Monday, January 23, 2006

And more January Whites (7): Australia Chard, France Ries, Australia Chard/PN, Canada Chard Musq, France Pin Gris, Canada Pin Blan, Australia Pin Gris

YALUMBA 'Y SERIES' UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2004, South Australia, 13.5% XD, #625103 $11.95 (Tasted January 31, 2006)

Part of Vintages release on August 20, 2005 with comments of: "Fresh and fruity, with a steely edge to the pear and lime flavors. Drink now. (Harvey Steiman,, May 15, 2005)" The label describes this as ".... lively yellow in colour has a rich aroma of melon, grapefruit and a trickle of honey. Fresh tropical fruit flavours of peach, pineapple and fig give this wine texture and palateweight. ..." The website says: "Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay 2004 is pale yellow with green hues. The aroma is rich and intense showing melons, tropical fruit and peaches with a little lemon peel and a touch of honey. The palate has a vibrant texture and fruit flavours of peaches, some figs, nougat and passionfruit. Long even flavours finish with a refreshing citrus acidity that will drink well for 2-3 years." My notes: Comes with a screwcap. Let air briefly as the nose develops into a faint lime. A light blond with a slight green hue and medium-bodied with good brightness and a flavour that is a just perceptible melon, nougat and pear. An acceptable sipper with fresh chardonnay fruit and a warm finish. OK paired with nut crusted chicken breast and roasted leeks - should be good with lightly flavoured seafood. Not a cellaring wine.

MUEHLFORST HUNAWIHR RIESLING 1999, Alsace, France, 12.5% XD, CP135-1765 $16.50 (Retasted January 29, 2006)

My notes: An Opimian selection cellared May 2001 and last tasted June 2005 with the comment that Opimian's description was a 'bit over the top', (ie. 'fabulous example of the steely, crystal-cut flavours of the riesling grape... richness of the fruit is intertwined with aromas of ripe pineapple and orange.') but it is still steely with a nose of light petrol and orange. The colour is a light blond and body is medium and smooth with faint flavours of pineapple and lime. The finish is long and lip smacking succulent, excellent for casual sipping, with seafood appetizers or grilled scallops, shrimp, telapia or brook, rainbow or salmon trout - any lightly seasoned fish. Ageing has mellowed this white and won't improve it further at this point.

DE BORTOLI 'EMERI' CHARDONNAY/PINOT NOIR BRUT, Riverina, NSW, Australia, 11.5% D, #652909 $15.95 (Tasted January 28, 2006)

Vintages release on April 2, 2005 and described as "This classy sparkling wine is named for Emeri De Bortoli, the clan's matriarch. The Chardonnay here was fermented using the Charmat method and the Pinot was bottle fermented before being blended together. An excellent value." Kerry Skinner, Illawarra Mercury, 8 December 2004 writes: "It’s a real value-for-money with peach and stonefruit aromas on the nose which flow to the palate, its bread-like characters and delicate, crisp peach flavours. Drink it with antipasto." and from the website, "A vibrant straw yellow with a fine, consistent bead. A bouquet of stonefruit and peach is predominant on the nose with light yeasty characters adding subtle complexity. A palate that is of light peach flavours from the chardonnay combine with subtle “bready” characters producing a full flavoured yet elegant style of wine. Soft and full on the palate, 'Emeri' finishes crisp and flavoursome. Serve well chilled as a pre-dinner drink, with freshly shucked oysters or antipasto." My notes: A light blond with lots of large bubbles initially quickly ebbing as streams to ring the glass - not moussey. Nose is initially yeasty with some peach fuzz aromas and mild apple and peach flavours with a 'brut'ness to freshen the palate. For those that like a more tart bubbly, but not an 'extra brut', it's a bright sipper with an even finish. Good with fresh oysters, a shrimp ring or shaved italian meats with mild cheeses. With those qualifications it's a good value.

CAVE SPRING CHARDONNAY MUSQUE 2004, Jordan, Canada, 14.0% D, #246579 $14.95 (Tasted January 27, 2006)

A Vintages release October 15, 2005 and described as ".... lively aromas of spice and orange blossom, balanced with a gentle crispness and a warm finish. Serve it with pan-roasted grouper or baked ham and you'll see this wine is not just cloning around." Gord Stimmell says "....with peach and honeysuckle accents perfect for folks gathering in the kitchen." and rates it 90. The website says: "Full bodied with intensely aromatic spice and orange blossom character, a viscous mouth-feel and plenty of acidity for balance. .....its unique and powerful aromatics and flavours are best appreciated in the first 3 years. Serve with fish paella or bouillabaisse; pan-roasted grouper, halibut or sea bass; or grilled and marinated vegetables." My notes: Don't serve chilled - just cooled.... a distinct lemon colour with a faint nose of citrus and a floral-mineral taint. The flavours range from lemon to pineapple offset with a balanced tartness. Medium-bodied with a smooth (viscous) finish and a citrus peal overtone. Still dry but with some residual sugar.... a slight chardonnay heritage but not a muscat I could discern. Have with any traditional appetizers but better with seafood dishes. Cellaring may mellow and integrate but not improve fruit level. Not a big investment and a different addition to the cellar.

PFAFFENHEIM 'CUVEE RABELAIS' TOKAY PINOT GRIS 2004, Alsace, France, 13.5% D, #999342 $19.95 (Tasted January 26, 2006)

A Vintages release on January 7, 2006 and described as "Alsatian Pinot Gris is increasingly fashionable, and this example illustrates why. Its aromas suggest honeyed fruit, including peach and pear, plus a texture of smoke and mineral, this Pinot Gris is just off-dry, round and soft, full-bodied and quite rich. Enjoy with a variety of dishes from mildly spiced Asian food to traditional choucroute garni. (Vintages panel, June 2005)." My notes: A light straw, no peach hue, with honeyed citrus, pear and smoke aromas. Medium-bodied with flavours of citrus and mango with a long finish of tropical fruit and light honey, off-dry but lightly balanced with acid. A pleasant sipper and held its own with a lunch of romaine greens, caesar dressing and grilled marinated shrimp. Cellaring for up to a few years will further integrate the honey and fruit into a well rounded white for appetizers: mild cheeses, bacon-wrapped scallops, cocktail sausage on picks, grilled chicken wings or pair with middle eastern and asian dishes.

GRAY MONK PINOT BLANC 2004, BC, Canada, 13.1% XD, #321612 $15.95 (Tasted January 26, 2006)

Vintages released on January 21, 2006 saying: "The 2004 is bursting with tropical fruit, textured gooseberry and melon notes on the palate and good acidity underneath. Perfect with barbecued salmon. (Tim Pawsey, North Shore News, August 29, 2005)". Beppi writes "Medium-bodied and completely unoaked, it's soft and silky, with a floral perfume and nuances of candied lemon and melon." The website describes this wine as, "Pale straw in colour, this wine has a fruity aroma suggesting pears, herbs and light spice. It is packed with fresh and sweet fruit flavours, including ripe pears, apples and melons. Supple and full in texture, the wine has a dry finish. Serve chilled with seafood, poultry or mild cheese." The label says: "...displays aromas of ripe tropical fruit, ...citrus and gooseberry flavours as well as hints of passionfruit and green melons. etc." My notes: A light straw blond with a nose as described by the label. A smooth texture on the palate with nicely balanced acid and citrus, passionfruit and melon flavours, a very pleasant sipper. The finish is moderate again with soft tropical fruit off-dry and not tart. Was great with grilled Atlantic salmon filets, refried potatos and peas. Could cellar well one or two years but an excellent drink-now value.

CUTTAWAY HILL ESTATE PINOT GRIS 2005, New South Wales, Australia, 14.0% D, #661983 $14.95 (Tasted January 23, 2006)

A Vintages release on January 21, 2006 and described: "Among its growing number of accolades, Cuttaway Hill Estate, was recently given an overall winery rating of 4 1/2 (out of 5) by James Halliday. The winery is nestled in the side of... Cuttaway Hill in the cool climate region of the Southern Highlands. 2005 is considered an excellent vintage in the region. Look for pear and fig aromas and a generous mouthfeel from this rich Pinot Gris." Gord Stimmell writes: "...fresh lime, ripe pear flavours" and rates it an 89. My notes: A screwcap and a rich blond with a peach hue. Aromas of honey, orange and a touch of wild clover, albeit faint. Flavours include ripe pear, crisp as with a lime edge and full in the mouth. Finish is moderate, again, with a cleansing lime edge. An interesting light slightly spicy sipper and was OK with grilled ham steak and scalloped potatoes. Likely better with seafoods: grilled telapia, swordfish, grouper, or bouillabaise. A very nice drink-now medium-bodied dry white.

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