Wednesday, May 18, 2005

3 Chardonnays: Canada, South Africa

DANIEL LENKO OLD VINES CHARDONNAY 1999 (2002) French Oak, Beamsville, Ont., 13.0% D, #Winery $24.95 ($29.95)

The Lenko website says about his 2002 vintage: "Vanilla, toast, coconut and spice flavours balance beautifully with ripe pear and peach overtones. A rich, creamy texture engulfs the palate, showing the power and elegance of fruit from old vines " My notes: Vintage 1999 was purchased from the winery and cellared May, 2001. Pours as a crystal clear golden liquid. The nose has a light vanilla fragrance followed by very pleasing creamy texture and toasty vanilla, coconut and lemon/melon flavours (could be the 'peach'). The finish is long and smoothe. This last bottle of the six was cellared long enough for 'complexity' altho' with some loss of fruit - focus is now influenced by the French oak which introduces the smoothness without the crispness added by the American oak of the previous version. The creamy texture and silky finish makes this a very interesting sipper. Pairs nicely with any fish, grilled shrimp and greens - maybe not with grilled or roasted, ie. stronger flavoured, fowl, but worth a try.

STONE GABLES CHARDONNAY 2003 (DISTELL), South Africa, 13.5% XD, CP150-2566 (Opimian) $16.50

Opimian says: "... Full and rich, yet the impressions are so elegant. The bouquet has a huge character sufficient to turn the palate in a gushing torrent. Diamond clean cuts of apple, fresh malic acidity carry rich touches of mango, kiwi and pineapple.... etc. " Back label says: "Imagine picking a ripe juicy grape, straight from the vine and biting it. ... this is pure fruit, none of that chunky woody taste." My notes: Cellared April, 2004. A clear light lemon colour and a clean crisp citrus nose. Still has a rich blend of tropical fruit - cellaring has helped blend flavours and increased the creamy texture. There is an initial tart touch to a long pleasing smoothe finish. A good sipper for chardonnay drinkers - no oakiness. Pair with any seafood or rice dishes. Good value, imho.

BLACK PRINCE FIRST CRUSH CHARDONNAY 2003, Prince Edward County, Canada, 14.0% D, SO39-2642 $16.00

Opimian says: "a blend of local and californian fruit ... tropical flavours predominate although citrus toffee nuances are apparent to the diligent taster. Unoaked nor malolactic fermentation so no butter nor cream.. a clean style. Cellar 6 months to two years." My notes: Cellared September, 2004. A light lemon colour seems thin, ie. shallow miscus and the nose almost undiscernible. Light-bodied with tart natural citrus flavours. The finish is short and clean - not my preference as a sipper. Accompanied grilled salmon and asparagus with greens adding the toffee and a hint of sweeetness. Pair with any seafood, scallops, shrimp, etc. or perhaps save for a summer sangria.

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