The Perfectly Balanced Chardonnay – Flat Rock Cellars


The perfectly balanced Rusty Shed 2019 Chardonnay and 2019 Chardonnay both featured at Niagara Grape & Wine Festival

The perfectly balanced Chardonnay at Flat Rock Cellars that took me by surprise was the 2019 Rusty Shed.

This past weekend while the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival was in full swing. I talked to Ed Madronich, owner of Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan, about two of his Chardonnays – the Rusty Shed 2019 Chardonnay and Flat Rock’s 2019 Chardonnay. They are both oaked and made from the same hand-picked and hand-sorted Chardonnay grapes from Flat Rock’s vineyards. While the 2019 Chardonnay is fruit-driven with a satisfying taste and shorter finish, the Rusty Shed Chardonnay is fully balanced, acidic, and complex. Both are excellent Chardonnays and the difference in styles resides in their barrels.

The thing about learning about wine, the winery owner told me, is that you’re having a lot of fun while you learn. And a more expensive wine doesn’t necessarily mean a bottle of better wine. It’s all about the balance.

Superb taste of perfectly balanced Rusty Shed 2019 Chardonnay

Once you’re lured in by the Rusty Shed 2019 Chardonnay’s aroma of wet stones and soft pear, you know a superb taste is going to follow. There’s a tiny hint of grass on the nose, too.

On the palate, you first notice a soft caramel flavour resonating at the back and sides of your tongue. Then on the second sip, this Chardonnay turns into a gorgeous soft acidity that comes alive with a zing. These are the rocks under the Niagara Escarpment talking to you. Are they softening? Maybe.

By the third sip, the Rusty Shed 2019 Chardonnay can suggest luxurious, soft butter to some tasters. This Chardonnay has high acidity and an exceedingly long finish. It is very well balanced, leaving a sweet taste in your mouth after reverberating echoes of delicious minerality.

In actual fact, Ed and his winemaking team painstakingly taste the Chardonnay and select the French oak barrels most worthy of aging it. Then they combine different selections together to create the Rusty Shed Chardonnay.

Flat Rock Cellars’ top-notch wine selections and incredible views

Flat Rock Cellars - the perfectly balanced Chardonnay
Flat Rock Cellars has an array of high-quality VQA wines and a fantastic view across Lake Ontario

As I carefully examined the different Chardonnays from inside a modern glass rectangle, I marveled at the sheer expanse of beauty that’s visible through the glass. The retail shop I was inside of overlooks the estate vineyards, a pond, more tasting areas below, Lake Ontario, and Toronto in the distance. I felt a little like Rapunzel who has let down her hair already but then raises her head to glance across the vast kingdom and has to catch her breath. Rows of medieval fruit surround the castle turret beyond the moat, and just beyond the kingdom is a large lake below. Across the lake, there are outlines of Emerald City.

Flat Rock Cellars offers a fantastic experience and exceptional VQA wine

At Flat Rock Cellars during this year’s Niagara Grape & Wine Festival, positive energy rippled through the whole vineyard. Groups of interested visitors leaned in as expert wine professionals told the stories of different vintages. People dotted the whole property, wandering along the storybook trail from the modern glass rectangle suspended at the top of the hill, to the red umbrella-covered tasting area below, nestled beside an idyllic lake. The parking lot was packed.

Every single coworker I’ve talked to at various Toronto bank jobs where I work has identified their favourite Niagara winery to me at some point. One couple from the Greater Toronto Area, with whom I shared a conversation in the winery parking lot this past weekend, told me they visit Flat Rock Cellars every year. I can see how Flat Rock would immediately make people decide to claim it as their own.

The art of connection to people

The more winery professionals and winery owners I meet, the more I’ve come to believe that people who love what they do become extroverts without even realizing it.

When you’re lucky enough to talk to a Niagara winery owner whose warmth and helpfulness reveal natural gregariousness, you can see how a whole operation would easily learn the art of connecting to people. At Flat Rock Cellars, this is a great thing that filters down from the top.

Flat Rock Cellars
2727 Seventh Ave.
Jordan Station, ON L0R 1S0
(905) 562-8994