Wednesday, September 05, 2007

September Whites (9): Argentina Chard; Australia Ries; Canada Pin Gris, Viog; Chile Sauv Blanc(2), Viog; USA Chard, PG

WOLF BLASS YELLOW LABEL RIESLING 2006, South Australia, 12.5% D, #505370 $15.15 (Tasted September 26, 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: A light blond colour with green tint and aromas of straw and faint lemon/lime. A clean brisk approach with a thin melon, lemon and a dry tartness which follows into a moderate, warm, round, balanced finish. A sipper for anyone anticipating a german style riesling, refreshing and dry - can't discern any sweetness, perhaps a faint petrol. Pair with most seafoods or creamy pastas, asian, mussels, crab cakes. A commercial drink-now and market priced. Ww78

Columbia Valley, USA, 14.0% XD, #232439 $17.95 (Tasted September 26, 2007)
A Vintages release on September 15, 2007 described as "A distinctive Chardonnay, popping hints of nutmeg and mineral notes through the racy pear and sage flavors, which linger on the finish. Drink now through 2011. 88/100. (Harvey Steiman, June 15, 2007)." Natalie MacLean calls this "Favourite White of the release rating it 90/100 and saying "Lovely, rich, and voluptuous chardonnay. It is oaky and buttery flavored but not overly so. Aromas of pears and peaches on the nose. Pair with corn, lobster in butter." My notes: A polished light blond colour with a nutty lemon, melon and straw nose. A well rounded medium-bodied chardonnay with flavours of light melon edged with a citrus tartness and lined with butter - well balanced fruit and oak. Finishes 14% warm and smooth from the first sip never losing its interest. A sipper for anyone liking a lightly oaked chard or pair with seasoned seafood: salmon, swordfish, lobster or crab, halibut and chips or with chicken breast or cold pork and green salad. Drinking well now but could cellar for several years. A good value. Serve anywhere a chard is appreciated. Ww90

Niagara, Canada, 12.5% D, #662601 $13.95 (Tasted September 23, 2007)
A Vintages release on September 15, 2007 described as "Ontario has demonstrated an ability to produce Viognier that displays the classic rich, floral fruitiness for which the grape is known, while preserving the acid levels that are so often missing in warm climate versions. Offering intense floral notes with white peach and melon on the nose, ... has a luscious mouth-coating texture and a fresh clean finish... " Gord Stimmell rated it a 90 in his column September 18 saying "... stellar white. Classic clover blossom, peach and apple aromas are pleasant, not over the top. The flavours display peach, lavender and lime with a refreshing slightly floral finish." RP of Winecurrent gives it a four (of 5) saying "... an excellent price for a very attractive Viognier. Expect to find the classic characteristics: flavours in the slightly-under-ripe peach and apricot zones, with some muskiness and spice. There's a slight bitter click at the end that adds an exclamation mark to the clean finish. Mouth-filling and smooth... drink alone or pair with simple seafood dishes." My notes: A clear, crisp light golden colour with aromas of citrus, white peach and a touch of clover - nothing 'intense'. The first sip wakes up the senses with a tart swallow and slight honey layer. Flavours of citrus, honeysuckle and spicy apple make up most of the context, balanced to the tart side of crisp and finishing long with rounded citrus. Should pair this with any seafood: fresh oysters, shrimp on the BB, bouillabaise, or a bento box of tempura veggies and seafood. Cellaring for a few years may work but primarily a drink-now. Ww85

Napa, USA, 13.0% D, #053983 $9.95 (Tasted September 22, 2007)

A General listing from E&J Gallo Winery and described on the label as "Crisp and refreshing with bright aromas and flavours of citrus and green apple. Hints of jasmine complement a bright delicate, flavourful finish." Gord Stimmell rates this 89 of 100 saying "This is a simply delicious, easy-sipping white with intriguing flavours. The aromas hint of floral jasmine, acacia, and pear with just a tantalizing hint of licorice. The flavours show off ripe pear and papaya in a mellow delivery with a slightly sweet finish." My notes: A faint blond colour with faint aroma of wildflowers with a faint honey edge. A nicely balanced first sip with tart, sweet fruit and roundness in equal partners for a light-bodied white. The flavours include a spicy note with pear and apple in the mix. A quaffable sipper for a social mix - would carry well with light nibbles: broccoli and dip, celery and carrot sticks with creamy dip, hummous and crackers, possibly a shrimp ring but unlikely shrimp sauce too... or pair with light white fish entrees. Definitely a drink-now, economical for the dropin crowd. How this translates to an 89 is beyond me unless price is a big factor - imho something is skewing the 100 point rating system. Ww78

Niagara, Canada, 12.0% D, #043364 $14.95 (Tasted September 20, 2007)

A Vintages release on September 15, 2007 described as "The wine has a deep straw core, holding its colour to the rim. The aromas are of smoke, citrus with floral and light spice notes. The palate is dense and rich, with a good replay of flavours and a refreshing vein of acidity. This wine has enough density and acid for short- to mid-term cellaring (2-4 years) or could be enjoyed tonight with charcuterie... " Gord Stimmell rated it 89 in his column September 18 saying "... nose shows spicy pear, peach and lime accents. The flavours are equally enticing, with smoky citrus, lime and pear lingering nicely." RP of Winecurrent gives it a four (of 5) saying "... a nicely-pitched Pinot Gris with rich, complex structure and good, solid fruit. Look for floral notes on the aromas and attractive peach and apricot predominating in the flavours... balanced and clean [finish]" My notes: A light citrus and spice flower nose from a light golden colour. Has a crisp clean approach with a lemon lime edge to faint flavours of apple and pear and finishes bright with a nicely balanced tartness and light fruit. A 'fish' white, ie. tart for fresh oysters, tangy with fish and chips, light flavours for bbq'd shrimp or scallops, and very flexiful for light pastas or rice dishes. A good value and a white to be offered to any guest without hesitation. I don't see cellaring though. Ww85
Rapel Valley, Chile, 14.5% D, #045138 $15.95 (Tasted September 17, 2007)

A Vintages release on September 15, 2007 described as "This crisp, well-balanced Viognier has intense citrus and apricot aromas with subtle hints of tropical fruit. A lovely aperitif or delicious complement to seared duck breast." Natalie MacLean gives it 89/100 and the Best Value White of the release saying "Gorgeous Viognier! A vibrant wine with mouthfilling flavors of guava and citrus. Pair with: seared duck breast, Asian dishes." My notes: A light yellow colour with crisp aroma of clover honey and wild flowers, delectable. The first sip is round, full-bodied, a combination of tart citrus, honey, a slight guava and pear. As a sipper this white demands your attention carrying its smoothness and citrus to a long, dry finish. Better paired with nibble food pieces of mild italian sausage, garlic shrimp or scallops, shaved italian meats on foccacia. Have with pork cutlet, ham slice, roasted turkey or dark fowl - perhaps liver and onions??. A big wine suitable for special guests and/or occasions. A great value - but try it beforehand - a strong viognier may not be for everyone. Should cellar well for five years. Ww90

Niagara, Canada, 12.5% D, #053934 $14.95 (Tasted September 16, 2007)

A General listing produced for Dan Aykroyd by Lakeview Cellars in Niagara, Ontario. Described as a "medium straw in colour with aromas of red apple. Medium-bodied, it reveals flavours of red apple on the palate ending with crisp acidity. Serve with a salmon salad." The Lakeview website describes this as "Bright yellow in colour, this medium-bodied Chardonnay exhibits aromas of fresh apples and lime zest. The palate is bursting with flavours of orchard peaches and nectarines with slight oak character in the background. A refreshingly crisp and acidic finish; great for summer sipping with friends." My notes: Pleasantly floral dissipating quickly with some honey and wild flower aroma and a light golden colour. Nicely buttered on the first sip with a crispness introducing some apple lime flavours. A mystery as a chard having some unexpected nuttiness with little to no butter carry over. For me, this smacks of artificial sidelights that spoil the varietal character intended. Not recommended as a meal white - perhaps as a social white until you find a spot for it but overall, I'll skip it. Ww76

Leyda Valley, Chile, 13.5% XD, #032060 $14.95 (Tasted September 05, 2007)
A Vintages release on September 1, 2007 described as "Here's an opportunity to try a 'nouveau' wine well before the third week of November! Direct from the Southern Hemisphere, this is VINTAGES' first offering from the 2007 vintage. Montes is one of the most exciting wineries in Chile right now, so expect racy, crisp goodness with this fine and fresh Savvy. Chill it down and enjoy it with your favourite shellfish." My notes: A light blond colour with light aromas of fresh gooseberries and almost a lime edge, not in your face as in some NZs. The body is well rounded with a silky texture but with an acid seam to finish crisply and featuring a distinct blend of tropical fruit. Paired with grilled Copper River salmon the flavours didn't survive however, was refreshing between forkfuls. A meal of grilled telapia, halibut or a scallop/mushroom pasta would be more appopriate. Drinking well now and should cellar two to four years evolving to be more european in overall approach. Well priced - and yes, I'd take it anywhere. Ww84

Uco Valley, Argentina, 13.5% D, #591743 $13.95 (Tasted September 05, 2007)

A Vintages release on September 1, 2007 described as "To give it added complexity, the Lurton Reserva Chardonnay is barrel-fermented and aged for six months on its lees. It tastes just like a top quality California Chardonnay at a fraction of the price. The Lurton wine is super-opulent ... I do find it pretty extraordinary that you can find so much sophistication at this price ... Wine of the Week (Jancis Robinson M.W., March 13, 2007). RP of Winecurrent gives it four (of 5) saying "This has an extraordinarily creamy texture, to the point that it might be too much for some palates. It’s chock full of up-front, ripe, luscious fruit flavours—peach and tropical fruit predominate—with some lighter leesy notes. This is such a big textured wine, it’s hard to suggest a food it won’t smother. Drink it on its own?" My notes: A light golden colour with a nose of balanced kiwi, white peaches and nettles. Full-bodied, with a glycerol feel from the first sip and flavours of light lemon and honey dew melon. The finish has a buttery creaminess layering the mouth, very round and lengthy. This is a different sipper because of its heft and often 'different' makes good conversation. Should be great with grilled well seasoned shrimp - teriyaki or garlic, smoked salmon, tuna steak, spicy mussels. Cellaring for several years is iffy... I'd go two at a time to see how the delicate fruit flavours carry through the fermentation components. A value for anyone looking for a full-bodied chard. Ww83

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