Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More June Whites(4): NZ SB; Chile SB; Australia Chard(2)

HARDYS NOTTAGE HILL CHARDONNAY 2006, South Australia, 13.5% D, #283457 $11.00 (Tasted June 28, 2007)
A General listing described as "Lemon yellow colour; clean light apple & citrus; light oak in aroma & taste, balanced wine with clean finish. Serve slightly chilled with mussels." Their website says "Brilliant clarity and medium straw in colour, the Nottage Hill Chardonnay displays aromas of citrus blossom, melon and peach. Spicy and buttery characters are apparent with a slight oak influence. The palate exhibits citrus, melon and sweet spice flavours, integrated with soft oak. This is an elegant Chardonnay with a creamy mouthfeel and with a lingering finish." My notes: A pleasing honey, lemon, apple and slight straw aroma and a light lemon juice colour. Leaves long legs on the glass and has flavours of butter, lemon, crabapple, and ripe honeydew melon. Finishes with a citrus tartness cleansing the taste buds and leaving an almond smoothness. A reasonable sipper, with delicate oak touches and enough body to hold up well with spicy mussels, planked salmon, chicken/asparagus/rice casserole, roasted chicken and grilled seafoods. More of a drink-now, commercial but well balanced with natural varietal characteristics. I think it would cellar up to two years. A bargain. Try it, you'll like it! (unless you're ABC).

Marlborough, NZ, 13.5% XD, #735043 $19.75 (Tasted June 28, 2007)

A Vintages release on June 23, 2007 described as "Pale in colour and a little herbaceous and oily on the nose with a subtle presence of that distinctive Marlborough 'sweat'. After thirty minutes chilling tropical fruit aromas emerged too. A ripe, juicy, bright and flavoursome style with a capsicum oily character and a piercing, herbal, citrussy richness. There's 5% Semillon, approximately 10% French oak. Indigenous yeasts as well as cultured yeasts were used for fermentation. (Sue Courtney, Feb. 23, 2007)." Beppi Crosariol (June 30, 2007) describes it as "... has a seductively oily texture and plenty of tropical fruit to counterbalance the crisp, herbal summer's-here character of classic kiwi sauvignon blanc." VH of Winecurrent gives it four and one half (of 5) saying "... a sharp, pungent herbaceous nose - gooseberry, nettles and bell pepper. The flavours are lemon zest and white grapefruit while the lovely texture and medium weight carries through to the dry, cleansing, medium-length, almost laser-like finish... " My notes: A polite nose of gooseberries and nettles in equal portions. The colour is a light blond with a green cast. A wonderful cream to the sharp texture and nicely balanced flavours of gooseberries, a herbaceousness (grass) and a mineral crispness. A long finish, a definite oil on the lips, silky and a slight pithiness. A very interesting sipper and an excellent companion to grilled prawns, spicy mussels, planked salmon. Was OK with a baked rice casserole of seared chicken breast and asparagus pieces. Seems natural to me, ie. hasn't gone commercial. Cellaring for two years should be possible... longer?

Casablanca Valley, Chile, 14.0% D, #275677 $11.40 (Tasted June 27, 2007)
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's cheese; vegetarian dishes; herbed dishes." The website notes "... Its enticing aroma, bursting with luscious grapefruit, fragrant citrus blooms and juicy apricots is delicately balanced with citric flowers undertones. On the palate, its fresh, dry and crispy flavors are smooth and finely balanced ending in a rich, persistent finish." My notes: The LCBO writeup hasn't changed in three vintages: from 2004 (June 2005, $12.45) to 2005 (June 2006, $12.55) and now 2006. And the label is slightly different but with essentially the same wine under the cover. For this vintage all of the grapes are from the Casablanca Valley. The colour is a pale straw with a green hue and fragrance is of gooseberries and nettles, lets you know it's sauvignon blanc. A good balance of fruit and acids but without much roundness, medium-bodied with a long steely finish mainly of tart grapefruit and peach stone. As a sipper it tends to go flabby as the chill goes... keep on ice or don't let it sit too long. Meant to be a drink-now and, although it could keep a few years, I don't think cellaring will be beneficial. Pair with mild seafood dishes. Adding crushed ice and a lemon wedge would make it a more interesting patio sipper.

McLaren Vale, Australia, 13.5% XD, #031500 $19.95 (Tasted June 26, 2007)

A Vintages release on June 23, 2007 described as "An aromatic, almost flowery, bouquet; lovely nectarine, grapefruit and melon flavours; similar balance and length; oak merely a vehicle. Drink to 2009. 93/100 (James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2007)." (Yet Wine Spectator rated it 88/100 and Winestate three stars (of five)). Natalie MacLean rated it 92/100 and her Favourite White (of the Release) saying "A lovely wine that's not too oaky - mostly craftmanship. Displays aromas of green apples." VH of Winecurrent gives it four (of 5) saying "Expect a lifted nose of spice, vanilla and peach aromas then a beautifully layered and well-balanced Chardonnay with good texture and medium weight. The flavours are tropical fruit with notes of spice and citrus. The lengthy finish is clean, refreshing and layers on some interesting spice and vanilla flavours... " My notes: A nose of apple, straw and lemon peel. Flavours include lemon peel, tart green apple, a slight mango and is more than bright having a definite zing. Finishes with a nice tartness on the tongue, a smooth creaminess and more lemon peel including the white pithe or perhaps it's a touch of nectarine. A different chardonnay for the table - and you'd have to like chardonnays to sip this without hors d'oeuvres... have with scallops, crab cakes, chicken souvlaki on a bed of rice or roast chicken - I'd be curious enough to try it with an asian banquet. Rather than drinking now I'd cellar for several years to smoothen and bring out some butterscotch or at least more butter . Then it would be a value.

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