Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More November Whites (4): Canada Chard, Italy Soave, France Muscadet, Canada Gewurz-Riesling

BLACK PRINCE FIRST CRUSH CHARDONNAY 2003, Prince Edward County, Canada, 14.0% D, SO39-2642 $16.00 (Retasted November 15, 2005)

Opimian says: "A blend of PE County and Californian grapes.... tropical flavours predominate altho' citrus toffee nuances are apparent to the diligent taster. No oak ... no malolactic fermentation. ... so no oak nor butter.... but clean. Medium-bodied, one to two years cellaring." My notes: Cellared September 2004 and tasted May 2005 with the comment 'Light-bodied with tart natural citrus flavours. .... save for a summer sangria.' Still a light lemon colour with an aromatic lemon nose. Flavour is of tart citrus with a longer finish than in May, warm on the palate with lingering melon and lemon. Paired well with grilled salmon, also with a lemon chicken and rice casserole. Cellaring for another year could mellow some more of the acidity to improve sippability.

FOLONARI SOAVE 2004, Calmasino, Italy, 11.5% D, #176461 $9.45 (Tasted November 17, 2005)

The LCBO writes: "Pale straw colour, light citrus aromas, crisp citrus and mild almond flavours, crisp dry finish. Serve with finger foods, shellfish." A General listing. My notes: A blond hue with soft aromas of wildflowers and citrus. Light-bodied with sharp, clean citrus flavours and, with a long and sharp lemon/lime finish, it's not meant as a sipper (for me) but pairs OK with white fish dishes, creamy shellfish pastas or hard cheeses. A drink-now white.

CHEREAU-CARRE 'LE FLEURON' MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE 2003, Loire, France, 12.0% XD, #653493 $13.95 (Tasted November 22, 2005)

Vintages writes: "Think you know what Muscadet tastes like? Crisp, clean and refreshing, right? True, in most years, but with the hot 2003 vintage you'll also get riper, bigger fruit flavours." A Vintages release May 14, 2005. My notes: The Robert Parker Jr. guide (November 1, 2005) rates the Loire valley 2003 vintage year as 92 so I had to try a 2003 Muscadet sur lie. A golden yellow with fragrant wildflowers, citrus and honey aromas.... full flavour of apricot and melon, slight creaminess balanced by acidity and has a long round finish. An eloquent dry sipper by itself or with raw oysters, cold shrimp and dip or paired with any seafood dish, even roasted chicken breast or cold ham slices - went well with grilled turbot topped lightly with a roasted red pepper and garlic sauce. Finishes with a slight grassy crispness now, not unpleasant, and should cellar well up to five years - but will try after two. A great value.

PILLITTERI ESTATES GEWURZTRAMINER-RIESLING 2003, Niagara, Canada, 12.0% D (SC2), #349126 $10.05 (Tasted November 29, 2005)

The label says: "An elegant and light bodied wine with 70% gewurztraminer which contributes lovely spice and lychee nut characters blended with 30% riesling which provide structure with citrus tones. Perfect with every meal especially those that are spicy and oily as the subtle sweetness and crisp acid cleanse the palate." A General listing and non VQA (a shortfall in Niagara was backfilled with Italian (Fruili) fruit). My notes: Has a clear light straw hue and a spicy nose with a petrol twist . The acid tries to counter balance the sugar but a sweet fullness overwhelmed my palate. An oily grassiness 'finishes' the finish - this airs out slowly. If you like 'sweet' this is a sweet white sipper better paired with flavoured cheeses or shellfish with a tangy dip - needs a strongly flavoured seafood, roasted chicken, Thai or Sechuan dish to complement the flavours. Awarded a Bronze by the International Wine & Spirits Competition (UK) and a Silver at the 2005 Toronto Wine and Cheese Show by the Sommelier Guild of Canada.

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