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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
CheckMate Artisanal Winery Fool's Mate Chardonnay
94POINTS
17½/20

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Fool's Mate Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the perks of wine writing is the opportunity to take part in vertical tastings once in a while to track a single wine through several vintages. It’s the ultimate test of a wine’s ability to express each vintage while revealing its fingerprint and even more important to demonstrate whether it can age over time in the bottle. On this day, we tasted every vintage to date of Fool’s Mate, from 2013-2017. As young as the winery is, it was a revelation. We learned that the original ageing window, thought to be about five years by winemaker Phil McGahan, is quickly expanding into the 7-10 year range as the wines evolve in the bottle. The last wine in the vertical line up was the youngest, 2017. Fool’s Mate is the only blend of sites, and it fits the adage of 'the sum is greater than its parts' most years. 72 percent of the blend comes from Jagged Rock, a piece of dirt that sits just east of Phantom Creek on the Black Sage Bench. The other sites in play include Sunset Vineyard, Dekelva Vineyard, Combret, Golden Mile Bench, and Border Vista Vineyard, mixing clones Dijon 76, Dijon 95, 809, Dekleva, and Combret. It's the best yet, without a doubt. It’s not Burgundy, and it is not California, but it is the most balanced of all the Fool’s Mates in the vertical, and it is only beginning its life. The use of more high-end barrels (Burgundy barriques – 84% (of which 42% were new); concrete egg – 16%) have given it better definition and complements its pear and nectarine flavours, subtle underlying minerality, and now characteristic, sea salt notes. One to buy and cellar.Tasted: 04 February 2020Tasted by: Prices: BC 80.00 winery direct, restaurants, select private wine shops Producer: CheckMate Artisanal WineryDistributors: Mark Anthony Wines and Spirits
Grape: ChardonnayCSPC: 628917UPC: 776545802071