KIM CRAWFORD UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2001, Marlborough, New Zealand 12.5% XD, #991950 $18.95 (Retasted November 5, 2005)
A Vintages release. The website describe the 2001 vintage as: "Pale straw with touches of green and gold. Perfumed Chardonnay, reminiscent of white peaches. Grapefruit and hazelnut aromas are underscored by the butterscotch of malolactic. A very full palate, characterised by great fruit intensity, with peach, mango and pineapple balanced with malolactic sweetness. This is a powerful wine, with integrated flavours and great balance that persists well. An unusual style of wine with great intensity of flavour and no taste of oak. This invigorating wine will cellar well, improving for the next four years or so." My notes: A convenient screwtop. Cellared December, 2002 and last tasted March, 2005 when it had more peach fuzz aroma and 'lees' presence. Still a light straw colour but with a distinct tropical fruit aroma, some lemon/lime and nutty softness. Integrated flavours of pineapple, grapefruit with balanced acidity and light caramel. Finish is moderate, light and smooth. Went well with grilled salmon and greens. Drinking well now but may improve still.
KIM CRAWFORD MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004, Marlborough, New Zealand 12.5% XD, # $19.95 (Retasted November 13, 2005)
Vintages says: "Explosively aromatic, brimming with spice, herb and peppery character, surprisingly docile in the mouth, with lovely pear, apple, melon and mineral flavors that linger enticingly. Impeccably balanced. Drink now. Score: 91. (Harvey Steiman, www.winespectator.com, Oct. 15, 2004)" My notes: Last tasted May 2005. still a very aromatic nose... mostly of wild flowers and gooseberries. Taste is full of mild gooseberries, tropical fruit and honey with some tannin overtones that leave a drying aftertaste. Should be cellared for a year to introduce more smoothness but pleasant as a sipper now with or without shellfish appetizers and great with any seafoods, roast pork or even ham. My notes: Last tasted May 2005. still a very aromatic nose... mostly of wild flowers and gooseberries. Taste is full of mild gooseberries, tropical fruit and light honey with some tannin overtones that leave a drying aftertaste. Could be cellared for a year or two to introduce more smoothness but pleasant as a sipper now with or without shellfish appetizers and great with any seafoods, roast pork or even ham.
MARGAN HUNTER VALLEY SEMILLON 2001, New South Wales, Australia, 13.5% XD, #961516 $13.95 (Tasted November 7, 2005)
Vintages says of the 2002 vintage (@$11.95, released July 10, 2004.): "Margan's Hunter Valley Semillon has a little more impact and strength than the regional norm. It has lemon and lanolin aromas of more intensity than most and a smooth, slightly smoky flavour that should build complexity with a year or two. (Huon Hooke & Ralph Kyte Powell, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Living Uncorked Wine Guide, Winter 2003)." My notes re 2001: Cellared July 2003, the 2001 was a Gold medal winner and continues to improve. (At its release the 2002 was tasted and was a disappointment.) The 2001 is now a deep golden straw with rich aromas of tangerine, lemon and butterscotch - no lanolin to me. Clean flavours of lemon and tangerine - no smoke - with a crisp follow through of light lemon lingering as the palate warms to the alcohol. Went nicely with grilled pickerel and carrots the first night and the next with whole chicken turned on a spit with roasted potato. Should be able to cellar for another year or two.
STONE GABLES CHARDONNAY 2003 (DISTELL), South Africa, 13.5% XD, CP150-2566 (Opimian) $16.50 (Retasted November 7, 2005)
Opimian said about this wine: "...Full and rich, yet impressions are so elegant. etc. " The back label says: "Imagine picking a ripe juicy grape straight from the vine and biting it..... this is pure fruit, etc." My notes: Cellared April, 2004 and last tasted May 16, 2005. A good value conclusion at that time, it's still a light lemon with a perfume of lemon and lime. Crisp citrus flavours with more lemon than lime, perhaps starfruit, but not as much creaminess as last tasting. Cleansing to the palate with a pleasant citrus and mango aftertaste. No harm in cellaring another year but goes well now with seafood dishes or tasty appetizers, eg. wild mushroom tarts - a slight grassiness came through with rotisseried chicken. A light-bodied unoaked chardonnay.
SANDHILL BURROWING OWL PINOT BLANC 2002. BC, Canada, 12.5% #541185 $14.00 (Retasted Movember 11, 2005)
The label says: "...partly barrel fermented in American oak and stirred on its lees during ageing, giving it a smooth texture, etc. " My notes: Released by Vintages in February 2004, cellared and last tasted at that time when 'it has a delicate granny smith nose. Gala apple without the sweetness.. and a thin honey roundness. etc.'. Still has the nose and, if anything, a more pronouncd honey note and Gala apple flavours. A long soft tangerine peel finish making it a delightful sipper with or without nibbles of mild cheeses or foccacia layered with tomato, basil and asiago. Went well with telapia covered with tartar and grilled. Will likely cellar another year or two.
JOOSTENBERG CHENIN BLANC 2004, Elsenburg, South Africa, 13.5% D, #660589 $12.95 (Tasted November 13, 2005)
Vintages writes: "This Chenin is honest, flavourful wine with guava and passionfruit flavours reined in by a crisp green apple acidity that should keep it fresh and lively for several years to come. Great value. Drink 2005-2012. Score - 90 (Simon Woods, Wine International, Oct. 2005)." A Vintages release November 12, 2005. My notes: A light blond colour with a lemon and melon nose. Medium- to light-bodied with apple and citrus flavours with refreshing tartness and a smidge of honey on the lips. The finish is green apple with lasting melon. A reasonable if slightly tart sipper but better with a vegetable or cheese tray. Went well with grilled telapia and would be great with most seafood dishes or cheesy macaroni casseroles. Should round out further if cellared for two or more years.