era in 1974, with the first winery licence post-prohibition registered in 1975, the Ontario wine industry didn’t really kick off domestically until the 1990s. The first wine (yes, an Icewine) didn’t hit British shelves until 2001, and by 2013 – only a decade ago – there were still only three Ontario wineries exporting still wines to the UK.

Ontario Chardonnay: 20 top wines to buy

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