Tuesday, July 12, 2005

3 Whites: Canada Aligote, Canada Pinot Gris, Germany Riesling

CHATEAU DES CHARMES ALIGOTE 2003 (ESTATE BOTTLED), Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, 12.5% XD, #284950 $11.95

The 2003 is on LCBO shelves and is generally described as: "Pale straw colour; green apple and citrus aromas with floral notes; dry, medium bodied, crisp and refreshing palate with green apple flavours and a pleasant mouthfeel. Mild creamy cheeses, trout with lemon or shellfish." The website says: "Château des Charmes Winemaster Paul Bosc was the first North American winegrower to import the Aligoté grape variety from Burgundy. By restricting the yield in the vineyard he is able to produce a dry, white wine with hints of green apples and butter. Crisp with excellent fruit concentration. Aligoté is best enjoyed with seafood, particularly shellfish or on its own as an excellent aperitif". Of the 2004 vintage Beppi Crosariol says: "..offers nuances of pear, green apple, lemon and minerals in a lean but beautifully balanced and crisp, refreshing package.... awesome offbeat white and terrific value." My notes (2003 vintage): A clear pale yellow. The nose is grapefruit and green apple. Starts out lean and clean then turns on the fruity citrus notes. Finish is long, clean and warm citrus. Perfect for fish dishes, a good value and a different grape for short term cellaring, likely a 'drink-now to a year'. As a postscript, tried the 2004 at the winery today (July 15th) and found it to be tart, grassy and without fruit to balance or soften the flavours. Perhaps the bottle had sat open too long but still disappointing. This is a General listing.

SANDHILL PINOT GRIS 2003 (KING FAMILY VINEYARD), Penticton, BC, 13.5% D, #626002 $15.95

Vintages says: "The King Family vineyard (one of four) located in the middle of the Okanagan Valley features more clay and experiences somewhat cooler temperatures than vineyards in the southern part. The result is this crisp and fruity Pinot Gris. Enjoy it with grilled shrimp or freshwater fish." George Stimmell comments: "... delivers lush classic pear aromas and spicy flavours - an 88" My notes: A pale yellow colour with a wildflower and spice nose. A mineral tang on the tongue and a warm fullness or honey note. Leaves a slight tangy mineral aftertaste. The winemaker (Howard Soon) says that changes in King Family vineyard management in 2004 'gave more depth of aromas and flavour, balanced acidity, increased body and greater length'. OK with italian sausage and pineapple appetizer and likely any white seafood dish. I suggest waiting for the 2004 vintage. Vintages release June 25, 2005.

LOUIS GUNTRUM RIESLING KABINETT HALBTROCKEN 2002, Rhine, Germany, 11.5% D, #651976 $15.95

Vintages says: "A tangy, fresh wine with scrumptious aromatics and flavours, including apricot, peach, lime and white flowers. Medium dry with a superb balancing acidity. Medium body with a lingering finish. (Vintages panel, July 2004)." Natalie says: "Great attack on the palate. Pears, peaches and petrol. Score: 91/100." My notes: Soft floral, lime, grass and yeast aromas from a pale yellow with a tinge of green colour. A faint fruit and abrupt acid with a long, fading smoothe finish - to me, no petrol and likely a year or two too late. Off dry, meant for sipping or with light foods. Went OK with grilled chicken breast and greens. This is a Vintages release July 09, 2005.

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