Monday, January 02, 2006

January Whites (8): Portugal V.V., Canada ?, France Musc, Italy Soave, Chile Blend, Argentina Pin Grig, New Zealand Sauv Bl, France Fumee Bl

SOGRAPE GAZELA VINHO VERDE, Vinho Verde, Portugal, 9.0% D, #141432 $8.05 (Retasted January 12, 2006)

A General listing of which the LCBO says: "Pale yellow straw colour; light fruit aromas with citrus and mineral notes; dry, light bodied, with delicate fresh fruit flavours; tart and refreshing with a spritzy finish. Serve chilled as an aperitif, with shellfish or fried fish." The label says: "Gazela is a fresh, young and fruity light dry wine, well balanced by a fresh acidity and a lively fruity finish. etc. " My notes: Very similar to 'Zonte' in nose (no yeast tho') and flavour but with a slightly warmer finish. No bubbles of course and hardly detectable spritz except for the fringe at liquid level and a light zip. Not the fruity Gazela I remember tasting a year ago but still a refreshing sipper, with or without tapas or salsa. Serve as a summer quaffer on the patio adding a slice of lemon or lime - for sure, not a white wine alternative.

VINCOR ZONTE SOLA NERO, Ontario, Canada, 7.0% D, #621946 $7.95 (Tasted January 11, 2006)

A General listing. My notes: A crown cap that can be 'corked' using a champagne stopper (but isn't meant to be). Large bubbles that disappear quickly although the spritz remains to refresh. Light-bodied and clear with almost a yeasty nose rather than fruit. Flavours are just perceptible citrus and lightly tart. With a two sugar code the sweetness is well balanced, ie. not apparent. More of a drink now spritz sipper to go with mild cheeses or scoops and hummous than a white wine for a meal. Or have with pancakes and maple syrup or red pepper and tomato soup with toasted bacon sandwiches, but nothing heavy. Myself, I'd go for a Perrier or a vinho verde at the same price range.

SAUVION & FILS MUSCADET SUR LIE 2004, Loire, France, 12.0% XD, #143016 $9.15 (Retasted January 10, 2006)

The LCBO writes: "Light straw colour; light gooseberry, apple, lemon and mineral aromas; dry, with crisp acidity, clean citrusy fruit and snowpea flavours on palate with yeasty notes in finish. Serve chilled as an aperitif; with shellfish and seafood; perfect with oysters on the half-shell." A General listing. My notes: 100% Melon de Bourgogne grape, now lowered in price from $9.90 the nose of the 2004 vintage is light lemon drop and honey, a touch of grassiness. Colour is light yellow with a green tint with a slight lie residue. A lightish bodied sipper not tart but crisp, not creamy as could be expected being 'sur lie', can go off chill without losing sippabiity. Lemon drop and apple carries over into the flavours but not much else. The finish is refreshing and long - didnt get any 'yeasty notes'. The 2002 and 2003 vintages were tasted Aug 3, 2005 and had the 'lie' creaminess, still within the ballpark of this one. Have with any shellfish and seafood appetizer or meal - should be great! Cellaring for a year or even two could be interesting.

INAMA SOAVE CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2004, Veneto, Italy, 12.0% XD, #949768 $16.95 (Tasted January 8, 2006)

"Winemaker Stefano Inama is one of the Young Turks of northeastern Italy..... The grapes used for the Soave Classico are estate-owned, from 20 to 30-year-old vines.... Inama fermented and aged the 100 percent Garganega wine in stainless steel vats.... the 2003 vintage is light yellow .... and possesses an elegant nose of sweet field flowers such as chamomile, elder flower and iris." Vintages says: "Inama is one of the region's finest producers, creating dynamic, flavourful, impactful wines in a region that generally is not known for same. Enjoy with steamed mussels, grilled salmon, sushi or grilled chicken." A Vintages release January 7, 2006. My notes: A strong yellow hue with a slightly grassy nose, not the meadowland flowers of the 2003 vintage. A medium-to full-bodied well balanced white with faint flavours of lemon and honeydew. The finish is smooth and lasting with no distinct fruit. A drink now white.... no interest as a sipper better paired with shellfish: fresh oysters, spicy mussels, or grilled telapia. Soave (DOCG) has its niche and may not get much better than this.

CONCHA Y TORO 'TRIO' CHARDONNAY/PINOT GRIGIO/PINOT BLANC 2004, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 13.5% D, #433938 $12.95 (Tasted January 8, 2006)

Vintages release October 29, 2005. Vintages says: "We have a trio of 'Trios' this month beginning with this..... Concha y Toro believes that the three varieties combined, in this wine, bring unique strengths to the blend. Here, Chardonnay brings the body and tropical fruitiness, Pinot Grigio a crisp acidity and Pinot Blanc freshness and balance." The CyT website describes it as "Intense aroma to fresh fruits: tangy, honey, chirimoya, lime, lemon citrus." My notes: A clear blond with a soft citrus nose and a granny smith edge. Flavours are well balanced each contributing: chardonnay(70%) with body, pinot grigio(15%) with spice and mineral notes, pinot blanc(15%) with apple. The finish is long and silky. Although good on its own better with shellfish appetizers or mild cheeses and fruit. Pair with grilled seafood or seafood pastas. A drink now and a puzzler for those expecting a single varietal house white.

ARGENTO PINOT GRIGIO 2005, BODEGAS ESMERALDA, Mendoza, Argentina, 12.5% XD, #620492 $10.15 (Retasted January 3, 2006)

The LCBO writes: "Pale straw colour; peach and tropical fruit aromas; extra dry palate with medium body and crisp flavours. Serve with creamy pasta dishes, grilled shrimp or as an aperitif." The label says: "...has a greenish yellow colour. A nose of delicate floral aromas of jasmine and tropical fruits. The mouthfeel is light and clean with ripe pineapple and flavours of peach intermingled with notes of sweet spice and finishes with bright, crisp acidity." A General listing. My notes: The 2004 vintage was tasted a year ago (Jan 1, 2005) with the comment, 'a pleasing aftertaste' and 'a great value' at $9.95. This vintage is a pale yellow with an imperceptible nose definitely not 'floral'. A light pepper edge to a slight wild apple - has some body. The finish is fresh and short. A drink now with not much to attract a second sip. Uninteresting with grilled trout and baked potato with sour cream/butter except it refreshed the palate.

STONELEIGH MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2005, New Zealand, 13.5% D, #293043 $15.00 (Tasted January 2, 2006)

LCBO writes: "Pale straw colour; gooseberry, herbs and a hint of tropical fruit on the nose; dry and medium-bodied with a crisp finish. Serve with smoked salmon, asparagus risotto or herbed chicken." A General listing. My notes: Much the same as the 2004 vintage (Tasting notes: June 20, 2005) still with a screwtop. A light golden colour with a citrus and soft gooseberry nose. A delightful crisp sipper with tropical fruit aromas filling in grapefruit and gooseberry flavours. There is a pronounced tartness that refreshes between forkfuls of any shell fish or white fish entrees. A drink now white with a possibility of cellaring a year. Not a Cloudy Bay or Kim Crawford SB but several dollars less.

LES FUMÉES BLANCHES SAUVIGNON BLANC, JACQUES ET FRANCOIS LURTON, Languedoc, France, 12.0% D, #472555 $9.90 (Retasted January 03, 2006)

The LCBO says: "Pale straw colour; sweet melon, apple, mineral and grassy aromas; citrus, pear flavours, medium bodied with a soft finish. Serve with cold shrimp; pork tenderloin with pear and wild rice stuffing." The label says: "....captures all of the fresh, delicate floral aromas and crisp melon and spice flavours. Drink with lighter foods or simply as a delightful aperitif." A General listing. My notes: Now with a screwtop. and continues to be nonvintage. I last tasted Jan 12, 2005 with the comment, 'You won't find me spending more while this is available.' Well, some things don't repeat and, without being vintage, the change from excellent to ordinary is a guess. Definitely not NZ-style the nose is grassy with a slight spicy gooseberry. Flavours are citrus and Bosc pear with a crisp long creamy finish. A drink now white, even well chilled it's not a social sipper. Better paired with appetizers or with pan-fried/grilled white fishes, tapanades, grilled scallops basted with garlic and lemon or oysters Rockerfeller. If you like a crisp dry European SB it's still a value.

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