Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Whites 2008: 15 Tasted of 15

A lazy stream, Fall '65
The theme is 'Pinot Gris/Grigio' priced between $12 and $18, with the exception of Citra ($7.60) and Botter ($8.85/750mL). Tastings are my own and are just opinions, after all 'tastes' vary person to person, region to region and country to country. The following wines have been set aside for this month. We'll see if Italian PGs are 'light and dry' versus the New World 'fuller and fruitier' and there's a few 'Alsatians' in the mix. Taste along if you wish.... I'd be interested in your comments. Completed tastings are in bold. Cheers, Ww (V - Vintage, G - General, O - Other)
  • Grove Mill Pinot Gris 2007, 92-3 - V, NZ, #001693 $16.95
  • Maculan Pinot Grigio 2007, 88-2 - V, Italy, #734921 $13.95
  • Domaine Allimant-Laugner Pinot Gris 2006, 86 - V, France, #061317 $16.85
  • Francis Ford Coppola Presents Bianco Pinot Grigio 2006, 86 - G, USA, #056424 $14.95
  • Albino Armani Pinot Grigio 2006, 85 - V, Italy, #063032 $16.95
  • Collavini Villa Canlungo Pinot Grigio 2006, 85 - G, Italy, #033340 $14.05
  • Santi Sortelese Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio 2006, Ww85 - G, Italy, #637603 $12.95
  • Santa Margherita Valdadige Pinot Grigio 2006, Ww85 - V, Italy, #106450 $16.95
  • Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigio 2007, Ww84 - G, S. Africa, #027128 $11.80
  • Tommasi Viticoltori 'Vigneto Le Rosse' Pinot Grigio 2007, Ww83 - V, Italy, #910497 $17.95
  • Leon Beyer Pinot Gris 2005, 82 - G, France, #165241 $16.25
  • Eastdell Estates Pinot Grigio 2006 VQA Ontario, 77 - G, Ontario, #065367 $12.95
  • Colio Estates Pinot Grigio 2006 VQA Ontario, 77 - G, Ontario, #503391 $14.85
  • Citra Pinot Grigio Osco 2007, 76 - G, Italy, #017483 $7.60
  • Botter Anna Pinot Grigio Chardonnay 2006, 74 - G, Italy, 1000mL #613620 $11.85


Venezie, Italy, 12.0% XD, #910497 $17.95 (Tasted April 16, 2008)

A Vintages release on March 29, 2008 described as "Tommasi is one of Veneto's finest producers. They put their stamp on Pinot Grigio by creating an impactful, flavourful version that is excellent for sipping or serving with dishes such as pan-seared sea scallops." My notes: A $3 increase since tasting the 2005 vintage on October 12, 2006 with the comment "A pleasant pinot grigio sipper, not as spicy as some... Good value." I swear I see a peachy glint in the colour which is unusual for an Italian PG. The nose is mostly of citrus and honeysuckle, nothing aromatic though. The flavours are a light citrus and apricot with a tang and body is on the light side of medium. Somewhere between quaffing and sipping is likely although the finish warms up after a few tastes and leaves a rounded blend of flavours behind. Have with creamy linguine dishes, a seafood pasta in a light mushroom sauce, broiled chicken breasts or pork chops again in a mushroom sauce. Although nice I'd settle for a different pinot grigio at the price. 83

ALBINO ARMANI PINOT GRIGIO 2006, Valdadige, Italy, 12.5% XD, #063032 $16.95 (Tasted April 21, 20

A Vintages release on March 15, 2008 described as "In order to retain the bright, crisp fruitiness of this wine, Albino Armani matures this Pinot Grigio strictly in stainless steel tanks. The aromas suggest spring flowers and ripe peas. The palate sees a replay of these aromas coupled with a lovely racy acidity." My notes: A pale yellow with aromas of floral, spice and faint wild honey - let go offchill, say to 12C, for the full nose and followon flavours, a definite cream balanced with a tangy delicate pear. Has a savoury mineral finish needing a finger food or entree and is crisp enough for seafood appetizers or italian shaved meats on crusty buns.. Creamy pastas could pair nicely with the traditional dry textures. Drink-now up to a year. 85

COLLAVINI VILLA CANLUNGO PINOT GRIGIO 2006, Corno Rosazzo, Italy, 12.5% D, #033340 $14.05 (Tasted April 1, 2008)

A General listing described as "Pale straw colour; citrus, light mineral and melon aromas with herbal notes; light-bodied with citrus, green apple flavours with good acidity. Serve with pasta in cream sauce; risotto; or as an aperitif." My notes: Corno Rosazzo is in Italy's most northeastern edge in Fruili where the vineyards enjoy the cool breezes of the Adriatic. Has a delicate floral peach nose, a pleasing light gold with a faint peach tone and crisp flavours balanced between ripe melon and green apple including a tart seam. The long finish has a citrus zest refreshing to the palate, drying with a just perceptible sweetness. An economical meal white to have with any seafood - went well with chicken thighs in a tomato sauce... try as an aperitif with fresh shellfish or crab cakes. I don't see this as cellarable - drink now up to a year while it's fresh. 85

MACULAN PINOT GRIGIO 2007, Breganze (Veneto), Italy, 12.0% XD, #734921 $13.95 (Tasted April 5, 2008)

A Vintages release on March 29, 2008 described as "... This Pinot Grigio works perfectly with flavourful fish dishes or pasta with a simple sauce and a few slivers of black truffle or a drizzle of truffle oil. A reliable and fresh pinot grigio that grabs your attention with some fruity freshness and a hint of mineral complexity. Combination of apple, pear and flinty/mineral lift. Dry with citrusy fruit streaked with mineral and just a hint of dried herbs. Clean and fresh with good acidity and some fruit depth for the money... " My notes: Fausto Maculan was the driving force behind Breganze being its own DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) located northwest of Venezia on the Adriatic and halfway to Trentino. A golden colour with nose of honey and lemon, refreshing but not sharp, and flavours of a honeyed citrus zest, a combination of creamy and tart that becomes luscious in a long fresh finish. A medium-bodied, daring sipper better with fresh oysters or rich hors d'oeuvres. Pair with any seafood dish, creamy shellfish pasta or japanese bento box of tempura shrimp and zucchini pieces. An extra dry drink-now and preferable to the 2006 vintage. 88

SANTI SORTESELE DELLE VENEZIE PINOT GRIGIO 2006, Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy, 13.0% D, #637603 $12.95 (Tasted April 13, 2008)

A General listing described as "Pale straw colour; apple, pear and lemon aromas and flavours; dry palate with a creamy texture, light to medium bodied with a spicy finish. Serve with shellfish, creamy pasta dishes or as a patio sipper." KDWines notes " With a pale straw color and delicate green tints, the wine has full and complex aromas of pears, exotic fruits and wild flowers. On the palate, the wine has generous, soft but lively fruit with firm flavors, good acidity and a long finish. The wine has fine structure, captivating to the nose and very satisfying on the palate. Match with sushi, shellfish, fish, chicken, BBQ, Asian cuisine, Antipasto." My notes: A mid golden colour and fragrant wild floral, pear and slight honey aromas. A lightish medium-body with flavours of tart apple and mild lemon, dry with the mild lemon finishing fresh on the palate with a light spice - didn't get the 'creamy texture'. A meal white to have with raw oysters or mussels in a cream sauce, pair with other seafood dishes, creamy chicken pastas or halibut and chips (hold the catsup). Drink while young and fresh. 85

BOTTER ANNA PINOT GRIGIO CHARDONNAY 2006, Veneto, Italy, 12.0% D, 1000mL #613620 $11.85 (Tasted April 19, 2008)

A General listing described as "Pale straw colour; slightly floral nose with notes of citrus, melon and almond paste; dry, light to medium bodied, soft and flavourful. Serve with seared fish, bbq shrimp and veggie dishes." Beppi Crosariol (July 2006) includes the Botter Tetras in his column 'At Last, Tetra Pak wines worth drinking' describing the PG/C as "fruity and fresh, light-medium bodied, hinting at honeydew and citrus flavours, with brilliantly crisp acidity. It's a terrific, summer-styled white and better than many pinot grigios costing several dollars more." and was still flogging it in his column April 19, 2008. On the other hand, Billy Munnelly calls it "Kressman in disguise." My notes: A green gold Tetra package for light toting and from grapes that are organically grown. Has a light golden colour with light floral scents and a dull herb. Drink chilled as the fruit disappears quickly leaving a pithy lemon flavour with a lasting pithy tang. The highlight of the finish is the tang - I found it an increasingly uninteresting sipper (Kressman actually looks favourable). Add to a fruity sangria for the alcohol content. I'm surprised any 'critic' would give this column space. 74

SANTA MARGHERITA VALDADIGE PINOT GRIGIO 2006, Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy, 12.0% D, #106450 $16.95 (Tasted April 29, 2008)

A Vintages release described as "Santa Margherita was the first to make Pinot Grigio as a purely white wine by ensuring that no pigment from the grape's light pink skin coloured the juice. Pale straw colour with aromas of fresh green apple, and peach that replay on the crisp, dry palate. Our number one selling white wine makes an excellent aperitif, or serve it with antipasto or gnocchi." My notes: A pale blond colour, crystal clean with aromas the delicate spice of wild flowers. The taste has a crisp nip and lightly sweetened pear and apple flavours finishing round, dry and grassy on the tongue. Have with fresh oysters, shaved italian meats on crusty breads or with creamy or tomato pastas. A drink-now. 85

CITRA PINOT GRIGIO OSCO 2007, Abruzzi, Italy, 13.0% D, #017483 $7.60 (Tasted April 8, 2008)

A General listing described as "Pale yellow with green hue; aromas of lemon & lime; crisp & clean with lemon tones. Serve with brie cheese or lemon zest shrimp." My notes: Almost a clear white in colour and soft citrus and honey aromas, a nice nip on the first swallow, a little flat on the finish although leaving a bright citrus tang and faint lemon flavour similar to a vinho verde. A light-bodied dry white refreshing enough for most fish entrees or creamy mushroom pasta dishes. Worth the $8 as a spontaneous white not for guests but a quaffer for a quick meal or with nibbles. 76

FLAT ROOF MANOR PINOT GRIGIO 2007, South Africa, 12.5% D, #027128 $11.80 (Tasted April 5, 2008)

A General listing and made by Estelle Lourens from Stellenbosch grapes. Their website notes "A pale yellow with a hint of green. A bouquet of dried peach and apricot as well as a hint of litchi. On the palate an emphasis on peaches." My notes: Serve chilled or off chill for green apple and floral aromas.. a light pinot grigio in colour - didn't get the 'green' - and in flavour which leaves a fruity tart apple as a start to a not quite flat, quince and straw finish. An everyday economical aperitif or meal white for anything from delicate seafood to spicy Thai. A drink-now. 84

EASTDELL ESTATES PINOT GRIGIO 2006 VQA ONTARIO, Niagara Peninsula, Canada, 10.5% D, #065367 $12.95 (Tasted April 13, 2008)

A General listing the label describes as "A light-flavoured, crisp white, ... excellent with a variety of hors d'oeuvres... ". My notes: The 'VQA' indicates grapes could be from anywhere in Ontario. A deep gold with a peachy hue and soft floral violet nose with melon sidelights. Medium-bodied, a slight chalkiness carrying mild apple flavours then finishing soft almost flat and dry on the palate. Without sufficient nipping power - perhaps the low alcohol - or flavours this is limited as an accompaniment to low fat dishes: mild hors d'oeuvres , a mild bouillabaisse, cold chicken breast on greens, a mushroom soup perhaps. More of a quaffer with a lime or lemon wedge in the summer - not for cellaring. 77

COLIO ESTATES PINOT GRIGIO 2006 VQA ONTARIO, Harrow, Ontario, 12.3% D, #503391 $14.85 (Tasted April 9, 2008)

A General listing described as "Bright, pale yellow colour; delicate mineral and fresh fruit aromas with pear, melon and apple fruit notes; dry, med. bodied, with flavours of juicy pear, apple, red grapefruit and mineral. Enjoy with white meats, such as baked chicken with apple/pear glaze, apricot stuffed pork loin, Asian cuisine, fish kebabs, or simply on its own." The label notes "Subtle pear and citrus fruit bouquet followe by pear, melon and mineral undertones in the taste..." My notes: The winery is in Harrow on the north shore of Lake Erie however the 'VQA' indicates grapes could be from anywhere in Ontario. Contains 11% riesling and 89% pinot grigio which alters the flavours and aroma somewhat... a tad leesy in the nose overwhelming the faint honey citrus and the flavour as well which tends to be a faint melon and citrus including a light tang and leesy hangover. Somewhat uninteresting and more of a meal white than a social sipper. The finish falls away with not enough texture, acid or flavour to hold attention. Have with light cheese snacks or creamy pasta dishes. Didn't survive a mild ground beef cheesy macaroni casserole. A drink-now. 77

DOMAINE ALLIMANT-LAUGNER PINOT GRIS 2006, Alsace, France, 12.5% SC3, #061317 $16.85 (Tasted April 12, 2008)

A Vintages release on February 2, 2008 described as "The small Domaine Allimant-Laugner property produces world-beater wines with a variety of grapes, including this fine Pinot Gris. Recognized for their intensity of flavour and superb balance, Allimant-Laugner has a reputation as a winemaker's winemaker. Enjoy this Pinot Gris with rich fish or seafood dishes." My notes: A brief outline of the 2006 Pinot Gris is found on their eboutique website. The colour is a light golden with fragrances of honey and pear. Full, smooth with both sweet and tart fruit evenly matched along with a light mineral flavour on the first sip. The flavours fade quickly leaving the smoothness of sugar and a slightly tart mineral edge. A sociable sipper on the sweet side... have with appetizers such as avocado and chicken or tuna salad cocktail sandwiches, ham salad dip and celery sticks, a mixed nut and cheese tray - or pair with cold chicken, sushi or chinese. Could cellar two to five years - try after the second year, should have a honeyed texture by then. 86

LEON BEYER PINOT GRIS 2005, Alsace, France, 13.5% D, #165241 $16.25 (Tasted April 2, 2008)

A General listing described as "Pale straw yellow colour; ripe pear and melon fruit with light peach and smoky tones; medium-to full-bodied with intense spicy flavours; citrus and mineral on the finish. Serve with wild mushroom quiche, shellfish, cream sauced lighter meat dishes." Toronto Life gives it an 86/100 saying "Formerly called Tokay Pinot Gris; the word “tokay” has been banned from Alsace labels over confusion with the Hungarian wine region. A traditional dry, brisk, yet quite rich, maturing white, with musk, apricot, honey and almond. Some creamy opulence with a dry salt and pepper and grapefruit finish." My notes: A pale straw colour with a soft aroma of apricots and almonds. At 12C the flavour is a blend of Bosc pear and white pith of grapefruit, medium-bodied with some roundness in the texture. Finishes with a moderate duration of the white grapefruit pith. This bottle may have sat too long in warehouse as the fresh fruitiness and tang anticipated has 'left the building'. Although this bottle won't go to waste I'd skip any additional - not cellarable. 82

FRANCIS COPPOLA PRESENTS BIANCO PINOT GRIGIO 2006, California, USA, 13.0% D, #056424 $14.95 (Tasted April 3, 2008)

A General listing and a wine by Niebaum-Coppola. The WineBuyer gives the blend as 89% pinot grigio, 6% sauvignon blanc and 5% chardonnay. Vibrant and full of verve, Bianco Pinot Grigio is perfect for any occasion. It has intense floral aromas that mingle with cool melon and tropical fruit, and a light crisp mouthfeel, which is complemented by fresh peach, ripe pear, and pink grapefruit flavors." My notes: Serve well chilled. Has a blond colour and aromas of melon, lemon and wild clover - a tad fuller, from the chardonnay perhaps, with off-dry flavours of 'tropical' melon finishing long and dry with a moderate tang on the tongue. An interesting sipper - possibly from the sauvignon blanc adding to taste and fragrance - with a tangy grigio finish that begs an hors d'oeuvre: mushroom spread on crisps, bacon and scallop pieces, anchovies broiled on pita pieces or everyday broccoli and sour cream dip. Would go nicely with most seafoods or white fowl and would have 'universal' appeal as a social white. Cellaring a year OK - might go grassy if longer. 86

GROVE MILL PINOT GRIS 2007, Marlborough, NZ, 13.5% SC3, #001693 $16.95 (Tasted April 8, 2008)

A Vintages release on March 29, 2008 described as "Grove Mill is a key pioneer of Pinot Gris in Marlborough ... The 2005 vintage, partly French oak-fermented, is outstanding. Light straw, it is a distinctly Alsace-like wine, mouthfilling..., with peachy, citrusy, slightly spicy and honeyed flavours, beautifully ripe, rich and rounded." Labels on the bottle indicate this is a 'Carb Zero' and 'Sustainable' product. My notes: The price has come down $3 since tasting the 2005 vintage on October 16, 2006 with the comment "... it is 'beautifully ripe, rich and rounded'... A wonderful off-dry sipper...". The 2007 vintage is decidely peachy gold in the glass not too deep to be crass just delicate. A honey melon and apricot aroma with a luscious texture and fruity sweetness framing hay, apricot, pear and a slight raisin. The finish is lengthy with honey coated pear. An excellent off-dry sipper for that special social as the tart seam balances the sugar nicely. Have with sushi, Thai, Chinese or with seafood appetizers. Cellaring should turn colour and texture into a firmer profile of the grape without spoiling the fruit - I'd guess two years. 92

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