Tuesday, November 11, 2008

'The 500 Best Value Wines, 2009' - Whites: 6 Tasted of 6

This is Part 3 of a review of Rod Phillips recent book The 500 Best Value Wines in the LCBO, 2009.

This time around I’ve looked at wines rated 4 ½ stars (90-93) - there are twenty-four whites and forty-two reds to choose from. Almost all were available locally and most were priced within my budget. I’ve put aside six whites that piqued my interest. Why not pick up the book, select your own wines and ‘taste’ along. When tasted wines appear in bold.
Cheers, Ww

(* - Different vintage, Price - up<, down>)

  • Errazuriz Estate Chardonnay 2007, Ww94 -- G, Casablanca Valley, Chile, #318741 $11.80
  • Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2006, Ww92 -- G, California, USA, #379180 $17.95
  • Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio Trentino Riserva 2006, Ww90 -- G, Trentino, Italy, #032714 $15.95
  • Mission Hill Chardonnay Reserve 2006* VQA Okanagan Valley, Ww89 -- V, BC, Canada, #545004 $19.95>
  • Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Grigio 2006, Ww88 -- G, California, USA, #045641 $18.05
  • Cookoothama Chardonnay 2006, Ww81 -- G, Darlington Point, Australia, # 619403 $13.95

COOKOOTHAMA CHARDONNAY 2006, Darlington Point, Australia, 14.0% D, # 619403 $13.95 (Tasted November 18, 2008)
A General listing described as “Pale straw yellow colour; aromas of citrus and vanilla; dry, medium bodied, crisp with apple, citrus flavours. Serve with grilled or roast poultry.” My notes: A pale straw colour, firm aromas of lemon and a viscous film that slowly forms tears on the glass. This has a roundness combined with a bright nip from the first sip, intense flavours lasting a short while before fading warmly into an apple lemon flavour. I’d call this lopsided as if the process is compensating for fruit. A social sipper for a crowd rather than a white to mull over. Have with crab cakes or cold pasta salad and shredded ham. A drink now - not for cellaring. Ww81

MISSION HILL CHARDONNAY RESERVE 2006 VQA Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada, 13.5% XD, #545004 $19.95 (Tasted November 15, 2008)

A Vintages release on October 11, 2008 described as “From one of BC's most beautiful wineries, comes this elegant, flavourful wine. Winemaker John Simes, working with the blessings of visionary owner Anthony von Mandl, has created a wine loaded with peach, tropical fruit (pineapple and banana), floral, butterscotch and toasty oak aromas. It's medium full-bodied with a creamy texture leading to a long finish. An inspired match for pan-seared chicken breast with rosemary and garlic.” My notes: A year later vintage and a dollar less than the book. This has a light lemon butter nose and a faint gold colour spreading a thin film on the bowl. Thinner than the Errazuriz chard perhaps as full as the Mondavi in this group, less fruit as well and with a grassy edge. Conservatively flavoured as a sipper having a silky texture and dry finish that carries a apple lemon tartness well. Have with lobster pieces, crab cakes or roast chicken breast sliced on greens. A drink now - cellaring is not likely to improve noticeably. Ww89

BERINGER FOUNDERS’ ESTATE PINOT GRIGIO 2006, California, USA, 12.5% D, #045641 $18.05 (Tasted November 22, 2008)

A General listing described simply as “Enjoy on its own or with salads or grilled chicken.” My notes: A pale blond colour with aromas of honeysuckle and a bit of spice. Citrus flavours softened by slight banana still with a crispness needed for creamy pastas and grilled seafood. Interesting by itself or as an aperitif with bacon wrapped scallops or cocktail sausage. Medium-bodied finishing long, dry with an enduring sharpness. I had this with a sushi combo including smoked salmon, shrimp and seaweed wraps all with sticky rice and it went very well altho‘ less contrasting than the Mezzacorona Trentino PG. Not for cellaring - a drink now. Ww88 

ROBERT MONDAVI PRIVATE SELECTION CHARDONNAY 2006, California, USA, 13.5% D, #379180 $17.95 (Tasted November 13, 2008)

A General listing described as “Deep yellow colour; Aromas of anise, citrus, cooked apple and tropical fruit; Dry, full bodied, with nice balance of tropical fruit and oak; crisp acidity on the long spicy finish. Serve with grilled seafood, lobster, poultry and soft cheese.” My notes: A pale golden colour with a soft aroma of lemon butter. The thin film recedes quickly on the glass and the first sip is sharp ending full of tart apple or citrus, dry and long. I’d say it’s extra dry with very little if any sugar showing and somewhat creamy once you get past the tartness. Almost unoaked and medium-bodied. A sipper if you also prefer ‘lemon twists’. Have with hors d’oeuvres: saucy chicken wings, cocktail sausage or a ham dip with cheesy crackers. Pair with oysters Rockefeller, a grilled ham steak or sliced turkey breast. Cellar up to four years. Ww92

ERRAZURIZ ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2007, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 13.5% XD, #318741 $11.80 (Tasted November 14, 2008)

A General listing described as “Bright yellow colour; rich pineapple and banana with vanilla aromas; full-bodied, creamy and lush with pineapple fruif, baked applet and buttery, vanilla/nut flavours. Serve with lobster, grilled chicken, duck a l'orange, herb crusted pork chops.” My notes: A pale blond colour with aromas of banana and slight honey - leaves a firm film on the bowl. Full-bodied with a balanced sweetness (it’s not extra dry to me) and acid mostly of a lemon pith flavour - perhaps that’s the ‘baked’ aspect? Slightly off chill is the way to go as a sipper for fuller development of flavours and bouquet - scrumptious. Unless you’re ABC this has everything you’d expect of a chardonnay sipper, each sip brings interest. Have with seafood or white fowl. Cellaring for a couple of years should be OK making this a super value. Ww94

MEZZACORONA PINOT GRIGIO TRENTINO RISERVA 2006, Trentino, Italy, 13.0% D, #032714 $15.95 (Tasted November 21, 2008)

A General listing described as “Clear pale straw green colour; with aromas of mineral, lemon, lime and green apple. Light-bodied, dry, it ends with crisp citrus tones. Serve with light chicken dishes, pasta with cream sauces and salads.” My notes: A pale golden colour with a light aroma of spicy wildflowers. The first sip is both smooth and dry, the tartness is of fresh lemon juice but mellowed by apple and finishes with a touch of sweet straw. A sipper if you don’t mind a tad tart - great as a warm summer day aperitif or with fresh oysters or crab cakes. Pair with seafoods of all sorts as the entrée or with a creamy pasta, a bouillabaisse or smoked salmon and capers on greens. Cellaring for up to two years should not harm this refreshing white. Ww90

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