Saturday, September 03, 2005

5 Whites: Australia Semillon, Australia Sauv Blanc, Chile Sauv Blanc, New Zeal Sauv Blanc, France Burgundy

GRANT BURGE ‘ZERK' SEMILLON 2004, Barossa, Australia, 12.0% XD, #987768 $16.95 (Tasted September 3, 2005)

Vintages says: "Ripe Barossa style with powerful orange/citrus characters on the slightly developed nose. Attractive, flavoursome palate – fresh and clean with nice wood treatment. One for the cellar. Score - **** 1/2 (out of 5). (Winestate, March/April 2005) " The website says: "The grapes for this wine come from the Zerk Vineyard, owned by fourth generation Barossan, Robert Zerk and his wife Janine. As the vines are over 70 years old, they produce fruit with great depth, flavour and complexity, and 2004 produced ideal weather and ripening conditions for an above average Semillon vintage. A vibrant, pale straw colour, with aromas of tropical fruit salad, and hints of guava, freshly cut hay and subtle toast from the French oak. The palate is soft and clean with a crisp freshness, smoky toast flavours and a creamy mouthfeel and long, smooth finish from the wine’s time on lees. Overall the wine is complex, balanced and full flavoured, and is ready to drink now, or will mature for up to ten years. It is ideal with full-flavoured fish, lighter meats and mild spicy Asian dishes." The label adds: "Skin contact, oak fermentation and four months oak maturation ... make the wine full of flavour and complexity." Vintages release September 3, 2005. My notes: Comes with a screwcap. Colour is light lemon with a nose of light lemon drop and slight hay - didn't get the toast. Medium-bodied with light creaminess through a citrus crispness. The finish is also strong citrus with a very light orange note. A little bit astringent for sipping without hors d'oeuvres; mild cheeses, cocktail weiners, etc. however cellaring for two years should mellow this. Pairing with seafood; grilled scallop skewers, spicy mussels, perhaps salmon or a Thai stirfry with lightly grilled chicken would be suitable.

WOLF BLASS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2003, South Australia, 11.5% D, #611475 $14.95 (Tasted September 5, 2005)

The LCBO says: "Medium straw colour; aromas of pear, melon and hay aromas; dry, light to medium bodied, well balanced, with fresh cut grass, lime and herb flavours. Serve with Jambalaya, steamed asparagus, grilled veggies or herbed fish dishes." The label adds nothing and oddly the WB website doesn't list a WB South Australia Sauvignon Blanc. My notes: The nose is a light pineapple and lemon-lime and colour is a soft lemon. Flavour is crisp evenly balanced with tropical fruit and lip smacking tartness. Finish is long and evenly divided between soft fruit and acid making this a reasonable sipper. Paired with grilled chicken thigh pieces seasoned with teriyaki it held its own. Should be good with a variety of seafoods, Thai or Chinese foods, and pork or ham. Not a Cloudy Bay but a reasonably priced 'house white'.

CONCHO Y TORO CASILLERO DEL DIABLO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004, Central Valley, Chile, 13.0% XD, #578641 $10.95 (Tasted September 13, 2005)

The LCBO says: "Pale straw colour; aromas of citrus, melon and with grassy notes; dry, medium bodied, clean and crisp with lime and light tropical fruit flavours; zesty acidity on the finish. Serve with grilled trout, antipasti or vegetarian appetizers. " This is a General listing. The Casillero del Diablo website describes the 2004 vintage, composed of "grapes from Maule (44%), Maipo (25%), Casablanca (25%), and Curico(6%) valleys... fermented 100% in stainless steel and aged for 3 to 6 months sur lie. The colour is straw with green hues, nose is fresh and citric with hints of gooseberries and tropical fruit and the taste is gentle, round and mouth filling with crisp acidity." My notes: Colour is a very light straw and a pleasant nose of light gooseberry-lemon. A light grapefruit and citrus flavour with a crisp edge that almost overpowers the light 'sur lie' cream. A distinct grassiness on a short finish. An OK sipper better with soft cheeses, salt mackerel on crackers or with a nippy salsa dip. Have with white fish grilled or battered, grilled scallop skewers, perhaps chicken slices on greens. Seems like a drink-now wine.

OYSTER BAY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004, Marlborough, New Zealand, 12.5% D, #316570 $16.95 (Tasted September 14, 2005)

James Halliday of The Weekend Australian (July 24, 2004) says: "The 2004 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc is a harbinger of much more to come from this region and may cause nervousness among Australian sauvignon winemakers who charge rather more for their wines. It has fragrant crystal-clear passionfruit and lemon blossom aromas, delicate but intense fruit flavours and excellent overall balance. It's not a wine to ponder on but to gulp down with say gourmet fish and chips or anything else marine. Rated 90. " A Vintages release. My notes: A staple Vintages white for some time Oyster Bay SB has been consistently better value vintage to vintage. A bright golden blond in the glass and in the taste with the full crispness and flavour of passionfruit. The passionfruit nose and light creaminess prolongs sipping pleasure. The balanced flavours and long crisp finish pairs nicely with any grilled seafood, Thai food or Chinese stirfries with sticky rice. A drink-now white and although not quite the fullness of a Cloudy Bay is half the price.

LOUIS JADOT POUILLY-FUISSE 2002, Beaune, France, 13.0% XD, #732917 $34.95 (Tasted September 18, 2005)

A Vintages release October 9, 2004. Vintages says: "While some Pouilly-Fuissés age very well, the majority are designed to be enjoyed in the first 3-4 years. As with Chablis, the accent is on fruit; oak is not or only circumspectly employed. Jadot's Pouilly-Fuissé proved popular on last release." My notes: A golden blond colour and fully aromatic nose of soft lemon and wild flowers. Flavours of bright citrus, pear and pineapple with a light creaminess and well balanced for dry sipping or with grilled chicken breast, seafoods or not-too-spicy rice dishes. A long finish of pear and granny smith apple. Has cellared well but likely will not improve further.

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