Forget Wonka’s three course dinner gum

Standing in the dim but bustling tasting room of Inniskillin in Niagara wine country, I took a whiff of the 2004 Montague Estate Vineyard Chardonnay swirling in my glass and blurted out, “Chicken pot pie!” Given that I’d earlier exclaimed that another glass of wine reminded me of those steamed towels flight attendants hand out, my friends took my remarks in stride. But I was taken with the nose of the Chardonnay, and even while continuing to sip at the wine, I began to dream up food pairings for it.

I finally cracked open the bottle two days ago. After deliberating over making a chicken stew (too complicated), cream-based sausage and bacon rigatoni (too hearty), tuna/salmon steak, I went grocery shopping and came home with a hot package of cooked chicken and fish – ah, instant gratification. Eagerly, I lifted the glass to my nose and took a deep whiff.

Hmm. Nothing. None of that hearty chicken stew I’d been dreaming of. Maybe the wine was a little too cold (I’d taken it straight out from my white wine fridge)? I let it sit for a little before I lifted the glass to my nose again. This time around, I caught the unmistakable whiff of chrysanthemum. I took a sip, letting it roll around in my mouth. It was delicious – some hints of butter and cedar, but not nearly as overwhelming as those big Californian examples. This was more subtle, more structured. It had a long lingering finish with faint notes of apple. Who needs Willa Wonka’s magical chewing gum when you can just drink wine?

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