Tuesday, June 14, 2005

4 Sparkling Whites: Australia, Canada


LCBO note: "Medium straw colour, moderate mousse; lightly fruity aroma showing lemon, pear/apple and cherry; dry, light bodied, well balanced, with fresh fruity, apple, citrus flavours; soft velvety finish. Serve as a apéritif, with party fare or soft, surface-ripened cheeses." Website notes: "Mid straw green with a fine and persistent mousse. The citrus and toasted cashew nut flavours of Chardonnay are married to the fresh attractive breadcrust characters of Pinot Noir. Elegant fruit flavours enhanced with creamy yeast autolysis providing depth and flavour. The wine finishes soft, crisp and clean." My notes: Pours bubbly in the glass, small but not fine, with a pale yellow colour. Nose is yeasty pear and light citrus. Bright in the mouth with some smooth yeasty flavours remaining in the moderate finish. More tart than I remember my first tasting several years ago. This is a General listing.

SEAVIEW BRUT, Australia, 11.1% D, #216333 $11.45

LCBO note: "Pale yellow colour, lively sparkle; delicate nuances of pear, apple & apricot fruit with light yeasty notes; barely off-dry, clean, crisp citrusy fruit flavours and a lasting finish. Serve chilled as an aperitif or to celebrate." My notes: Pale yellow, medium bubbles with some citrus and pear in the nose. Light bodied with some fruit and some citrus - an uninteresting sipper, more like pop with a buzz. Have on the deck in the summer or in a white sangria perhaps. This is a General listing.

PELLER ESTATES CRISTALLE (FOUNDER'S SERIES), Winona, Canada, 11.5% MD, #542142 $29.95

Vintages notes: "This sparkling wine is made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes in the traditional 'méthode', naturally fermented and aged in the bottle. After the lees are disgorged, a 'dosage' of Vidal Icewine is added, enhancing the wine's intensity. Perfect by the fire after a hard day in the rat race." On the label: "... marries the crisp elegance of a premium sparkling wine with the rich fruitiness of Icewine. etc..... enjoy as an aperitif or a finish to the meal." My notes: A mass of bubbles burst to fill the glass then subside to a steady trickle of fine mousse from the bottom. The nose is a delicate peach, pear and toffee and the flavours creamy, sweet but not too, predominantly pinot noir rather than chardonnay. Smooth on the lips and a long finish. A great celibratory bubbly, still with a spritz after several minutes. A Vintages release February 19, 2005.

HENRY OF PELHAM CUVEE CATHARINE BRUT, St. Catherine, Canada, 12.0% XD, #616441 $29.95

Vintages release December 4, 2004 Vintages description: "'Cuvée Catharine' is named in honour of Henry of Pelham's wife, the matriach of the property's founding family. Since its introduction a little more than two years ago, it has been consistently praised as one of the best sparkling wines from the Niagara Peninsula." The website says: ".... 57.5% Chardonnay and 42.5% Pinot Noir grapes were hand picked and bunch selected. Gentle whole cluster pressing followed. .. a wine with complex and elegant aromas. Bright fruit with subtle toast and baked apple tones. Secondary fermentation was finished in bottle followed by a further 30 months aging on the lees. Able to develop for 2-3 years but intended for drinking upon release. Food matches - Salmon caviar with sour cream; Malpeque oysters with a hint of lemon." My notes: Pleasant yeasty nose with lots of small bubbles rising quckly but lasting. Light apple and grapefruit creamy in texture with a moderate length and bright finish. Good celebratory bubbly or even with olives and stuffed red peppers.

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