2021 Bear Chardonnay

With a nod to Tantalus proprietor Eric Savics’ eldest son Eric Jr., affectionately known to many over the years as “Bear”, this wine was crafted from our youngest blocks and made in a crisp and lively style.

A brilliant shimmery gold in the glass, the nose is awash with a wonderful sea breeze freshness, jasmine and hints of struck match. The palate is fresh but with just enough textural weight to add intrigue from time spent in neutral barrels.

Ripe pear, melon rind and freshly-squeezed lemon draw together in the glass, underlined by a zippy minerality. Easily sip in its youth or cellar comfortably for 5 to 7 years to enjoy the evolution of this Chablis-styled Chardonnay.

Fruit for this wine was sourced from our young gun Chardonnay block, planted in 2013 and was handpicked and vinified in small lots using entirely wild fermentation. The wine was crafted in neutral French barrels, ensuring the purity of the fruit was maintained with just a wisp of oak integrated. Clonal selection: 76, 95 & 548 

TECHNICAL INFO

Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Alcohol: 13.0%
Residual Sweetness: 1.49 g/L
pH: 3.52
Total Acidity: 6.5 g/L

ACCOLADES:

91 points - Chris Waters, The Globe and Mail, August 2022

"Tantalus winery in Kelowna rightfully attracts attention for its distinctive rieslings and complex pinot noirs, but wine lovers should not overlook the rest of the portfolio, including this tasty and well-priced chardonnay. The Bear label is produced from younger chardonnay vines on the estate. It is made in a rewarding style, with vibrant citrus and apple fruit rounded out by rich earthy and creamy notes. Drink now to 2025."

Neal McLennan, Western Living Magazine, July 2022

"I’m confident in saying this is hands down the best value Chardonnay in BC—tasted blind I’d guess that it was $35 wine. A well-made $35 wine. It’s crisp and flinty in the way Chablis is, and with only neutral oak in play, it’s astonishingly pure for a wine of this price—the citrus and crisp pear dusted with a sprinkle of Maldon salt."

VINTAGE NOTES

After a few recent winters with remarkably cold weather events, we managed to emerge from the 2020/21 winter without much cold damage to our vineyards. Bud break fell on the early end of the long-term average, fueled by warm spring temperatures and marginal rainfall, conditions that would persist until summer. The 2021 heat dome (we measured a temperature high of 48.5C on site) coincided with flowering in the vineyard. The extreme heat at such a sensitive time in the grapes’ development resulted in smaller than average berries and clusters and lower yields.

Warm temperatures and low rainfall persisted through early summer. Smoky August skies slowed berry ripening and pushed harvest back from what would have been a record early start on our site. Harvest kicked off in early September with our first grapes for our sparkling wines. The weather stayed warm with little precipitation for the rest of the month, allowing us to pick our fruit at peak ripeness and flavour and wrap up harvest on October 5th, two weeks earlier than we commonly do and making for a short but busy end to the growing season! Although a lower crop yield from the season was disappointing, fruit quality was excellent and the smaller bunches led to beautifully concentrated wines.