Please forgive the picture. I tossed my phone at Kole while I was making dinner and asked him to take a picture of the wine, and this was the best shot.

I wandered into the LCBO in Liberty Village recently after a massage with the intent of buying a bottle of wine to go with dinner. I ended up restocking our beer fridge in the process. There is something about an LCBO that is not in my neighbourhood that brings out my spend-y side.

Keint-He Winery & Vineyards makes Burgundian inspired wines in Wellington, ON, located in Prince Edward County. I tend to drink less County wine due to pure geography – a lot of my wine bottles follow me home from impromptu adventures in the Niagara area, but Prince Edward County involves a bit of extra planning on my end. I’ve only gone there once, to be perfectly honest.

Wines from Prince Edward County tend to be great examples of cold climate wines, with their location to the north east of Toronto, along Lake Ontario. The limestone soil and moderating lake effect lends a nice minerality to the wines, and they excel at Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in particular.

This particular winery is largely unknown to me. I think I’ve tried their wines at festivals such as County in the City, but I wasn’t entirely certain. Keint-He’s 2014 Portage Chardonnay caught my attention in the LCBO Vintages section while I was looking for a bottle of Chardonnay from either PEC or Burgundy to serve with a lobster dinner. I didn’t want too much oak, so I was looking for a mix of barrel aging and steel aging. Although the winery is located in Prince Edward County, the grapes are originally from 3 vineyards in the Vineland area of the Niagara Peninsula. This wine is aged in a combination of new and seasoned French oak barrels, along with 20% in stainless steel.

The 2014 Portage Chardonnay is available directly from the vineyard at $18.50 a bottle, or $20.75 from the LCBO.

Appearance: Bright golden colour, developing rim.

Aroma: Creamed corn, lemon, peaches, yellow plums, vanilla.

Palate: Lemon juice, lemon pith, corn, butter, and white chocolate. Very much tastes like a Chardonnay that has spent some time in oak, but not an excessive amount.

Acidity: Medium plus acidity.

Body: Medium body.

Aftertaste: Underripe peaches, creamed corn.

Food pairing: We served this with lobster and garlic butter with a side of fiddleheads, and it held up nicely without overpowering any of the flavours. Acidity was good at cutting through the richness of the dish.

Overall: A pleasant surprise, I’d definitely serve this with a richer seafood dish again.

Shawna O'Flaherty

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