A case for half bottles

Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2010 from a 375 mL bottle

Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2010 from a 375 mL bottle

It was Oscar night and I was paying very little attention to Hollywood. I was, however, in the kitchen as usual, storming about, strumming my chef’s knives and scrumming five dishes together. I had inadvertently left a case of wine just purchased hanging out on the church pew on the porch outside my kitchen door.

Just in time, or just a few minutes too late, depending on whether you believe in kismet or just plain bad luck, I grabbed the case and hauled it indoors, away from the negative one zillion degrees celsius this Ontario winter was wreaking upon the night. Checking through the case I was relieved to find no apparent damage. No frozen bottles…wait, what’s this? The cork of a half-bottle of Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2010 was forcing its way upwards and crinkling the foil capsule on route to its exit.

I had to make a choice. I could force the cork back in and put the small bottle in the cellar, then hope for the best. Or, I could have a taste right here and now. I chose the latter and voila, here I am to tell the tale.

Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2010, Two Chicken Breasts and Red Sauce

Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2010, Two Chicken Breasts and Red Sauce

This sip from a 375 mL was revelatory. Not only did Paul Pender‘s exceptional blend of Quarry and Hillside Vineyards not show any ill effects of an hour in deep freeze, it shone like never before. The aromatics were bursting, the flavours compact and cold toasty, the texture mouth filling and expanding.

Why don’t we drink more from the 375 mL, half-bottle format. To me, it’s like listening to music on vinyl. Wine from these minis has more layers of texture, more nuance, more groove. The expedited evolution and compact formula make cause for a bottled up compression, a concentration, not a reduction.

More winemakers should bottle in the 375 mL container. There are so many reasons for it. Space, quality, half the cost and best of all, nothing left at the end of the night, just the empty bottle. I re-wrote my note for the Estate Chardonnay and upped my score. You can read it at WineAlign or, right here.

Tawse Estate (375 mL) Chardonnay 2010

Tawse Estate (375 mL) Chardonnay 2010

Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2010, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario (253518, 375 mL $20.95, WineAlign)

Tasted from a 375 mL, the Estate ’10 has come to fruition, at least in this format. Fruit, wood and texture are seamlessly integrated. The wine is fleshy and has reached a pure state of mineral meets residual concentration. This is Chardonnay of a charming combination of maize and acuity. Has raised the bar and the score. From my earlier note of January 2013: “Like its half-sister Quarry Road, stands firm and smacks stubbornly up to the heat of the vintage. Opaque green of agate stone. Combines the apples and citrus from Quarry with Robyn’s musk and pear, but also the searing, mineral tang of Hillside. The assemblage is the most fleshy and forthcoming Chardonnay of the lot. Promises the best of all Tawse’s worlds, without stealing the spotlight from its single vineyard sistren.”  Last tasted February 2015  @Tawse_Winery  @Paul_Pender

Good to go!

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