A 98 Point Niagara Wine? …What is that all about?

Author: Carl’s Wine Club, www.carlswineclub.com


We’re here to shed light on the world class wines that Niagara produces, and Chardonnay is one of the grapes we have a serious international advantage on.

Why? Don’t the French have the best Chardonnay with their Burgundian terroir-based wines, or the US with their high-end chards that are big and bold?

Well, there are a few reasons Canadian Chardonnay can kick butt internationally any day.


First, the freshness. It all starts in the vineyard. In Niagara, the climate allows vines to cool off in the evenings and creates a vibrant acidity that can make Niagara Chardonnay outstanding.


Second, the price point. Right now, high end Canadian Chardonnays are a bargain compared to similar quality from Burgundy or the US.


Third, while other countries are stuck with one main style of Chardonnay, the diversity of Canada’s geography and micro-climates makes it possible to have a huge diversity in Chardonnay styles. From fresh, clear, mineral and acid backbone Chards, to big, ripe, juicy, oaky, creamy styles.


Fourth, Chardonnay is a grape that truly allows the winemaker’s style to shine. Talent is a part of Terroir. Canadian talent – and terroir – is most explicitly showcased through Chardonnay.


And last but not least, Niagara, Canada – represents a bold new frontier in winemaking.  Niagara winemakers are not tied to archaic rules that restrict their creativity. They can produce wines at the crossroad of the Old World and the New World. Niagara wines can take the best of both and forge a new, exciting way forward!


You might be wondering, where does the 98 point Chardonnay reviewed below fit in? Is it Old World? New World? Burgundian? More US style?


Nope. The 2017 Dix-Neuvième Chardonnay from Pearl Morissette is in a league of its own. This is a prime example of what Canada’s wines can and will do in the coming years. This is Niagara, and one talented Canadian winemaker, forging their own path forward in the world of wine. And it is OUTSTANDING.

We hope you get a chance to taste some of the best wines that Niagara has to offer soon by booking a tasting at Pearl Morrisette.


In the meantime, check out our tasting notes below!


2017 Pearl Morissette Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 

? Sold-Out Current Release ?

Ontario, Niagara, Twenty Mile Bench VQA

100% Chardonnay | Dry Wine (RS < 2.0 g/ltr) | 13.5% Alcohol


98pts Carl’s Wine Club | Highest Canadian Wine Score to Date! July 10/21

To all the Chardonnay lovers, this is the “Real Deal.” Officially my #1 Chardonnay producer… Hands down. After re-tasting it twice since my initial review, I got up the courage to call it what it is. This wine isn’t a 96 point wine. This wine is the closest thing to perfection I have tasted amongst Canadian wines. I stand by my score now at 98 points. Oh, and by the way, that is my highest rated wine this year so far, and highest score I’ve ever given to a Canadian wine to date!

? Beyond impressive. This can compete with any Burgundy Chardonnay, any day/any time. The depth, the complexity and the structure are unparalleled. The nose opens up with shy aromas of wet rocks, white flowers and ripe lemon before turning towards toasty almonds and vanilla. With four years of age, the wine still shows youth, power and energy. I had to give it an hour in the decanter before completely opening up. And then… the magic happened! Lemon meringue, camomile, vanilla and caramel are some of the primary flavours. Great flinty minerality and baked goods undertones bring another dimension after the mid-palate. The finish is bright, fresh and impressively long. White pepper and ginger brings a spicy layer mixed with the sweet oak at the very end. Wow…. absolutely Wow!  1142 cases produced.

Pairing: rich fish, grilled scallop

Drink now until 2028

Winery price: Not Available

? Purchase it here for a limited time at $48.20 incl. tax/deposit


How does Carl Boucher, of Carl’s Wine Club, rate wines? Check out his wine scale notes below.


First and foremost, 88pts is my benchmark; a wine that meets its price-point but has nothing special to blow you away with. The nose is decent but not great and the palate brings you where you were at least expecting to be. Not less, not more.


Under 88 pts, it’s a disappointing wine with an underwhelming structure and does not meet its price-point. I feel the winery is charging too much for what I get or there are technical flaws in the wine. Anyhow, I do not publish any wines below 88pts because I do not want to hurt producers or winemakers who are always working hard to come up with their best effort, but it does not always turn out in their favour.


89pts points is an honest and intriguing wine I would like to discover more. The price is good and it delivers exactly what I was expecting and maybe a little bit more. All in all, an attractive wine with some potential to be very good.


90 pts is where I consider a wine to be very good. It over delivers the price point and it’s right on the verge of becoming a rock star. Not a top of class yet but definitely above average and it’s worth mentioning and suggesting on social media.


91, 92 and 93 is the ladder going up to the superstar level. This is where you find one or multiple aspects of the wine above or way above average. It can be the structure, the texture, the acidity, the fruit component, the length, the finish. Something in the wine stands out.


94 or 95 is the Rockstar level. I see a wine like this once a month or so. Once every 100 to 125 wines I taste. It’s when all aspects of the wine (the structure, the texture, the acidity, the fruit component, the length, the finish) are way above average and the price-point becomes an afterthought because the wine is so good.


96 to 99 happens just a few times a year (from a total of 600 to 1000 wines tasted) and it’s awarded only when I feel like the wine is getting close to perfection. The texture, the length, the richness, the concentration (and most aspects of the wine) are in such balance that everything is in almost-perfect symbiosis. You can notice the extreme quality right at the very first moment that you get it in your mouth.




Carl’s Wine Club is a community of Canadian wine lovers, and each week we discover a different Canadian winery! You can join for FREE here.

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