Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November Whites(10): Italy Pinot Grigio, Portugal Ribatejo, Canada Blend, France SB, Australia Riesling, Australia Chard, German Riesling(4)

FOLONARI PINOT GRIGIO 2005, Veneto, Italy, 12.0% D, #229542 $13.95 (Tasted November 13, 2006)

A general listing described as "Light lemon straw colour; dry and light bodied with citrus apple and light spicy floral notes. Serve with antipasto, light cream pastas, light seafood." My notes: A very light straw colour, a light straw and lemon nose, flavours of very light citrus with a finish that is dry, light straw or non descript flat citrus. An uninteresting commercial white for any entree and not a sipper. Not recommended.

QUINTA DE S. JOAO BATISTA FERNAO-PIRES RIBATEJO 2003, Rio Maior, Portugal, 12.0% XD, SO39-2605 $15.58 (Retasted November 12, 2006)

Last tasted in February with the comment "Cellared August 2004. .... a faint citrus nose and flavours of California honeydew with a tart edge. ... Serve off-chill and letting breathe improves texture." Opimian recommended cellaring for six months to two years. My notes: A golden blond with light lemon drop aromas. A lightish medium-bodied with a crisp edge on each sip and an almost flavourless lemon - gone is the melon. Serving off chill still improves nose and texture. The finish carries a citric tartness and a pleasant oiliness is left on the lips. Not a sipper - have with fresh oysters, shaved italian meats, a variety of tapas. Pair with seafood dishes: blackened, grilled, breaded and fried or roasted, grilled chicken or salmon steak. Cellaring a while longer may help (but I don't think so)... we'll see!

FURST LÖWENSTEIN RIESLING KABINETT 2005, Rheingau, Germany, 11.5% M, #505461 $17.95 (Tasted November 11, 2006)

A Vintages release on November 11, 2006 and described as "....This elegant Riesling is another fine example of the excellence achieved with the 2005 vintage in Germany. The aromas speak of lilacs, honey, citrus and mineral notes. Light-bodied and delicate, it's just off-dry with a fine acid balance and a persistent finish. (VINTAGES panel, April 2006)." The website says "...excellent with meals. Riesling wines enhance every occasion, whether it’s a social get-together, philosophizing with friends or a romantic evening for two. Fürst Löwenstein Riesling wines are from the finest sites of Hallgarten. All have a pronounced fruit character, yet each has a distinctive profile. A wide range of styles is available, from harmonious “Gutsweine” (house wines), to light and racy Kabinett or full-bodied Spätlese wines...." VH of Winecurrent gives it four and one half (of 5) saying "Tantalizing pit fruit aromatics waft from the lifted nose. Riesling lovers will revel in the lemon zest and white peach flavours. The structured wine is delivered with enough residual sugar and spine of acidity to create that glorious yin and yang, sweet and sour effect that makes this a perfect match to spicy Asian food. Good to go now and well into 2015. Try this with butter chicken and steamed Basmati rice." My notes: A light blond colour with a white wildflower nose and honey... an off-dry roundness but clean with an even tartness and flavours of lemon an offdry apple juice. Has a succulence in the finish that cleanses the palate. Was great with lightly battered halibut with chips liberally sprinkled with malt vinegar and ketchup. Should be OK to cellar for several years to smooth out some of the ascerb finish, not that it's objectionable.

STREWN TWO VINES 2005 (nVQA), Niagara, Canada, 11.5% D, #Winery ~$12.00 (Tasted November 11, 2006)

The label says a blend of riesling and gewurztraminer, no proportions, with "beautiful, lifted aromas of floral, tropical fruit, and citrus. A slight sweetness leads to a refreshing finish with lingering fruit flavours. Serve alone or pair with vegetarian and Asian dishes." My notes: A light blond colour with full aromas of fuji apples. Since it's non VQA grapes or juice will likely have been imported. Flavours of slightly sweet apple with a light fruit tartness and, although the flavours are fresh and fruity, leave the finish somewhat flat needing several sips (gulps) to build a level of tartness that adds interest. A sociable sipper, ie. wouldn't offend a general get together as an aperitif but it's not a meal wine. Not for cellaring... a drink-now.

CHATEAU DAUZAN LA VERGNE BLANC 1998, 12.0% XD, Bergerac France, CP138-1942 $19.17 (Retasted November 10, 2006)

Last tasted December 6, 2005 with the comment "... A golden yellow perfumed with spice, faint pineapple, apricots and a touch of oak. A full-bodied dry white soft with an acid edge that carries lemon and apricot flavours across the palate. A long citrus finish with a touch of creaminess. If you like a dry european sauvignon blanc it's a sipper but it's great paired with grilled salmon with a rice vegetable mix and lettuce salad with balsamic dressing. Will likely continue to strengthen in the bottle but is drinking well now." That was then and now is now... it's a full golden colour with a warm lemon pineapple nose, full and distinct. Most fruit has evaporated leaving a base of oak, a slight citrus flavour and a balanced acid - no apricot nor pineapple. The finish leaves some citrus on the palate. Not a sipper. An awkward wine to pair... perhaps with asian foods.... if not beyond peak it's beyond interest.

LEITZ RHEINGAU RIESLING KABINETT 2004, Rheingau, Germany, 9.0% M, #662189 $15.45 (Tasted November 7, 2006)

A Vintages release on July 8, 2006 described as "A lively, zesty, moderately sweet Riesling that is an excellent summer sipper. Floral, hawthorn and nectarine aromas dominate. Light-bodied, this wine has an abundance of flavour on its long finish.(Vintages panel, Nov. 2005)". My notes: A faint aroma of dried apricots and white floral comes as the glass warms. A flavour of lightly honeyed citrus, balanced acid and some roundness - not much to object to nor to enjoy. The finish is short with a light citrus note. A sociable sipper by itself or have with mild cheeses, shrimp and dip, vegetable hummous and flat bread, lightly flavoured cream cheeses or pair with grilled/steamed white fish with boiled potatoes or rice. A drink-now - not a value.

LEASINGHAM 'MAGNUS' RIESLING 2004, Clare Valley, Australia, 13.0% D, #675306 $15.95 (Tasted November 5, 2006)

Released by Vintages on May 16, 2006 with a description by Victoria Moore, wine critic for U.K.'s The Guardian (February 25, 2006) who praised the 04 Magnus Riesling as 'succulent but with a steely dryness.' The Wine Spectator (April 30, 2005) rated it 89/100" The label claims that 'Magnus' honours one of the original founders, Magnus Badger, of the Stanely Wine Company, the forerunner to Leasingham. Their website describes this vintage as "Fine and zesty, the palate displays ripe lemon and citrus spice with fleshy fruit sweetness. This crisp wine has a fresh and lively finish and can be cellared for up to 10 years." My notes: Leasingham Wines was acquired by the Hardy's company in 1988 after a short while with H.J.Heinz. A light straw colour and aromas of a lemon/lime mix. A clean, crisp texture with flavours of tart citrus now including some grapefruit with the lemon/lime. A firm astringency cleanses the palate with each sip for a long dry finish. Have with fresh oysters with a drop of tabasco or a dab of seafood sauce. Pair with seafood dishes grilled or with rich sauces, pasta dishes with a mushroom medley, or a lightly peppered butternut squash soup. A young and 'green' sipper today but will improve considerably with two to four years cellaring.

MOSELLAND DIVINUM RIESLING SPATLESE 2004, Moselle, Germany, 8.5% S, #619676 $11.95 (Tasted November 3, 2006)

A General listing without description. The website describes this as "Nose of candied pears and apples, intense exotic fruit on the palate." Gord Stimmell gives this 89/100 saying "Spatlese has a lush, natural sweetness from late-harvested grapes. Aromas of candied lime and pear are enticing. The flavours follow through with ripe pear and candied apple, with enough acidity to balance the sweet notes. The aftertaste unveils slightly sugared grapefruit and lingering white flowers. Quite stunning at the price. " My notes: Crystal clear light blond and initial aromas of eucalyptus and lime followed by pear, lime and faint wildflowers. Like sucking a candied lime slice, sweetly puckering and leaving a smoothness on the lips - perhaps the start of petrol. Has a long finish with the sweet tartness carrying through nicely. Have as an aperitif or with fresh oysters with ginger shavings, chilled shrimp, brie and pumpernickel crisps. Well worth cellaring for a few years, then perhaps four or more. It should develop as a much smoother and rounder riesling with many nuances. Reasonably priced and an interesting change for a off-dry quaffer. Super stuff!

BLACK OPAL CHARDONNAY 2005, South Australia, 13.5% D, #309450 $13.95 (Tasted November 2, 2006)

A General listing described as "Lemon yellow colour; dry and medium-bodied with aromas and flavours of ripe tropical fruit; fresh crisp finish. Serve with fuller flavoured chicken dishes; grilled fish; medium cheese." The website describes this as "... bright straw in color. Aromas of peach, melon and citrus develop into a crisp and delicious finish. .... Some portions of fruit were fermented with French and American oak to develop complexity." Gord Stimmell gives this 88/100 saying "The 2004 had lavish buttery lime, creamed corn, toasty apple and a tinge of tangerine. A sassy white indeed — rating 89/100. The 2005 shifts gears. It’s less rich, with vanilla-accented pear and apple flavours. The finish is greener, with lime and green apple skin that craves food. ... the 2005 hitting shelves is still a little young and green. It should broaden its flavours in a few months in bottle, but drink up within two years." My notes: Black Opal is a Foster's winery acquired with Beringer in 2000 and integrated with Mildara Blass. 'Lemon yellow' for sure although on the lighter side, wildflower and honey nose fading to a faint citrus. A nice tartness on the first sip with a roundness leveling off to an almost sweet lemon/grapefruit flavour - no butter nor butterscotch, no peach. The finish of lemon and grapefruit is crisp and fairly short. A light- to medium-bodied sociable commercial white - nothing spectacular but then the price is low. Pair with grilled salmon filets. Not for cellaring... a drink-now.

KRUGER-RUMPF RIESLING KABINETT 2004, Nahe, Germany, 9.5% M, #721928 $17.95 (Tasted November 1, 2006)

A Vintages release October 28, 2006 described as "Attractive floral, mineral, pear, orange rind nose with green apple aromas. Very fresh. Crisp, ripe, round, succulent and fruity on the palate with honey, orange, nectarine, pear, floral flavours with a mineral, green apple finish. Fine elegance and fresh. Drink now or over the next five to seven years. (90/100, Anthony Gismondi, Jan./Feb. 2006) . My notes: A light blond with a just perceptible green hue, a light spicy floral aroma softening as the chill goes. Light- to medium-bodied, a slightly sweet edge to an apple, honey and grapefruit flavour mix. I didn't get 'orange or apricot'. Is great as a sipper filling the flavour senses with sweet honey snow apple flavours and finishing dry on the palate. Should also be great with fresh oysters or a mild cheese tray. Pair with vichysoisse, seafood pad thai or lobster ravioli in a creamy sauce and goat cheese. At the alcohol level this can be quaffed liberally - open two at a time. Cellaring up to four years should bring out some interesting side aromas as well as introduce more smoothness.

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