Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Whites(12): Italy Muscat, Prosec; France Viog, P Grig; Canada Chard Musq, P Gris; NZ Sauv Bl(2); Australia Chard, Ries, P Grig, Sauv Bl

TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2004, Alto Adige, Italy, 13.0% D, #954024 $16.95 (Tasted April 18, 2007)

A Vintages release April 29, 2006 and included in their April 14, 2007 release described as "Tiefenbrunner is rightly considered one of the finest producers in the Alto Adige... The classic, for the region, 2004 vintage delivers the bright crisp fruitiness one expects from quality Northern Italian Pinot Grigio. Enjoy as a palate refresher before a meal or with simple fish or pasta dishes." The website says "Light yellow to sandy-coloured in appearance, with an unobtrusive bouquet, and hints of pear and candied fruit. The strong harmonious structure emphasizes its dry full bodied taste and round finish." RP of Winecurrent gave it four (of 5) saying "... delivers quite rich and concentrated flavours of white peach and apricot pit, with notes of warm spice. It has a texture of edgy crispness and finishes with a slight, clean bitter note. Sip it as an aperitif or pair it with spicy seafood... " My notes: 100% Pinot Grigio grapes gives it a light golden blond colour with a delicate aroma of clover honey and just discernible pear. Fully round on the palate with peach stone, a mild spice, a nudge of sweetness and an afterglow on the finish lengthening with each sip. Have with lobster pieces, grilled fish or sliced chicken breast, mild cheeses, or a grilled cheese sandwich. Should be able to cellar this for a few years. A bargain for a delicately flavoured pinot grigio.

DEAKIN ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2006, Victoria, Australia, 12.0% D, #560839 $11.15 (Tasted April 16, 2007)

A General listing described as "Pale straw yellow; grassy, citrus, grapefruit and gooseberry nose; dry, light bodieid, zesty on the palate with grapefruit nuances; clean finish. Serve with oysters; chevre; herbed chicken; salads." Winemaker Phil Spillman says "We watch our Sauvignon fruit like a hawk as it ripens because picking decisions make this wine. I love being right on the edge of herbaceous, just moving in to sub-tropical. It’s a brilliant, fresh and pungent place to be... A very pale straw with a fresh lime green tinge. Herbaceous with fresh rocket and coriander leaf and with lime and kiwifruit aromas. A palate that's delicious, savoury and fruity with lemongrass, lime, feijoa and kiwifruit. Light bodied and zingy." My notes: A soft aroma of honey, grapefruit and faint straw with a colour that's light blond and light-bodied with distinct flavours of gooseberry, soft lemon-lime and light cream. Finishes dry with a slowly waning lemon brightness. A social sipper for many occasions - not a strong NZ nor a dry european sauvignon blanc, just a pleasant inbetween. Was OK with left over bbq'd chicken pieces and would be better with grilled white fish entrees. Not for cellaring, a drink-now and a good value as a house SB.

TINHORN CREEK PINOT GRIS 2005 VQA, Okanagan Valley, BC, 13.7% D, #530683 $18.95 (Tasted April 14, 2007)

A Vintages release April 14, 2007 described as "This is one of the winery's major whites. The wine has a full, almost creamy, texture, reflecting the fact that 20% of the blend was fermented on neutral barrels and left on the lees for six months (the other 80% was fermented in stainless steel). There is a ton of fruit on the flavour – ripe apples, pears, mangos. The finish is dry. 88/100 (John Schreiner, April 21, 2006)." Beppi Crosariol (April 14, 2007) says "... a light to medium-bodied white that's delectable, ripe and round, with an almost-sweet, pear-like fruit core, soft, creamy texture and clean finish. The back label suggests shellfish and sushi, but it would also be a fine aperitif and could complement lots of fin fish and delicate meats, such as veal sweetbreads or chicken in cream sauce." My notes: A light clover honey colour and aroma, full and creamy texture with delicate flavours of bosc pears, ripe melon, and a moderate tartness - not spicy. The finish leaves a delicate cream and melon feel then fades quickly. Went OK with a cold sliced turkey on wheat Sub and is a pleasant sipper. Nothing exceptional however as either a sipper or meal white. If an 88 is mediocrity this is an 88. Not a value.

COL DE' SALICI PROSECCO SPUMANTE EXTRA DRY VSAQ, Veneto, Italy, 11.5% XD, #030882 $16.95 (Tasted April 14, 2007)

A Vintages release April 14, 2007 described as "Unlike the French designation of extra dry (slightly sweet), extra dry here means exactly that – arid dry! Lemony and tart apple flavors finish with sharp acidity and a dry, dry finish. Very sophisticated in its delivery, this is the ultimate beverage to pair with hamachi nigiri sushi. (Lyle Fujioka, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sept. 18, 2002)" The website says "Wine produced from Prosecco grapes grown in vineyards on the Treviso hillsides. An extra dry aromatic spumante with a fine and lingering perlage and an intense and lively mousse." My notes: Extra dry but not as severe as Freixenet or a Cava Brut, a slight golden hue with a burst of large bubbles settling quickly to a casual stream - can't expect more than a soft mousseux here - +a nice 'tingle' tho'. The nose has no pronounced birthday cake aroma associated with Prosecco, rather it's just perceptible. The flavours are also delicate apple and faint grapefruit, delicate allowing the fine tartness to cleanse and quench the palate. The finish is a short apple with a smidge of cream. A thirst quencher for a hot summer day or with fresh oysters, crab and lobster pieces, asparagus salad, or sushi. Cellaring for two to four years would possibly add some smoother complexity but it's drinking well now. A bargain breakfast meeting bubbly - or as a start to any festivity.

DEAKIN ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2005, Victoria, Australia, 14.0% D, #588418 $11.15 (Tasted April 11, 2007)

A General listing described as "Yellow gold colour; gentle creamy/vanilla custard, citrus, banana and stewed apple aromas and flavours; some smokey notes; dry, medium bodied, well integrated toasty/nutty, pineapple fruit, spice with candied notes on the finish. Serve with Pork loin roast served with garlic mash, seafood dishes, chicken with apricot stuffing, or stuffed pork tenderloin." The winemaker (Phil Spillman) says "Pale straw yellow. Fresh peach, nectarine and pineapple aromas lift easily from the glass and there is a nice supporting cast of characters adding creaminess and spice. Rich and full flavoured with a fruit-salad palate, medium bodied and delicious, this wine fills the mouth with impressions of peach, banana, cream and pie crust." Both the Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast give it 85/100 (August, 2006). My notes: An entry level 'Wingara Group' wine, a light gold colour in the glass with an aroma, with a stretch and letting air for at least twenty minutes, of faint pineapple and 'vanilla custard'. Has a creamy smoothness with light flavours of citrus and butternut. The finish is firm with medium length carrying mostly the citrus tang and some nuttiness. Not objectionable as a sipper but there is an indistinct fruit/varietal flavour and finish that makes it average - but still a good price point. Have with light seafoods, mild cheeses or mild meats with stewed fruit sauces, ie. pork with apple sauce, turkey with cranberry. A drink-now, not for cellaring, and an 85 (if I were counting).

GRAVITAS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2005, Marlborough, NZ, 13.0% XD, #020727 $20.95 (Tasted April 9, 2007)

A Vintages release March 17, 2007 described as "Flinty, fumé-style scents add interest to the aromas, which also include bright, citrusy elements. It's plump and custardy-leesy in the mouth, then turns tart and racy on the finish, ending with strong lime overtones. Rated 89/100 by Wine Enthusiast, May 1, 2006." The website says "One of the most concentrated Sauvignon Blancs from NZ with one of the longest “finishes” of any wine from this country – a set of tastes and aromas that continues evenly and with a long duration. Bouquet evolves over time from predominantly gooseberries to citrus/grapefruit. Our vineyards particular terroir also gives us a slight mineral note that is unusual for Marlborough. Suggestion of oak (but none used – this perception comes from keeping the wine on lees for several months)... our Sauvignon Blancs are dry ensuring that they match food." My notes: An aroma that's a cross between fresh peas and gooseberries with lighter fruit than a NZ style sauvignon blanc - the fruit doesn't demand attention. The flavour is a balance between acid, fruit and herbaceousness providing a good accompaniment for a meal. I didn't get a 'lees' creaminess. A long mineral finish ending 'tart and racy' for sure. Very suitable when paired with breaded and grilled telapia and has enough acid to cut across battered halibut with chips appropriately salted, vinegared or ketchup'd. Not likely to cellar well since any loss of fruit would bring out more of its 'flinty' side. A different SB - not a social sipper and I wouldn't invest in it.

PETALO IL VINO DELL'AMORE MOSCATO BOTTEGA, Veneto, Italy, 6.5% SC10 #588780 $12.90 (Retasted April 7, 2007)

A General listing and last tasted November, 2006. My notes: A full floral nose of soft yeast, apple juice, apple blossoms and a full effervescence buoyed by its sweetness level but subsiding quickly to a fine rim. The fruit acids are nicely balanced by the residual sugar giving an overall texture that is full and soft -delicate. Flavours of gala apples, a touch of pear, medium-bodied with a long finish of a succulent fruit. With low acid and alcohol it's an alluring quaffer... a light after dinner drink accompanied by chocolate fingers or to add interest over fresh fruit slices. An interesting change from a brut ... and economical.

LURTON DOMAINE DES SALICES VIOGNIER 2005, Midi, France, 13.0% D, #487272 $13.95 (Tasted April 7, 2007)

A Vintages release on March 31, 2007 described as "Over the past decade, Viognier has shown remarkable success in the vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon (a.k.a., Midi). ... Enjoy this fruity, low acid, aromatic wonder with lightly spiced seafood dishes, turkey breast or grilled salmon." RP of Winecurrent gives it four (of 5) saying "This is a very attractive Viognier at an excellent price. It has a quite fat texture and solid fruit throughout: apricot, light peach and soft spices. It has good heft, so pour it with spicy chicken or pork dishes." My notes: A pale golden with aromas of lemon and faint honey... flavours include a soft lemon, faint pineapple or perhaps banana tinge and a smooth glycerine texture. Finishes long with a light citrus tang ending with oil on the lips and mostly crushed stems. Nothing exceptional and it's only a marginal fruit-neutral sipper if served well chilled. Pair with grilled seafoods, sliced chicken breast (cold or hot), an asparagus salad with light dressing. A drink-now, not cellarable, a commercial white and not a value.

FIELDING ESTATE CHARDONNAY MUSQUE 2006, Niagara, Canada, 12.7% D, #037879 $15.95 (Tasted April 3, 2007)

A Vintages release on March 31, 2007 described as "... bursting with youthful aromas of sweet apple, cinnamon, melon, peaches and cream as well as perfumed floral notes. Dry, medium bodied, it's fresh and youthful with the apple and melon flavours replaying nicely. Delicious and refreshing. (VINTAGES panel, Feb. 2007). Natalie MacLean gives it 89/100 saying "Lovely orange peel aromas with exotic floral notes. Pair with: shellfish, seafood, salads." RP of Winecurrent gives it four and one half (of 5) saying "This is a vineyard-designated (Wismer Vineyards) beauty that's just delicious. It's packed with luscious fruit flavours like ultra-ripe peach, apricot, and melon, enhanced by sweet spices and rich floral aromas. The acidity reins in the pungency perfectly, making this an opulent but refreshing mouthful. It's perfect as an aperitif or to accompany spicy Thai dishes." My notes: The 2004 was tasted from the winery in August 2005 with the comment 'Good value for a summer patio sipper.' Now $2 more and an OK value for an off-dry (SC2) unoaked chard. A pale blond with muscat-like aromas now with a citrus zest edge, a fresh mouthfeel with flavours of grapefruit and sweet apple. Full and round with an acid seam giving it liveliness through a long finish. The sweetness shouldn't interfere with most seafood dishes. Better suited to sushi or Thai - maybe even chicken souvlaki on rice with tsatsiki sauce. A drink-now as a well chilled aperitif or through the summer months on the patio.

KIM CRAWFORD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2006, Marlborough, NZ, 13.0% XD, #035386 $19.95 (Tasted April 2, 2007)

A Vintages release on March 31, 2007 described as "Concentrated and complex, with vivid passion fruit, grapefruit and tangy peach flavors. Vibrant minerality and tangy lime juice acidity keep thumping through the finish.. 92/100 (Daniel Sogg, Dec. 15, 2006)." Natalie MacLean gives it 90/100 and calls the 'Best Value White Wine' saying "I recommend this wine year after year: it has a real following. Vibrant, mouth-watering aromas of lime and grapefruit. Its herbal character makes it a refreshing summer wine. It's bottled with a screwcap, which is an extra bonus. Pair with: ham, salads, vegetarian dishes." Kim Crawford notes: "... cut grass and tropical fruits are dominant on the nose. .. flavours of passionfruit, gooseberry and subtle herbaceousness. The wine is mouthfilling with good texture and finishes well with cleansing acidity and great length... drink now and, with careful cellaring, will last up to five years." Took the Gold Medal at the Royal New Zealand Show for International Aromatic Wine Competition 2006. My notes: Very aromatic with oodles of passionfruit and soft nettles. Full-bodied with flavours that initially are rounded tropical fruit with a slight grapefruit and coconut twist. The finish is long with bright fruit slowly waning to a lower tartness than I remember for past vintages and a slight dryness on the lips. It's a wonderful fruity sipper... or have with any seafood: grilled or battered halibut and chips, bbq'd shrimp skewers, lobster pieces, crab cakes. Was great with a shrimp pasta. Cellaring for a year has been OK for previous vintages.... I wouldn't plan longer than two.

NINTH ISLAND PINOT GRIGIO 2006, Tasmania, Australia, 13.8% D, #683193 $20.95 (Tasted April 2, 2007)

A Vintages release March 31, 2007 described as "... Pinot Grigio thrives in the cool climate of northern Tasmania. This fresh and fruity wine is an excellent match for steamed mussels or lemon risotto. The aromas suggest pear, exotic fruits and musk. It is a dry, richly textured, food-friendly wine." RP of Winecurrent rates it four and one half (of 5) saying "Dry with excellent tangy fruit, including white peach, apricot pit, sweet pear and hints of tropical fruit. A brisk seam of acidity keeps everything in line and makes this perfect for lightly-spiced Thai dishes." My notes: I'm beginning to look for 'Ninth Island' wines... good consistency seems to be their thing. One of four brands from Kreglinger Wine Estates, the 2005 vintage was tasted last May with the comment 'Even at $20 a good value..' Now a dollar higher the 2006 is still a good value. An aromatic nose of passionfruit and pears, a clear light blond with a very slight peach tint. Medium-bodied with a satiny texture and flavours of bosc pear, snow apple and a hint of ginger. The finish is long, round with sweet pear ending on the tip of the tongue. Very sippable. Have with asian sweet and sour dishes - lots of rice, or fresh oysters, even mushroom risotto. Cellaring should be OK for a few years - try after two to see where it's going.

WOLF BLASS YELLOW LABEL RIESLING 2006, South Australia, 12.5% D, #505370 $15.15 (Tasted April 1, 2007)

A General listing described as "Medium yellow-green colour; peachy, lemon/lime aromas with light floral and stone fruit notes; dry, medium bodied; with crisp/zesty acidity, citrus fruit and light peach flavours. Serve with poached fish; white meats; creamy pastas; Asian cuisine; light shellfish." My notes: Not sure if this is the Rhine Riesling listed but it is a Rhine-type riesling regardless. A pale blond and with a traditional petrol nose, a light spice and aromas of honey and lemon blossom. Medium-bodied, with flavours that include a lemon-lime blend and a very slight sweet peach. The finish is bright, long and carrying the citrus and a hint of oil to the end. Was very suitable with grilled halibut and chips - a commercial drink-now likely blended for the North American market although the website doesn't show a Yellow Label Riesling for this region. Not for cellaring beyond six months and a reasonable value as a safe, sociable riesling.

No comments: