The wines of Bachelder
Thomas Bachelder's remarkable three terroirs project, making wine in Canada, Burgundy and Oregon


Thomas Bachelder is a force of nature (he’s pictured above with his wife Mary Delaney). He comes across as very bright and energized, and he’s currently making wines under his name in three countries: Canada, the USA (Oregon) and France (Burgundy).

He hails from Montreal, Canada, and has previous experience of working in all three regions. Until 2010 Bachelder was founding winemaker at Le Clos Jordanne in Niagara, a position he took after experience working and studying wine in Burgundy, before working as winemaker at Lemelson in Oregon. His ambitious three-terroir winemaking project began with the 2009 vintage, and his main focus is on Chardonnay, although Pinot Noir is also an important part of the plan.

He acts as a micronegociant, buying grapes in each of the three regions and renting winery space to work in. The results are excellent: as Thomas points out, the winemaking and philosophy behind the wines in all three regions is similar (he aims at a European elegance), but beyond that, the personality of the regions is still evident. ‘You can make Oregon elegantly,’ he says, giving an example, ‘but you can’t take the Oregon terroir out of it.’

Bachelder is a master of elevage, and clearly understands the use of extended time in barrel to produce a more complete, articulate wine that speaks of its origin better. I liked all these wines a good deal: they have different personalities, but they are qualitative peers.


Bachelder Chardonnay 2011 Niagara, Canada
Well defined and fresh with some nuts and spices, allied with lemony freshness. There’s richness here, but it is reined in. Lovely precision and focus. 93/100

Bachelder Chardonnay Wismer Vineyard 2010 Niagara, Canada
Distinctive and quite broad with a  smooth, mineral character to the palate, which is textured and has a lovely mouthfeel. Notes of nuts, pear and even nectarine, but despite the richness there is restraint here. Really fine and focused. 94/100

Bachelder Chardonnay Wismer Vineyard 2011 Niagara, Canada
Lovely texture here: fresh but rich with pear, peach and some mineral notes. Nice weight and purity. 93/100

Bachelder Beaune ‘Les Longues’ 2010 Burgundy, France
From a plot high above the premier crus in Beaune. Nutty, finely toasty and mineral with dense, bold pear and apple fruit, as well as some white peach. Fresh and mineral with lovely focus. 93/100

Bachelder Côte de Beaune La Grande Chatelaine 2011 Burgundy, France
Lovely purity here, with good acidity underpinning the rich fruit. Fresh, fine and expressive with some citrus pith notes alongside mineral characters. I really like the freshness this wine shows. 93/100

Bachelder Chardonnay 2011 Oregon, USA
Fine lemon, pear and nut nose with some fresh mineral notes. The palate is fresh with generous pear and peach fruit, as well as a hint of quince. Very expressive, a lovely wine. 94/100

Bachelder Pinot Noir 2011 Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Fresh, elegant and supple with some warm sweet cherry fruit notes but also a hint of sappiness. Real elegance and precision here, but also a really attractive Oregon sweetness. 94/100

UK agent Liberty Wines


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Wines tasted 07/13  
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