Thursday, June 01, 2006

June Whites (9): Chile Sauv Blanc, Australia Chard, Australia Bubbles, France Muscadet, France Pinot Gris(2), Canada Vidal, NZ Viognier, Canada Chard

SANTA RITA SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVE 2005, Casablanca/Leyda, Chile, XD 13.5%, #275677 $12.55 (Tasted June 21, 2006)

A General listing described as "Straw yellow colour; Intense herbal, grassy, cooked asparagus and gooseberry aromas; Dry, medium bodied with gooseberry/citrus and mint flavours; pronounced acidity on finish. Serve with seafood, goat cheese, vegetarian dishes, herbed dishes." The website says (2004 vintage) "Grapes are from Casablanca Valley 95%, Leyda 5%. The colour is a pale straw green colored wine; intense varietal aroma with dominant characters of grapefruit, citrus blooms, apricots and a black currant background of cassis tones. Good potency and concentration, a balanced wine with good acidity and a long lingering aftertaste." My notes: A floral nose full of gooseberries and sweet honey. Colour is light golden, crystal clear in the glass and crisp flavours of gooseberries and citrus. Finishes long, dry, clean and fruity. A good sipper or have with seafood: cold or hot. Should be able to cellar for a few years but drinking well now.

LINDEMANS BIN 65 CHARDONNAY 2005, South Eastern Australia, D 13.5%, #142117 $9.95* (Tasted June 19, 2006)

A General release described as "Light yellow gold colour; floral with citrus and vanilla aromas; ripe fruit flavours; soft clean finish. Serve with grilled shrimps; lemon chicken; tuna steak." and reduced one dollar until mid July. My notes: A Southcorp Wines winery. A faint blond colour with a light tropical citrus, gooseberry and honey nose. The acid is well balanced with light flavours of soft citrus - no butter nor butterscotch but a touch of 'sur lies' creaminess - no oak apparent. Medium- to light-bodied finishing with a touch of oil on the lips, clean without being crisp. Should be able to cellar for a year or two but essentially a drink-now with white fish dishes, baked salmon and dill, creamy pastas as long as not spicy. If you expect an unoaked chard its OK at the reduced price imho.

YELLOWGLEN 'YELLOW', Australia, 11.2% D, #592980 $11.95 (Retasted June 15, 2006)

My notes: Cellared and then tasted June 2005 (see Archives) with the following comment "One of 'Yellow, Pink and Red' from Yellowglen (a Beringer Blass company), the colour is very pale blond with a soft yeasty citrus nose. Lots of fine but not moussy bubbles that sparkle on the palate. Flavour is a light lemony honeydew, extra dry without the bite of a brut. The finish accumulates pleasantly on the tongue and is still spritzy after several minutes etc." This tasting I had with some 'President Choice' shortbread cookies and everything mellowed well. Just goes to show what it could do with oysters, mussels, etc. A relaxing bubbly with enough tartness to surprise the palate and enough yeastiness to be smooth. A value at the price..... I've heard the next Vintages release will be in August along with Yellowglen's 'Pink' - can't wait!!! Hopefully it won't be 'tiered lower' or priced higher. A drink-now value but has cellared well for the last year.

CAVE VINICOLE A HUNAWIHR HAUT-RHIN TOKAY PINOT GRIS 1999, Alsace, France, 13.5% D, #CP135-1763 $20.67 (Tasted June 14, 2006)

Ordered from Opimian and cellared in 2001 their writeup describes this white as having "the exquisitely pure Tokay characters which pile the flavours of one exotic fruit upon another. It already has an enviable balance but the underlying richness of the vintage needs more time to develop the rounded, low acid appeal which will combine a delicate log smoke impression with hints of rich spice and freshly roasted almonds." My notes: Now is a rich golden straw with aromas of wildflowers, honey, and spicy tropical fruit perhaps a combination of light papaya and melon. A full-bodied medley of tropical fruit with well balanced acids and a round mouthfeel. The finish is moderate leaving a light pear-almond flavouring. Is a pleasant aperitif (OK even when the chill goes) but better with cold chicken on greens, smoked salmon, pork-rice wraps or Thai. Has survived an extended cellaring nicely but won't improve from here.

DOMAINE DE GRAND MAISON MUSCADET DE SÈVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE 2003, Ste Fiacre, France, 12.0% D, #525279 $13.95 (Tasted June 13, 2006)

A Vintages release on June 10, 2006 and described as "Muscadet is made with the Melon de Bourgogne grape and this example is very expressive of the variety, with aromas and flavours of apple, melon, citrus, mineral and pine resin. It is dry, fresh, bright and vibrant. Enjoy with steamed clams or mussels. (VINTAGES panel, Nov. 2005)." rates it four stars (of 5) saying "Toasty, yeasty notes form the aromatic profile of the expressive nose while the palate is treated to spicy apple and lemon zest flavours. This is medium-bodied and extremely well balanced. The medium finish is very clean with citrus and mineral tones complementing the green apple flavour. The price to quality ratio suggests a multiple purchase for summer and fall sipping. (VH)" Their website says "The wine comes from entirely handpicked grapes, fermented for 20 days at low temperature. It will then rest on lees ... which will enrich its flavour and smoothness. It has a pale yellow colour and delicate flavours (white flowers, almonds) and a fruity taste, dry but ample." My notes: A very light straw colour with faint wildflower and honey tones - the rest is beyond my sense and imagination. The flavours are dry citrus, light crab apple, pine resin - a light creaminess, fresh and bright although I found the acids to be too light to be 'vibrant'. Serve well chilled. The finish is short and somewhat like an unripe honeydew melon. Should go with anything fishy: mussels, scallops, shrimp, white fish dishes although not likely to cleanse the palate if too rich. A drink-now, a good Muscadet de S et M and priced right.

PIERRE SPARR PINOT GRIS RÉSERVE 2004, Alsace, France, 13.0% MD, #983395 $17.95 (Tasted June 10, 2006)

A Vintages release on June 10, 2006 and described as "An excellent example of the medium dry style of Pinot Gris that Alsace does so well. Try this rich and ripe pear/peach-centric example with grilled salmon, tuna or pork roast. (VINTAGES panel, Dec. 2005)." rates it four one-half stars (of 5) saying "The nose is all about sweet ripe fruit - peaches, yellow plums and pears. The wine is highly textured and fleshy on the palate with more sweet ripe flavours - peach, nectarine and melon. There is a lovely spine of acidity to balance, and it runs through to the tangy zesty finish. This well-structured off-dry beauty would be the perfect foil to spicy Asian dishes. (VH)." The label says: "Terrific nose of apple, pear, peach and quince with spicy mineral elements. Mouthfilling flavour that finishes with fruity notes. Racy and complex, intense yet graceful. etc." My notes: A rich straw colour with ripe fruit aromas as in the winecurrent note and the label.... and the flavour and finish as well. The sweetness isn't 'in your face' offset by a mild acid. Goes well with full flavoured fish dishes, szechuan or spicy Thai. Cellaring for a year or two may 'age' the fruit producing a spicier structure although it is drinking well-rounded and smooth now. I'd set an expectation of 'mid-sweet' rather than 'mid-dry' though.

NCT WINERY LATE HARVEST VIDAL 2002, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, 10.0% ~SC8 375ml, #Winery $21.95 (Tasted June 5, 2006)

My notes: Won bronze at the 2004 Ontario Wine Awards and has full aromas of ripe papaya and sultana raisins. Medium-bodied with a golden colour. Flavours of light peach and pear smooth with bright honey. A zip starts the finish which is a long apricot and pear with a soft oil on the lips. A pleasant aperitif by itself or with pieces of pear, apple, grapes, etc. Did not add anything with tiramisu but should with a mild cheese and pineapple wedges. Cellared a year now and likely will another year or two. A different sweet sipper to have on hand - chill and have with shaved ice as a cooler.

COOPERS CREEK VIOGNIER 2005, Hawkes Bay, NZ, 14.5% D, #694828 $22.95 (Tasted June 3, 2006)

A Vintages release of May 27, 2006 and described as "Pretty perfumed nose at first, then whiffs of lilac, peach, honey and nectarine. Dry, light-bodied with good, gentle fruit replays. An excellent summertime sipper for those lazy afternoons on the patio. (Vintages panel, March 2006)." Beppi Crosariol says: "characteristically floral viognier scent is followed on the palate by notes of tangerine and honey, with a viscous texture and long finish." My notes: A very light wildclover nose, sweet and floral with a light blond colour - I didn't get lilac or peach. Medium- to light-bodied with a noticeable roundness on the tongue, flavours of distant tangerine peel leaving a citrus tang on the palate slowly ebbing to 'chewed lemon seed'. A reasonable alternative to a sauvignon blanc or chard as a cool sipper. Perhaps add some shaved ice and few ounces of lemon Perrier for brightness. There wasn't enough acid for fish and chips... more appropriate with grilled telapia, scallop or shrimp skewers, cold chicken breast and a mild green salad. A drink-now and not a value imho.

EASTDELL BARRELL FERMENTED CHARDONNAY 2003, Beamsville, Canada, 13.0% D, #651505 $18.95 (Tasted June 1, 2006)

The label says "fermented in American and Hungarian oak. Notes of tropical fruit and vanilla are followed by a balanced finish. Pair with smoked fish and vegetable dishes." The Eastdell website says "Won Gold at Cuvée 2005 (Niagara wines) and has a long mellow finish with subtle oak." Another website says "This Chardonnay was hand and machine-harvested from our Walnut Grove Vineyard. French and American barrels were used during fermentation and aging with careful monitoring to achieve exactly the right balance of crisp cool-climate Chardonnay and rich, complex depth. The final blending took place in August 2004." My notes: Yes, but what about the wine? A light straw colour with a nose of lemon and pineapple. A light creaminess with flavours of lemon with a hint of pineapple and some dry sharpness. The finish is strong, tart, moderately long, bright with slight creaminess and leaving more than a hint of lemon. Have with seafood appetizers, asparagus spears on cold salad, ie. makes a nice aperitif but can be low on acid for a main course. Was marginally light with grilled salmon, salad and parmesan draped foccacia. A drink-now.

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