Friday, August 04, 2006

August Whites (9): Germany Riesling, NZ Sauv Blanc, Australia Blend, Canada Chard, Australia Semillon(2), Spain Blend, Chile Chard(2)

SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN RIESLING KABINETT 2002, Pfaffenberg, Germany, 9.0% MD, #928184 $17.95 (Tasted August 22, 2006)

A Vintages release on August 19, 2006 and described as "The Schönborn family has been making wine since 1349, so it's little wonder that they possess some of the top vineyard sites in the Rheingau. Look for bright apple fruit and petrol notes in this light and lively Riesling from the Pfaffenberg vineyard." Natalie says "This lovely riesling has aromas of ripe pears and peaches. 'Best Value White Wine' 90/100" Winecurrent gives it four and one half stars (of 5) saying "Slate, mineral and floral aromas blow off this medium to full-bodied 'off dry' white. The flavours wash over the palate in waves, first green apple and pear, then sweet nectarine and peach followed by a wonderful citrus tang. The finish is lengthy and luxurious. Drink now with all manner of spicy Asian cuisine or cellar for ten years, waiting for those intriguing petrol aromas to develop, then savour on its own as an aperitif. (VH)" My notes: A light yellow colour and a nose of ripe pear and light petrol. A rounded flavour of green apple and mellow honey with a tang on the tongue that flows brightly down the throat. Finishes with a sweet touch, drying and unctious without petrol but with a long appealing fresh apple pucker. A great off-dry for social sipping and was suitable with toasted tomato sandwiches and crabcakes. Should also go well with anything that's shellfish, cold more than hot. Cellaring for several years will bring out more petrol, tame the sweetness and mellow out the body making it a worthwhile wait.

KIM CRAWFORD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2005, Marlborough, NZ, 13.0% XD, #975672 $19.95 (Retasted August 21, 2006)

Rereleased by Vintages on August 19, 2006 originally being released in December, 2005 and described as "Tangy in style, with plenty of fresh green apple character adding depth to the grapefruit and guava flavors, lingering nicely. Drink now. 90/100 (Harvey Steiman,, Nov. 30, 2005)." Of this release Natalie says "...consistently excellent. Lots of herbal, grapefruit and green apple aromas. 'Favourite White Wine', 90/100". My notes: Natalie is right....Kim Crawford's SB has been consistent so far. We'll have to wait and see how the brand changes as a Vincor Company. The colour is light blond with aromas of wild clover and gooseberries. A direct tang with a soft fullness carrying natural, lightly blended flavours of clover honey, green apple and gooseberry. Light-bodied, lighter than I remember, that pairs well with grilled white seafood dishes. Not enough body for full flavoured entrees. Was OK with grilled crab cakes and tangy dill sauce and then with bbq'd red snapper filets with greens. The finish is moderate with a firm citric tartness. This bottle (vintage?) was past cellaring.. so a drink-now. Imho, 90 is high and it's not a value.

D'ARENBERG 'THE STUMP JUMP' RIESLING, SAUVIGNON BLANC, MARSANNE 2005, McLaren Valley, Australia, 13.5% D, #922203 $13.95 (Tasted August 20, 2006)

A Vintages release on August 19, 2006 and described as "This fresh and lively blend always boasts a bouquet that 'jumps' out of the glass. Look for floral, citrus, gooseberry and mineral notes. The 2005 vintage is comprised of 63% Riesling, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Marsanne and 7% Roussanne thrown in for kicks. It's perfect for sipping on a hot summer day or enjoy with lighter dishes." Winecurrent gives it four and one half stars (of 5) saying ".... this is just a beautiful white blend at a great price. It's crisp and refreshing with gorgeous fruit (apricot pit-white peach zones) with minerality and spiciness to boot.... (RP)" My notes: A herbaceous spice does 'jump' out on the nose along with a faint lemon and wild clover - didn't get the gooseberry. Flavours of lemon grass and kiwi play with the palate leaving a tart drying finish with an oily lip feel. Was refreshing with toasted tomato sandwiches and spicy tomato and red pepper soup. Should be OK with anything not too hot nor too creamy .... oysters, mussels, sushi, Thai, Chinese, tapas, seared scallops and linguini. Cellaring for a year should be OK but not longer - a drink-now.

DANIEL LENKO OLD VINES CHARDONNAY 1999 (AMERICAN OAK), Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% D, #Winery $19.95 (Retasted August 14, 2006)

My notes: Last tasted May, 2005.... with comments "....cellared May, 2001. Nose is a soft toast... pleasing cream texture with lemon/melon flavours. .... cellared too long etc." The nose is soft toasty melon with some brightness and the flavours are now a blend of rich butterscotch, peach and mango that politely caresses the palate. The finish is long and smoothe, full in the mouth. A sipper that empties the bottle too quickly as well as going perfectly with crab cakes with a mustard and dill sauce, steamed lobster, and greek salad. At peak now - this bottle, that was lost, is my last. Would be an excellent match with any seafood dish, turkey or chicken casseroles or creamy mushroomed soups.

MARGAN FAMILY SEMILLON 2003, New South Wales, Australia, 12.0% D, #961516 $15.95 (Tasted August 13, 2006)

A Vintages release on July 8, 2006 and described as "Pale yellow. Dusty, mineral-inflected aromas of peach pit, apricot skin and dogwood blossom. Medium-bodied, round and plump, with dusty, stony flavors of grapefruit pith, lemon zest and quinine. Finishes dry and stony, with an intriguing waxy, floral quality. A classic rendition of this unique, disappearing style. Score - 89 (Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, July/Aug 2005)." Notes from the website say "2003 was a classic vintage... Green gold in colour with sweet perfumed fruit on the nose. The citrus and grassy characters combine to provide a wine of extraordinary character. The palate is mouth filling with ripe fruit characters up front, a full middle palate and a crisp clean acid finish. The fruit characters on the palate will further intensify and complex as the wine matures. The wine is drinking superbly now, however will reward mid-term cellaring... " David Lawrason gives it four stars saying "don’t miss... complex, powerful and well-balanced with fresh fig, lime and mineral flavours perfect for an outdoor evening of cold salads, or perhaps with a grilled tuna steak." My notes: Screwcapped, a light blond with crisp, unoaked aromas of grapefruit zest with a touch of clover honey. The texture has a crispness similar to soave but fuller flavours of grapefruit/lemon including some crushed seeds leaving a distinct oiliness to the long, full finish that slowly fades to a mineral note. Has the freshness of youth, but lacks the structure of the current 2001, and should be well worth the wait of a few years cellaring. A dry, crisp sipper now or with grilled scallops, crab cakes and dill sauce, battered white fish and chips, any flavourful seafood but not spicy.

MARGAN FAMILY HUNTER VALLEY SEMILLON 2001, New South Wales, Australia, 13.5% XD, #961516 $13.95 (Retasted August 12, 2006)

My notes: Vintages release the 2001 on July 10, 2005 which I last tasted in November, 2005 with the comment ...."Clean flavours of lemon and tangerine.... etc. " It now has a wonderfully strong aroma of lemon and tangerine zests without bite but fresh and unctious. The lemon and tangerine flavours persist with a full, silky texture and clean acid. The finish is long, somewhat tart with a mineral note to provide interest. The bottle was great with barbequed chicken legs and thighs and a crisp green salad. Cellaring well - 2002 was a bust but I'll try to find a 2003 (Vintages July 8, 2006 @$15.95) to compare. There was no writeup on the website for the 2001 or 2 vintages.

CONO SUR CHARDONNAY RESERVE 2005, Casablanca Valley, 13.5% XD, #590802 $13.95 (Tasted August 7, 2006)

A Vintages release on July 22, 2006 and described as "To craft Cono Sur's Reserve line, grapes are sourced from specific vineyards sites. In this case, they acquired the Chardonnay from three vineyards within the Casablanca Valley. The Valley is known for its impressively cool vineyard sites that allow the grapes to mature slowly and gracefully. Enjoy this rich yet structured wine with full-flavoured seafood dishes." Winecurrent gives it four stars saying "A very well-priced Chardonnay from one of Chile's cooler regions, not far from the Pacific Ocean. You get rich aromas and flavours that are a mélange of tropical fruit, good structure, and lovely weight and balance. Really, they've done it right, all the way through. Drink this now and over the next two-three years, and pair it with rich seafood or creamy chicken dishes. (RP)." The website says of the 2005 vintage "Proudly born in Casablanca, a valley that earned its first accolades through chardonnay, this exponent showcases the bright, crisp yellow green colour that is a variety classic. It's elegant and expressive nose combines refreshing citrus notes of lemon and lime with a more tropical side made of pineapple, mango and honey. In mouth there is also a smoothing creaminess. Fulfilling, balanced, tasty and persistent." My notes: Yellow and green tinges to a crisp clear white and aromas of lemon, lime and a suspicion of gooseberry. The flavours reflect the nose adding a nicely tart backbone but with a chalky thread. The finish is moderately short quickly fading to a limey pineapple note with a glycerin smoothness I find objectionable. An adequate sipper and would accompany cheddar cheese twists, salty pretzels, smooth herb dips, or with shellfish entrees, grilled shrimp skewers or baked spicy mussels. Personally I found the structure 'manufactured' rather than natural.

ALTA ALELLA 'PRIVAT' RESERVA CAVA BRUT NATURE, Penedes Spain, 12.0% XD, #002642 $15.45 (Tasted August 4, 2006)

A Vintages release on August 5, 2006 and described as "Our Quality Assurance laboratory has determined that this organic wine contains 6 mg/L of free sulphur. Although not vintage-dated, this Spanish bubbly indicates on the back label the date it was disgorged (22/03/2006). They aim to get the fizz on the market as soon as possible because their style of sparkling wine is best enjoyed young." My notes: A blend of Macabeu, Xarel·lo, Parellada, and Chardonnay results in standard light bubbly for summer enjoyment... lots of bubbles but no froth or mousseux-ness. Initial aromas of a light yeast and granny smith. Flavours are refreshing apple and pear but very faint with a 'sur lies' texture... the finish is moderate, soft with a dry tang for slow sipping but better with appetizers: cantelope or watermelon cubes, a light green salad with cold chicken slices, or scampi skewers with shrimp sauce. A dry, but not puckering, drink-now. There are more interesting 'bruts' at this price..... imho.

VIÑA LA ROSA ‘LA CAPITANA' CHARDONNAY 2004, Cachapoal Valley Chile, 13.5% D, #685834 $13.95 (Tasted August 4, 2006)

Release by Vintages on August 5, 2006 and described as "Since 1824, Viña La Rosa has been recognized as one of Chile's leading producers of high quality wine. La Capitana (The Woman Captain) is the name given to a remarkable palm tree on the La Palmería estate that stands 30 metres tall. Like its namesake, this wine is a stand out with its tropical fruit on the nose, generous palate of ripe fruit, and long and refreshing finish. Contemporary and stylish, it is a wine for a special summer occasion." The label says "This has magnificent tropical aromas and crisp flavours of minerals, vanilla and grapefruit.... well balanced and a long elegant finish... " Winecurrent gives it four stars (of 5) describing it as "And yet another reason to look to Chile for top shelf wine at bargain basement prices. Cachapoal Valley, with its warmer climate, is better known for full-bodied reds, pity! Sweet and spicy baked apple pie aromatics form the beguiling nose on this medium-bodied beauty. Huge tropical fruit flavours attack the palate while there is enough tang and structure to give it good balance. The finish is plump and lengthy. Pick up a case then enjoy with all manner of grilled chicken, veal and fish. (VH)" My notes: The tropical aromas come to me as a fragrant citrus and gooseberry combination with just a highlight of crushed stems - very appealing. It has a 'generous palate of ripe fruit' consisting of a full-bodied softness with a balanced tartness. The finish is long and fresh. A chardonnay for many occasions throughout the year: a seafood buffet, mild cheese dips and saltines, oysters on half shell, scallops, salmon or chicken in a creamy pasta, and on and on. Should cellar several years but drinking well now. A bargain for sure....imho.

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