Saturday, May 27, 2006

More May Whites (4): NZ Sauv Blanc, Australia Blend, Italy Brut(2)

BABICH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2005, Marlborough, NZ, 13.5% XD, #560144 $16.95 (Tasted May 31, 2006)

A Vintages release May 27, 2006 and described as "The 2005 vintage reflects the rising input of grapes from the company's Cowslip Valley vineyard in the Waihopai Valley, described by Babich as giving ‘riper, less herbaceous' fruit characters than its Awatere Valley and Wairau Valley vineyards. It's a fleshy, full-bodied wine ... with tropical-fruit flavours to the fore, moderate acidity, good freshness, dryness and depth, and great drinkability. Score - 4 (out of 5). (Michael Cooper, Buyer's Guide to New Zealand Wines 2006)." The Babich website describes this as "a lifted and pungent bouquet, with passion fruit and pineapple fighting for dominance among a fruit salad of contenders. The palate is powerful and rich. Flavours of gooseberry and pear join the tropical fruit following on from the nose. The wine is weighty and has a lingering and crisp finish." rates it four 1/2 stars (of five) saying "The quintessential nose of passion fruit and minerality sets up this medium-bodied SB nicely. The flavour profile is all about ripe fruit flavours (guava, melon and pineapple) that are balanced off with zingy (lemon) acidity. This has excellent structure and balance right through to the clean, laser-like finish. Sip on its own or try with smoked salmon with cream cheese and caper berries.... Quality to price ratio tipped heavily in your favour. (VH)." My notes: A very light blond with a pronounced gooseberry nose. The flavour is pleasantly tart balancing gooseberry, melon and kiwi fruit. The finish starts as bright fruit and fades as lemon pucker and grass. Lost it with cold lobster pieces and baked potato. Perhaps a mild whitefish, broiled or baked with rissoto would be more appropriate. A drink-now.

ALICE WHITE SEMILLON CHARDONNAY 2005 TETRA, South Eastern Australia, 13.5% D, 500ml, #665497 $7.95 (Tasted May 30, 2006)

A General release with no description on the LCBO website but states that it's a 'Hardy Wine Company' product. Hardy is a Constellation Brands Inc. winery, however the Hardy website doesn't list the 'Alice White' brand. The Roo's Rack website, a U.S. marketing outlet for Alice White wines, describes this as "A refreshing, lighter-bodied wine with aromas of pear, melon and green apple. This delicate blend is 60% semillon and 40% chardonnay." My notes: The first 'tetra pak' I've tried although with premonitions of 'wines of mass production' leaping through my head. Grapes for this white can be collected from anywhere in South Eastern Australia under Australian wine production regulations. A light blond, a slightly perceptible grassy nose and flavours to match; some melon and pear but predominantly grassy with a mouthfeel that's full, not sweet perhaps glycerine-like. The finish is soft and grassy. No interest as a sipper - flat and 'off' ... would go with chicken entrees or seafood if you're stuck with a tetra or two.... not recommended imho.

SANTA MARGHERITA PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE BRUT, Veneto, Italy, 11.5% D, #687582 $17.95 (Tasted May 28, 2006)

A Vintages release on May 27, 2006 and described as "From the producers of the most popular wine in our Essentials Collection, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (#106450), comes this fresh, flavourful, crowd-pleasing sparkling wine. Enjoy it as a reception wine or with light pasta or fish dishes." The website says of this Prosecco "The Charmat method is used for this wine, this being the most suitable procedure if sparkling wines are to be made from very highly-flavoured grapes. Sparkling wine with a clean nose, pleasantly fruity, with whiffs of rennet apples and peach blossoms. Delicate, balanced taste. Excellent as an aperitif, ideal with small fish or cheese snacks or all-meal with delicate dishes. Serve at 8°-10°C (46°-50°F)" My notes: A light yeasty birthday cake nose and tiny bubbles that bring pear and apple flavours to the palate. Dry enough to be tart but there's creamy, sweet fruit in the body. The finish is long fading into mellow melon and light lemon. Have with any seafood: cold appetizers or hot pasta dishes or festive occasion. A drink-now but could cellar up to two years - longer if a drier bubbly is preferred.

FOSS MARAI PROSECCO EXTRA DRY 'BLUE BOTTLE', Italy, 11.5% XD, #729392 $17.95 (Tasted May 27, 2006)

A Vintages release on May 13, 2006 and described as "A well made prosecco with fruit depth and lively acidity that would work nicely as an aperitif. Fresh and enticing nose of lemon, grapefruit and a touch of spice. Sufficient fruit concentration for the money. Crisp, clean and dry with good balance and length. Score - 87 (Jeff Davis, Wine Access, 'First In Line E-Report', Sept. 2005)." The website says " presented with a variety of aromas, with a distinctive harmonious mingle of acacia and apple. The taste continues with a sensation of bitter fruit, where the acidity and residual sugar are splendidly harmonised, leaving a velvety sensation to the palate, stimulated by the co2, never too pungente, but stimulating to the right point." My notes: An attractive thin-necked blue bottle.... and I can't add too much to the website's review... it's a soft, pleasant bubbly with enough flavours for interest and a continuous stream of fine bubbles for liveliness. 'Extra Dry'? I don't think so. The residual sugar is well balanced and consequently hidden by the acidity producing a smooth, creamy finish with light grapefruit, almond and a toastiness. From chilled to almost room temperature it's a great drink-now on any occasion or with any seafood, mild cheese or Italian shaved meat appetizer.

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