Tuesday, October 04, 2005

October Whites(7): Australia Ries, USA Pinot Gris, Canada Pinot Gris, France Gewurz, South Africa Chenin B/Chard, Australia Chard Sem, Australia Chard

WOLF BLASS 'GOLD LABEL' RIESLING 2004, South Australia, 11.0% XD, #606269 $19.95 (Tasted October 4, 2005)

This is a Vintages release October 1, 2005. Vintages says: "Wolf Blass has had huge success with their expertly made 'Gold Label' series. Unique to this range is its regional designation. The grapes come specifically from the Eden and Clare Valleys. Eschewing cork for the more wine-friendly screwcap, the full line-up has been met with both critical acclaim and consumer excitement. Although he did not write a review for this 2004 Riesling, Australian wine expert, Jeremy Oliver (www.onwine.com.au, 2005), scored it a 93." My notes: Comes with a screwcap. A slight green tint to a blond hue and a wild flower and cold tea nose. The flavours have a citrus astringency, orange peel and slight tea stalkiness. A long finish of light petrol and citrus perhaps ending a bit flat. Sipping needs an appetizer: smoked oysters, salt mackerel, or cheese. Pair with any seafood. Cellaring for a year or two would add smoothness, complexity and improve integration.

HOGUE PINOT GRIS 2004, Columbia Valley, USA, 13.0% D, #624486 $12.95 (Tasted October 5, 2005)

Philips-Hogue is part of Canada's Vincor International who acquired it for $95 million in 2000. Philips produces about 750,000 cases per year and Hogue Cellars of Washington State makes about 450,000 cases. The Hogue Pinot Gris was the Best of Show (White Wine) and Gold Medal - 2004 San Diego National Wine Competition. The label says: "....snappy melon and stone-fruit flavours with hints of nuts, spice and honey. Enjoy with poultry, seafood and after a sunny day sailing." Gordon Stemmell says: "...a fresh affordable white... (Washington state wines) tend to echo 'great apple orchard' bright-flavoured fruit profile." This is a General release. My notes: Has a screwcap. The economy level of three Hogue Cellars brands: Hogue, Genesis, and Hogue Reserve. This pinot grigio is a light blond with a fresh lemon drop nose. Flavours of honey coated lemon, some pineapple and a layer of lime. The finish is moderate with a nice acid edge like a mild Courtland apple but falls away quickly. Didn't carry itself well with grilled salmon - the sweetness came through - nor with grilled Shopsy's dogs - better with sole stuffed with spinach and rice.

MALIVOIRE PINOT GRIS 2002, Niagara, Canada, 12.0%, #581305, $18.00 (Tasted October 7, 2005)

My notes: Vintages release July 26, 2003 and purchased from the winery. Cellared since November, 2003 and tasted January 2005 with the following note: "Has an artificial cork. The colour is a vibrant straw with a peach hue. Dry, round and lively, pear, citrus and honey on the palate. Should be great between seafood courses of spicy mussels, roasted scallops, etc. Full-bodied with a short but pleasant finish. None left in Ontario but look for the next release..... for sure. May be stalky at first but becomes more 'complex' with ageing." Tasted today this bottle has gone downhill. Still a pleasant golden with peach hue the nose is straw with a strong off-odor, very unpleasant. Flavour is well balanced without fruit or compensating appeal and, at least initially, has a strong 'rotting rubbish' taste perhaps a hangover from the nose. Decanting helps considerably.

HUNAWIHR VIN d'ALSACE GEWURTZTRAMINER RESERVE 2000, Alsace, France, 13.5% D, CP140-2072 $19.17 (Tasted October 9, 2005)

Opimian says: "The most successful clone, the 'Roter Traminer', reaches its zenith in Alsace where its extravagant bouquet leads to a richly flavoured compote of tropical fruits, with mango and lychee charging alongside peach and mandarin. Etc. It will gain great elegance as it matures. " . My notes: A golden blond cellared February, 2002. A benchmark gewurz. Subtle lemon and wild honey nose fills the glass. An elegant, soft texture with well balanced acid to refresh, tropical fruits to interest the taste buds, and an offset herbal touch - everything claimed. The long finish warms and soothes. Have at any excuse to sip a delicious white - scallops skewered with green pepper, onion pieces and bbq'd, sole stuffed with herbal treats, warmed wild mushroom tarts or shrimp basted in garlic, lemon, a few crushed chillie seeds and grilled.

ROBERT'S ROCK CHENIN BLANC-CHARDONNAY 2003, South Africa, 13.5% D, #501304 $7.45 (Tasted October 12, 2005)

The RR website says (2004 vintage): "The wine has a lively, greenish tint. An enticing nose with guava scents giving way to tropical aromas and a subtle vanilla finish, which leaves a lingering, complex mouthfeel." This is a General release. The LCBO says: "Pale lemon; dry and light-bodied with mineral, grass and gooseberry aromas and flavours; crisp and fresh on the finish, with a good balance of citrus and herbaceousness; hint of vanilla. Serve with aperitif; light seafood; patio fare." My notes: Cellared October 2003, recommended by Gord Stimmell. A crystal clear light yellow with a hint of green. Nose is a light pineapple and green grass blend. Flavour is pleasantly sharp with a hint of lemon and the finish is a long and smooth citrus. Went OK with grilled halibut, green beans and greens. Should go with bacon bits and cheese nibble, white seafood or scallops - nothing highly flavoured. A good value house white with the right entree.

ROSEMOUNT ESTATE CHARDONNAY/SEMILLON 2004, South Eastern Australia, 12.5% D, #248971 $11.95 (Tasted October 16, 2005)

This is a General release. The LCBO says: "Golden colour; tropical fruit and oak aroma; tropical fruit and vanilla flavour with citrus & smoky oak finish. Serve with smoked chicken & pasta." My notes: A blond tinge otherwise a clear colour with a nose of subdued lemon and distant wild flowers. The flavour is of honey and citrus with a slight smoothness, nicely balanced acids. Finish is moderately long with tropical fruit flavours tapering slowly. A pleasant sipper or with mild cheeses, asian cuisines, seafood, poultry or pork roast and mashed yams. A drink-now white.

DE BORTOLI DEEN 2004 VAT 7 CHARDONNAY, New South Wales, Australia, 14.0% D, #598896 $14.95* (Tasted October 20, 2005)

This is a General release (*reduced to $11.20 at a local outlet). Gord Stimmell says: "New, but a delicious sleeper on our shelves. Aromas include vanilla layers and spiced apple, with hints of floral acacia and melon. The flavours yield apple, butternut, coconut, lemon zest in a toasty oak style. The finish shows lime and coconut and lingering peachy character.. Have with king crab in butter. Rates as 88." The label says: "... typical ripe peach melon aromas and a rich full-bodied palate. " My notes: One of eight in the Deen Vat series from De Bartoli Winery, the Chardonnay colour is a faint blond with a hint of green. The nose is light, toasty with a lemon/pineapple focus and bright without being tart. Flavours, expanding as chill goes off the glass, of granny smith, honey, lemon and touch of butter. and the finish is long leaving a warm reminder of the flavours. Was great but at its match with grilled salmon steak - should be great with scallops, shrimp, white fish entrees or mild cheeses. Will develop more butter if cellared for a few years. Even at full price this is good value IMHO.

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