Thursday, February 23, 2006

And more Feb Whites (4): Canada Chard(2), France Blend, Australia Blend

HENRY OF PELHAM NON-OAKED CHARDONNAY 2004, St. Catherines, Canada, 13.0% D, #291211 $11.95 (Tasted February 26, 2006)

BBB describes this as 'best house white of 2005'. The LCBO says: "Pale golden yellow colour; green apple, grapefruit and pears with hint of spice on the nose and palate;dry, medium-bodied with fresh, crisp acidity and citrus finish. Serve with fresh fish, oysters or chicken." The website says: "The wine was fermented completely in stainless steel with aging 'sur lie'... to bring complexity and depth of flavour. Bright and aromatic with flavours ranging from vibrant apple to citrusy grapefruit. True cool climate chardonnay character!" My notes: Very pale blond with perhaps some apple or grapefruit nose. Light -bodied, a tart sensation with a very light creamy and little distinct flavours. The finish is crisp and short, some pucker and an accumulated dryness. OK with pancakes covered with syrup, butter and back bacon. No interest as a sipper, a nondescript meal white, not cellarable.

MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2003 VQA, Okanagan, Canada, 13.5% XD, #545004 $18.95 (Tasted February 25, 2006)

A Vintages release October 15, 2005 and described as "Best of the West. Aromas of citrus, apple blossom and spices. A veritable fruit basket on the palate with zesty acidity and a medium finish. Mission Hill was named Best BC Winery in 2003 by Northwest Palate Magazine. Enjoy with roast turkey or pork tenderloin." The label says: "big and luscious with flavours of ripe pineapple and hints of guava, lime zest, toasted hazelnuts and vanilla. .... balanced with a vibrant, juicy palate weight, food-friendly acidity and a harmonious finish...." Gismondi says: "87 points. Peach, green apple, fruit salad, mineral, honey, floral aromas with a slightly smoky note. Dry, crisp, tight style with elegance. Vanilla, dry lees, mineral, lime rind, green apple skin flavours with a floral, peach pit note. Nice elegance but very French in style." My notes: A light blond with a light citrus blossom nose. Medium-bodied with bright, citrus flavours - the acidity should carry through most seafood or light chicken dishes, risotto or creamy mushroom pastas. Was OK with grilled salmon and caesar salad. The finish is moderate, has a touch of cream and a crisp zest. A drink-now. Cellaring a year may increase the body but also moderate the fruit - worth a try.

LANSON BLACK LABEL BRUT CHAMPAGNE (NV), Champagne, France, 12.5% D, #041889 $44.95 (Tasted February 25, 2006)

A Vintages release December 10, 2005 and described as: "This bubbly showcases superb quality at an agreeable price. It is quite lively with toast, honey and floral aromas. Full-bodied with ripe citrus fruit flavours and a long finish. Wine Spectator blessed it with 91 points and it has been popping off the shelves. Perfect for a celebration dinner; especially good with crab cakes. An amazing value. From Vintages Essentials Collection - always available." The label says: "..a pleasant, exuberant wine - can be enjoyed at any time: as an aperitif, with food, or at all celebrations. Serve 8C to 10C." My notes: A crystal clear golden blond with a clean yeasty, white chocolate aroma. Pours with lots of medium to large bubbles, no froth. Full-bodied with a light cream and no distinct citrus flavour, not tart. The label is right... I could have it anytime, as a sipper or with fresh seafood tidbits including crabcakes. Has a long finish, cleansing to the palate and warming after a few sips. An excellent celibratory bubbly but shouldn't there be some 'mousseyness' at this price level?

ROSEMOUNT ESTATE CHARDONNAY SEMILLON 2004, South Eastern Australia, 12.5% D, #248971 $12.20 (Tasted February 23, 2006)

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." The label says: "displays aromas of honey and peach enhanced by crisp citrus from the semillon, the palate of ripe tropical flavours supported by a creamy mouthfeel... crisp clean finish." My notes: A light blond with a wildflower and light honey nose, tropical citrus with soft acids is the main structure with a touch of creaminess on the palate. A finish that is moderately long, bright, a touch of grass. Went well with creamed squash soup and broiled foccacia covered with reggiano and crushed garlic brushed with olive oil. A drink-now white for sipping or for white meat dishes; chicken, pork or cheesy, mushroom and seafood pastas.

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