Tuesday, July 01, 2008

'GlobeLife' Wines: 6 Tasted of 6

Several years ago I started reading Beppi Crosariol’s column in the Globe&Mail regularly, clipping out the articles and buying a few of his recommendations each week. There were some mismatches but on the average there were more hits than misses between his tastes and mine. Then a few years back something happened. Selections were for wines way beyond my price bracket… rather orbital. Even recently prices continue on the high side and, since it's a national paper, many of the wine selections have been out-of-province or from distributors (case lots only, thank you). But I did read his column, ‘Stop and Smell the Bouquet’, under the byline DECANTER, in today's copy (June 4th).

I looked for the aromatic wines featured finding of the over two dozen general references only five were ~$20 or less. The article was slanted to wine lists of 'trendy restaurants' so whatever their markup was not factored in. Of the five found two were available locally and are asterisked below. Of the eight specifically listed at the bottom of the article all but one were within my $20 ballpark and four of these were available at local LCBOs.

That’s an intro to say this blog entry covers wines selected from Beppi’s column. Since the cited wines have no rating the assumption is they are ‘recommendations’… maybe so or maybe just marketing. When tasted wines are in bold. Cheers, Ww (G - General Listing, V – Vintages, O - Other)

  • *Darting Riesling Kabinett 2006, RP90-93, 91-2 -- V, Pfalz, Germany, #950212 $15.95
  • Anne Boecklin Riesling Schlossberg Alsace Grand Cru 2004, 89-1 -- V, Alsace, France, #061390 $22.95
  • *Creekside Estate Laura’s Blend White 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 88-1 -- V, Ontario, Canada, #053553 $17.95
  • Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling 2007, 83 -- V, Adelaide, Australia, #606269 $19.95
  • Chateau des Charmes Gewurztraminer 2006 VQA St. Davids Bench, 82 -- V, Ontario, Canada, #453472 $19.95
  • Hardys Stamp Series Riesling Gewurztraminer 2007, 72 -- G, South Eastern Australia, #448548 $9.95


DARTING RIESLING KABINETT 2006, Pfalz, Germany, 10.0% MD, #950212 $15.95 (Tasted July 7, 2008)  CS

A Vintages release on May 10, 2008 described as “A great summer sipper or a good match for gourmet spicy pork sausages, this wine displays aromas of Asian pear, stone fruit, melon and wet stones. Medium in sweetness with a nice core of acidity to bring balance and ageability (3-6 years or more), this has a long, beautifully balanced finish. (VINTAGES panel, March 2008).” My notes: A light golden colour with a fifty-fifty grass and pear nose followed by light clover honey flavours, silky and refreshingly tart although the natural sweetness can’t be missed – a sugar code of 3 – 5. This is a warm afternoon lip smacking sipper, after the rush hour traffic is endured or relaxing with weekend neighbours on the deck. Have with a fruit and cheese tray or with nicely grilled garlic shrimp. Four to eight years in the cellar would introduce more caramel but if you like ‘fresh’ drink now. 91

ASS GOLD LABEL RIESLING 2007, Adelaide, Australia, 11.5% D, #606269 $19.95 (Tasted June 27, 2008)  CS

A Vintages release on March 15, 2008 described as “This Riesling is the wine that started Wolf Blass' regionally focused Gold Label portfolio. Vibrant and youthful, this beauty is pure pleasure with fresh lime, apple, and grapefruit aromas bursting from the glass. It's dry, juicy fruity with layers of mineral notes and a core of tangy acid. Brilliant now, it should evolve nicely over the next 5 years.” A Foster's Wine Estates Americas product. My notes: A light blond in the glass and aromas of slight yeast and apple peel – similar to a still brut champagne. A crisp mouthfeel adds to a faint crabapple flavour, a medium-bodied to light- combination. Finishes with a smooth, tart apple, dry and cleansing. Texture and body has some appeal as a sipper - better with pepperoni on Italian breads, bruschetta or pair with light seafood dishes. Cellaring may turn this into a value – not now. 83

ECKLIN RIESLING SCHLOSSBERG ALSACE GRAND CRU 2004, Alsace, France, 13.0% D, #061390 $22.95 (Tasted June 26, 2008)  CS

A Vintages release on May 24, 2008 described as “The name Anne Boecklin, an historical figure from the 16th century who was important to early Alsatian winemaking, is a deliberate evocation of the feminine to represent the style of wine produced here. This floral- and exotic fruit-scented Riesling is ideal as a contemplation wine or match it to lighter seafood dishes. By: Cave Vinicole De Kientzheim-Kaysers.” My notes: A golden blond, picturesque with dew on the glass and aromas with more texture than fragrance, like peach fuzz, and similar to brut champagne without the bubbles. A brisk nip with highlights glistening on the tongue, medium-bodied and faint flavours of tart pear. The acidic finish cleanses leaving a metallic edge setting up the palate for the next sip. This won’t be everyone’s favoured sipper, better to have with fresh oysters, cold King crab pieces or pair with any seafood, scallops to salmon, or mushroom pasta dish. 89

Ontario, Canada, 13.0% XD, #053553 $17.95 (Tasted June 19, 2008)  CS

A Vintages release on March 29, 2008 described as “Combines sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot gris, viognier, muscat and riesling - partially aged in older barrels for a touch of spice. Quite intense floral, jasmine and clove nose with vague yellow pear-plum fruit. Medium weight; viscous; spicy palate with some lemon-grapefruit on the finish. Very good length. 87/100 (David Lawrason, Nov. 20, 2007).” My notes: A light blond with a spicy apple orange blossom nose and the first sip shows a crisp texture, some tart apple and a lemon-lime edge, then a long, dryyyy finish. Definitely a mix of whatever’s leftover resulting in a neat summer cooler. Have with seafood or save for a warm summer day with a lime slice and crushed ice on the patio. Would be great with battered halibut and chips… or grilled whitefish with coleslaw and onion rings. This could cellar up to two years... but not improve. 88

Ontario, Canada, 13.5% D, #453472 $19.95 (Tasted June 12, 2008)  CS

A Vintages release on May 10, 2008 described as “Vintage after vintage, Château des Charmes proves it is one of the finest producers of Gewürztraminer in Ontario. They always achieve the perfect balance between Gewürz's 'orchid aroma' tendencies and fresh fruitiness. The 2006 also features lychee, musqué, and bright citrus fruit. It's off-dry, full-bodied with a round texture and a long finish. Pair it with spicy Thai dishes.” My notes: A clean and clear light blond colour with a light grassy aroma of stone fruit and lychee. Nicely rounded on the first swallow with tart melon flavours. The finish is fruit-based, medium-bodied and leaves a soft layer of melon. The spice in the first swallow fades to a light herb then further to a sweet grassy edge. Have with melon balls and maple syrup, crisp tempura shrimp and zuchini pieces also suitable with grilled lake trout or pickerel or chinese fare. Not for cellaring but could try for up to four years to see where it goes. Not a value imho. 82

South Eastern Australia, 11.5% MD, #448548 $9.95 (Tasted June 12, 2008)  CS

Pale straw colour; rose petal and lychee with a touch of spice in aroma & flavour; sweetness balanced by lime citrus finish. Serve chilled with spicy Asian dishes. By: Constellation Wines Australia.” My notes: A clear blond with a light citrus aroma if I use my imagination. ‘Rose petal’? Don’t think so. The first sip brings some sweetness with a light citrus and apple hints. The price and no real flaws makes this acceptable as a house white but have a backup in case a wine drinker shows up. Very commercial, slightly off-dry, on the light side of medium-bodied and likely for the North American market. Finishes sweet and no appreciable spice. You can’t beat the price, not to impress but to quench – serve chilled on a hot day and have with light seafood nibblers… an M&M shrimp ring or Alaskan King crab claws. 72

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