A Quick One

Les Villages chardonnay and pinot spotlight

A Quick One

Gamay is the focus of Thomas Bachelder’s Spring release, named La Violette, but there’s also a sneak preview of what’s in-store on the chardonnay and pinot noir front, with the release of Bachelder's Les Villages wines. While the final blends of each single vineyard bottling rests in barrel in anticipation of a November 1 release, these special blends have been knit together from declassified barrels that are anything but castoffs.

I will compile a full report soon, once I have tasted through the range. But here are quick notes about the two chardonnays and two pinots that are as tasty and satisfying as one would expect. The lineup is released May 2 via bachelderniagara.com

Bachelder Bench Les Villages Pinot Noir 2021
Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula $34.95
Declassified barrels from single vineyards, Wismer-Parke and Hanck (Vineland), McNally and Saunders (Beamsville)

Pretty nose, suggesting red fruit, floral and savoury notes. Ripe core of cherry fruit with spice accents. Fresh. Fine-grained tannins. Bright and youthful. A real charmer that should develop gracefully. Drink now-2030. (92/100)

Bachelder Bench N-O-T-L Les Villages Pinot Noir 2021
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula $34.95
Inaugural Vintage, declassified barrels from single vineyards, Bator and Lowry. Thomas predicts Lowry will join the Bench blend down the road, when/should VQA regulations change to embrace how benchlands run the length of Niagara wine country. Watch this space.

A sleeper? More depth and intensity than the Bench bottlings, with darker fruit flavours and earthy complexity but also more subtle notes. A yin-yang pinot at this youthful stage and a truly successful addition to an already extensive portfolio. Will be fun to watch develop. Drink 2024-2029. (91/100)

Bachelder Les Villages N-O-T-L Chardonnay 2021
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula $34.95
Declassified single vineyards, Willms, Bator, and Bai Xu

True to type Niagara-on-the-Lake chardonnay, with a riper, rounder and full style than the Bench bottling. Full, fleshy and balanced. Some honey, but still fresh and engaging. Drink now-2025. (90/100)

Bachelder Les Villages Bench Chardonnay 2021
Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula $34.95
Declassified single vineyards, Saunders (Beamsville), Wismer Wingfield and Wismer Foxcroft (Vineland)
Impressive and enjoyable, with brightness countered by earthy/leesy notes and a core of ripe fruit. Fresh and finely made. Drink now-2028. (93/100)