Friday, May 01, 2009

May 2009 Wines: 20 Tasted of 20

Some wines are bought on spec. throughout the month and some are brought to the house by kind guests (g). When a wine has been tasted it will appear in bold and resequenced by rating. Cheers, Ww
  • Viña Calina Alcance Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, 93-3 -- V, Maule Valley, Chile, #079533 $19.95
  • Mitolo ‘Jester’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, 92-2 -- V, McLaren Vale, Australia, #043224 $22.95
  • Domaine de la Jasse Vieilles Vignes 2000, 91-2  -- O, Pays d'Oc, France, #SO39-2636 $18.67
  • Alkoomi ‘Frankland River’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, 90-2  -- V, Western Australia, #904227 $17.95
  • Bodegas Ateca Atteca Old Vines 2006, 90-1  -- V, Calatayud, Spain, #103473 $22.95 
  • Bodegas Faustino I Tinto Gran Reserva 1995, 88  - V, Rioja, Spain, #976662 $32.95
  • Dornier Merlot 2003, 85 -- V, Stellenbosch, S.Africa, #694224 $18.95 
  • Pérez Cruz Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, 80 -- V, Maipo Valley, Chile, #694208 $14.95
  • Fattoria La Loggia Terra Dei Cavalieri Chianti Classico 1997, 80 -- G, Italy, #738146 $14.90
  • Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2008, 90-2  -- G, Marlborough, NZ, #426601 $15.95
  • X&Y Chardonnay 2006, 90-2  -- V, Margaret River, Australia, #048561 $18.80
  • Terravin Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2006, 89-1  -- V, Marlborough, NZ, #106021 $21.95
  • MontGras Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2007, 88-2  -- G, San Antonio Valley, Chile, #058362 $11.95
  • Southbrook Triomphe Sauvignon Blanc 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 85 -- V, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, #117556 $18.95
  • Westend Estate Richland Pinot Grigio 2008, 85 -- V, Riverina, Australia, #092494 $13.95
  • Henry LaGarde Chardonnay Reserve 2007, 84 -- V, Mendoza, Argentina, #098087 $17.95
  • Castellani Poggio Al Casone La Cattura 2006, 82 -- V, Tuscany, Italy, #121194 $19.95
  • Wakefield Chardonnay 2007, 82 -- V, South Australia, #711556 $15.95
  • Lindemans Bin 85 Pinot Grigio 2008, 79 -- G, Australia, #668947 $10.85 (g)
  • Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2007, 76 -- G, Australia, #226860 $14.95 (g)
(G - General listing, V – Vintages, O - Other, r-v - Rating-Value)


WAKEFIELD CHARDONNAY 2007, South Australia, 14.5% D, #711556 $15.95 (Tasted May 15, 2009)

A Vintages release on April 11, 2009 described as “A ripe, luscious, peach-, nectarine- and citrus-scented wine with well-integrated creamy oak tones. This clean, balanced, and fruity wine is an excellent match for roast pork, mushroom risotto and, as the producer suggests, Chinese spice-encrusted duck.” My notes: Wakefield’s Shiraz 2005 (#943787, $17.95) was tasted in October 2007 and rated 88. This chardonnay has a blond colour and leaves a thin viscous film on the bowl. An orange- grapefruit aroma lifts briefly from the glass if given a few minutes to develop and go slightly off chill. The first sip dries the palate and shows slight citrus flavours and a tinge of cream - an oak treatment is not evident. The finish is dry with subtle flavours and tang making this a suitable beverage for a general gathering or a dry white for a buffet lunch, with seafood pastas, cold chicken breast sliced on greens or with cold pork. A drink now. 82

TERRAVIN SAUVIGNON BLANC/SEMILLON 2006, Marlborough, NZ, 13.5% XD, #106021 $21.95 (Tasted May 13, 2009)

A Vintages release on April 11, 2009 described by Michael Cooper of New Zealand Buyer’s Guide, 2008 giving it 4 out of 5, “… mouthfilling, crisp and ripely herbaceous, with intense flavours and a slightly flinty, bone-dry finish.” My notes: A blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon with a pale golden colour and unusual aromatics: nettles, gooseberry and grapefruit - not floral. Lots of tang without being a tooth cleaner and there’s a moderate lusciousness to flavours of equal parts lime, young gooseberry and grapefruit. Semillon adds an extra citrus twist to a otherwise lightly flavoured NZ style Sauvignon Blanc. The long finish is crisp and clean. This shows some youthfulness and should cellar well for several years. Have with telapia, halibut and fries or Thai chicken - a flexible white. 89

WOLF BLASS YELLOW LABEL CHARDONNAY 2007, Australia, 13.5% D, #226860 $14.95 (Tasted May 5, 2009)

A General listing described without a source as “Bright yellow gold; tropical fruit and citrus with toasty, buttery oak aromas; full-bodied with intense flavours; smooth, warm spice and a long finish. Serve with crabs legs, lobster or grilled tuna.” My notes: The 2003 vintage was previously tasted in March 2005 at the same price (hope the recipe has improved since). If it weren’t for the coolness of the liquid this would have nothing to sniff. A light golden with a fairly heavy viscous film, slow legs on the bowl and a first sip of something sweet, almost like fruit. This lasts for a long while fading into a soft melon complete with a slight tang and cloying off-dry edge. A recipe chardonnay perhaps with some crushed grapes along the way. A drink now that could accompany seafood dishes in a pinch. Not for cellaring. 76

LINDEMANS BIN 85 PINOT GRIGIO 2008, Australia, 11.5% D, #668947 $10.85 (Tasted May 8, 2009)

A General listing described as “Pale straw colour; soft, fresh pear fruit aromas; dry, medium bodied, fresh and flavourful, rounded palate, balanced acidity on finish. Serve with shrimp in garlic butter, pasta con alio e olio and light appetizers.” My notes: A Lindemans varietal I haven’t tasted before. The colour is a pale yellow and aromas are nonexistent but nothing foul. The first sip is a diluted grapefruit and the finish remains a diluted grapefruit, tamely acidic and could be called ‘refreshing’. Pair with a delicate perch or pickerel filet lightly lemon’d and grilled. A recipe wine for the drink now market. 79

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, 12.5% XD, #117556 $18.95 (Tasted May 5, 2009)

A Vintages release on May 2, 2009 described by local critic John Szabo as “… Very clean, pungent, fresh and highly fruity, with wonderfully aromatic passion fruit etc. … Gives great Sancerre or NZ a run for the money… 89/100”. My notes: The first from Southbrook I’ve tasted. There’s a touch of orange zest in the nose, mild but there. The colour is a faint gold and the first sip is surprising by the delicate-ness of the fruit. There’s a crisp lemon lime tang and a touch of peach that carry through to the finish but sipping is fairly hollow. The partnership faded when paired with grilled shrimp on yellow curried spinach and basmati rice - would be better with a fish or seafood chowder. A pleasant enough sipper - not for cellaring. Closer to a Sancerre but not ‘great’ (see Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes 2007, France, #542548 $24.95 (Oct 14, 2008) 92) and there‘s no gooseberries to compare with a NZ (see Soljans Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2007, NZ, #091223 $17.95 (Mar 14, 2009) 90). 85

HENRY LAGARDE CHARDONNAY RESERVE 2007, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.9% D, #098087 $17.95 (Tasted May 8, 2009)

A Vintages release on May 2, 2009 described with no apparent source as “… impresses with its fresh tropical fruit flavours and intriguing accents of honey and peach. Terrific with a crab salad or scallops with summer squash.” My notes: A light golden colour with a fairly viscous film and no legs to speak of. The nose is a faint honey, lemon and green apple including a slight tang all flowing through to the first sip. The finish is long with a firm tang and the flavours show more of their grassy side, still bright and refreshing. A reasonable sipper better with a buffet of sausage pieces, chicken wings or shaved meats. Pair with planked salmon, shrimp kebobs or seafood pastas. A drink now. 84

ALKOOMI ‘FRANKLAND RIVER’ CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005, Western Australia, 14.5% XD, #904227 $17.95 (Tasted May 2, 2009)

A Vintages release on May 2, 2009 described by Josh Raynolds as “Ruby-red. Vibrant red- and blackcurrant aromas are complicated by musky tobacco, cedar and underbrush; very cabernet. Bitter cherry and liquorice add firmness to the sweet berry flavours, with dusty tannins contributing grip. The tannins gain strength on the finish but the wine maintains freshness and a sweetly seductive personality. 90/100, July/Aug. 2008.“ My notes: There’s a dull cast to the deep ruby colour and a warm wood fragrance to the ripe black cherry nose. Then a smooth texture, full-bodied, dry and with a charred edge to ripe black fruit that transitions slowly into a long well balanced, chalky dry finish. Have with anything full flavoured and beefy: a stew to bbq’d back ribs - but not too spicy. This should cellar well for a few more years. 90

CASTELLANI POGGIO AL CASONE LA CATTURA 2006, Tuscany, Italy, 12.5% XD, #121194 $19.95 (Tasted May 4, 2009)

A Vintages release on May 2, 2009 described by James Suckling as “Shows freshly sliced plum, with crushed raspberry, almost peach. Full-bodied, with soft, velvety tannins and a long, clean and crisp finish. Hard not to drink now. A fascinating wine. Teroldego and Syrah. 90/100, Sept. 30, 2008.” My notes: I’d call the colour a ‘noble’ ruby, deep with a crimson cast. Has to sit awhile for the nose to develop an earthy void, that is, a lack of fruit, specific or blended but with freshness. The first sip also lacks definition then each follow on sip builds a delicate flavour of blueberry and cherry with a texture that is soft with dry tannins and a mild acid. Its delicate finish presents an uncertainty when suggesting a pairing… perhaps cold or roast turkey, a ham steak or pork tenderloin. This is a subtle old world drink now and, for me, not enough there to maintain an interest. Not cellarable and not a value. 82

DOMAINE DE LA JASSE VIEILLES VIGNES 2000, Pays d'Oc, France, 13.5% XD, #SO39-2636 $18.67 (Retasted May 6, 2009)

My notes: Originally purchased from the Opimian Wine Society in January 2004 this was last tasted in November 2007 and rated 88. The nose is a delicate black currant and a swirl leaves a firm film with lots of long legs against a rich ruby colour. There’s a mix of flavours and textures all making this a mysterious and interesting sipper: mostly black currant with some raspberry mellowed with a slight liquorice and silky smooth. The finish extends these flavours leaving the silk and a soft spice. An excellent sipper and would be great with prime rib, a lamb shank or gourmet burgers. Five years has turned this into a value red and there‘s still depth to improve. 91

BODEGAS FAUSTINO I TINTO GRAN RESERVA 1995, Rioja, Spain, 13.0% D, #976662 $32.95 (Retasted May 7, 2009)

My notes: Last tasted November 08, 2007 with an 89 rating - now in its fourteenth year. Airing for an hour improves the nose and flavour. The nose is lightly aromatic with predominant plums and cherries subdued by an oak edge. The film is thin showing a few fast legs and a colour that matches the nose. The first sip adds some vanilla with the fruit, pleasing fine tannins and subtle acid, is on the light side of medium-bodied and has a long finish, dry and flavourful. Very sippable now and may be on the decline of cellar-ability, more of a drink now. Sip slowly to savour the finesse or pair with crockpot stews, veal or pork. 88

BODEGAS ATECA ATTECA OLD VINES 2006, Calatayud, Spain, 14.5% XD, #103473 $22.95 (Tasted May 12, 2009)

A Vintages release on March 14, 2009 described by Jay Miller (Feb 2008) with a rating of 91/100 as “The 2006 Atteca is 100% Garnacha old-vines ranging from 80-120 years. Dark ruby-colored, it delivers an alluring bouquet of Asian spices, wild black cherry, and blueberry. Layered and sweetly-fruited, the wine is nicely balanced and lengthy. It has enough stuffing to evolve for 1-2 years but can be enjoyed now… ” My notes: The film is firm, slow legs developing with several swirls. The nose is somewhat subdued berries with a tinge of white pepper, no pronounced oak treatment showing, surprising for a Spanish red (imho). Light tannins, a silky texture and medium- to full-bodied set the background for subtle berries. There is a lightness to the finish that complements the fruit and the alcohol level doesn’t intrude. A not-in-your-face sipper and great with prime rib, lamb shank or beef Wellington. Cellar up to three years. 90

VIÑA CALINA ALCANCE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006, Maule Valley, Chile, 14.5% XD, #079533 $19.95 (Tasted May 11, 2009)

A Vintages release on January 10, 2009 described by an unknown source as “… This deeply coloured Cab is packed with aromas of cherry, blackcurrant and ample sweet oak and coffee. The palate is bursting with sweet cassis and red berry preserve flavours leading to a touch of vanilla on the lingering finish.” My notes: This has a deep purple colour and reasonable film leaving long legs and staining on the bowl. A herby aspect to a black currant nose results from a nicely balanced oak and the first sip is smooth with rich black currant flavourings then tannin momentarily grips the palate before mellowing into a long, warm sensation of black fruit preserve. Let breathe an hour before serving - this one has improved opening the previous day. Have with bbq’d ribs, rack of lamb or grilled steaks. A full-bodied, bold sipper now or for cellaring several years. 93

MONTGRAS SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVA 2007, San Abtonio Valley, Chile, 13.5% D, #058362 $11.95 (Tasted May 16, 2009)

A General listing described by an unknown source as “Pale lemon yellow colour with hints of green; intense fresh scents of citrus, gooseberry, and cut grass; light bodied, racy acidity, displaying flavours of lemon zest, grass, and green apple. Great with arugula, beet and goat cheese salad.” My notes: The Mont Gras Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (#619205, $10.85) was rated 90 when tasted in November last year. The Sauvignon Blanc is a clear blond colour with aromas of nettles, slight green gooseberries and kiwi fruit. The film is light giving notice to the crispness and light roundness of the first sip, almost chalky with a dry tang that lasts awhile. Flavours are subtle being mostly delicate citrus and green apple with the gooseberry revealing itself in the finish. Would go well with fresh oysters, prosciutto wrapped asparagus or grilled seafoods. 88

WESTEND ESTATE RICHLAND PINOT GRIGIO 2008, Riverina, Australia, 12.0% D, #092494 $13.95 (Tasted May 18, 2009)

A Vintages release on May 2, 009 described by Huon Hooke, an Australian wine critic (Gourmet Traveller Wine, Dec. 2008/Jan. 2009) as “So much pinot grigio is bland, boring and watery, but this one at least has fragrance and flavour and is well-priced. It has an estery, floral, youthful perfume and is light but fruity in the mouth with no excess of sweetness. Instead, it has appealing softness and some delicacy with a well-balanced finish and a general impression of very good drinkability… “ My notes: A pale blond with possibly a greenish cast. The fragrance has a grassy floral with a crisp citrus edge and the first sip has a soft texture with a combination of grass, green apple and faint melon. A warmth carries into the dry finish as the flavours fade slowly making this an interesting sipper. Serve well chilled as an appetizer with finger foods: crab cakes, shrimp ring, lobster pieces or squid. An OK value as a drink now - I don’t this would cellar longer than a year. 85

MITOLO JESTER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007, McLaren Vale, Australia, 14.5% XD, #043224 $22.95 (Tasted May 19, 2009)

A Vintages release on February 23, 2009 described by Jay Miller, August 2008, and rated 90/100. “The 2007 Jester Cabernet Sauvignon spent 11 months in oak. Purple-coloured, the nose reveals smoke, black currant and cassis. This leads to a medium to full-bodied ripe wine with excellent depth and concentration. Currently the wine is a bit tight but 1-2 years of additional bottle age should round it out nicely. It should be at its peak from 2010 to 2017. The Mitolo wines are made by the talented Ben Glaetzer.” My notes: This has a purple cast to its deep ruby colour and a curious nose of woody blackberry, black currant and spicy pepper. Full-bodied, bold, full of spice overpowering smooth flavours that soon push forward, rich in sweet blackberries, liquorice and currants. The sharpness balances with the compote of flavours and warms the palate for a long while. As a sipper it may not appeal to some. Have with flavourful stews, well seasoned prime rib or rack of lamb. This has the depth for cellaring four years or more - save for at least two. 92

DORNIER MERLOT 2003, Stellenbosch, S.Africa, 14.0% XD, #694224 $18.95 (Retasted May 20, 2009)

My notes: This was last tasted in June 2007 before Ww ratings. I liked it: RP gave it 4 ½ of 5 (RP90-93): my BH wouldn’t drink it. Originally purchased from Vintages release of July 8, 2006, I had found it ’unctious… a bright merlot - a wonderful balance of fresh fruit and barrel fermentation.’ Perhaps the extra years will make a difference? This now has a woody wildberry nose along with a blackberry colour, rich and an opaque, slightly violet ruby. The first sip is sharp and tannic preceding a smooth and full, dark berry flavour. The finish is quite tart and leaves a dry layer of teeth cleaning fruit on the palate. Not for the ’general public’ - more for those willing to try the unusual. This improves as it sits but will always be a bold, tart sipper. Have with pepper steaks, gourmet burgers or well seasoned back ribs. Oh Yes! My BH drank it this time. Cellaring another few years couldn’t hurt. 85
X&Y CHARDONNAY 2006, Margaret River, Australia, 14.0% XD, #048561 $18.80 (Retasted May 21, 2009)
My notes: Released by Vintages on January 5, 2008 and tasted the same month. James Halliday had rated it 90/100 two years earlier. Still a light blond colour with a firm aroma of melon, grass and kiwi. Medium- to full-bodied, a light creaminess sets the background for strong tropical fruit and grass flavours and a long finish is dry and refreshing rather than tart. Still shows some youthfulness but with more honey making this an interesting sipper. Better with hors d’oeuvres or as an appetizer, then follow with a seafood entrée. Sip now or cellar for a few more years. 90

FATTORIA LA LOGGIA TERRA DEI CAVALIERI CHIANTI CLASSICO 1997, Italy, 12.5% XD, #738146* $14.90 (Retasted May 24, 2009)
My notes: Originally purchased on Beppi Crosariol's recommendation in February 2002, cellared and later tasted in 2005, 2006 and 2007 with mediocre findings. The Fattoria La Loggia label is *no longer listed and this is the last bottle in the cellar. A blend of 85% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon showing a deep mahogany colour, aromas woody red cherry and leaving long legs with a swirl of the glass. Air for twenty minutes to avoid a light mustiness. Medium-bodied with flavours of red cherry and rhubarb. There’s a metallic tinge along with some vanilla that comes out in a moderate finish from the fermentation. A light dryness and brightness throughout makes this suitable with spaghetti and meatballs or hamburgers, pepperoni pizzas - easily quaffable and an OK sipper for some - unusual for others - rejected by more. On the down slope now but retaining the original chianti character. 80 

PÉREZ CRUZ RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007, Maipo Valley, Chile, 14.5% XD, #694208 $14.95 (Tasted May 25, 2009)
A Vintages release on May 23, 2009 and described anonymously and without change from preceding vintages as “… Rich and ripe, it features complex aromas and flavours of cherry, pomegranate, toasty oak, chocolate, herbs and spices. It's smooth and well-balanced, with a medium-long finish. Savour it with gourmet sausages or roast pork.” My notes: The 2006 and 2004 vintages were tasted in November 2008 and November 2005 resp. with good results. Cellaring had improved the 2006 considerably as a recent bottle showed nice velvet tones with deep layers of rich fruit - from 88 to 94 in a year. The 2007 has a similar deep ruby violet colour but a lighter nose of brambly red currants. The first sip is smooth leaving a dry tannin, some initial spicy red currant quickly changing to seedy pomegranate, drying and with a sweet edge. A new label for a somewhat hollow cabernet sauvignon - not likely to cellar well. Have with steaks, ribs or beefy soups. I'll skip this vintage. 80

VILLA MARIA PRIVATE BIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2008, Marlborough, NZ, 13.0% D, #426601 $15.95 (Tasted May 27, 2009)
A General listing described anonymously as “Pale straw colour; intense aromas of gooseberry, lime, grass and asparagus; dry, medium bodied, crisp acidity, and flavours of bell pepper, gooseberry citrus; clean, crisp finish. Serve with goat cheese dishes, fish, vegetarian fare or herb roasted poultry.” My notes: The Villa Maria SBs have rated above par consistently (2007 and 2004 previously tasted). Their 2008 is a tad fuller than the Southbrook and MontGras above and has a more pronounced herbaceous gooseberry nose, delicate and clean. The colour is a delicately tinged blond, not building any anticipation of the first nippy sip. Pleasantly rounded, lining the mouth with crisp ripe gooseberry flavours, this is a super sipper for a social crowd. The finish is straight forward, fruity, dry and long. Have with crab cakes, mushroom caps, shrimp ring or vegetable plate. Went well with grilled black cod filets with roast potatoes, asparagus and snap peas. 90

May 2009 Niagara Trip: 5 Tasted of 5

Off we go. By happenstance - actually at the end of April before the trees were in bloom - we had to drop off a relative at her home in Niagara Falls. What better way to split up the return trip than a stopover at Cave Spring Cellars. The many shops of Jordan Village allow my travelling companions to saunter while I spend time in the Wine Shop’s tasting room.

I was interested in the Estate Bottled wines of the dozen reds, whites, dry and dessert wines available for tasting. Several years ago the winery moved from their site in Beamsville to their current building formerly a fruit warehouse and ideally suited to Cave Spring’s need for significant cellar space. Jordan Village is located on Twenty Mile Bench however the winery’s vineyards remain closer to Hamilton on the Beamsville Bench, the location of the original farm and the Cave Spring for which it was named. An informative video can be viewed at 5minLife Videopedia and a history of the winery is detailed on the Cave Spring Cellars website. A Cave Spring Cellars video was also included in the September blog of LCBO's goLOCAL Promo.

To cap off my tasting I rejoined my wife and her sister at the Inn on the Twenty restaurant. A tad expensive but always unique and worth every penny. A great view and great service too!

Afterward, heading north on Jordan Road to the QEW, we just had to visit the Jordan Station Gourmet Cheese Store to stock up on Niagara Gold, specialty breads and condiments.

Listed below are the five wines brought back for more leisurely tasting. Winery prices include the recycling deposit and an LCBO SKU is shown where available. When a wine has been tasted it will appear in bold and resequenced by rating. Cheers, Ww

  • Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chenin Blanc 2007 VQA Beamsville Bench, 91-2  -- Jordan, Canada, #Winery $18.15
  • Cave Spring Gamay 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 90-2  -- G, Jordan, Canada, #228569 $12.41
  • Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musqué 2007 VQA Beamsville Bench, 89-2  -- V, Jordan, Canada, #246579 $15.28
  • Cave Spring Estate Bottled Riesling 2007 VQA Beamsville Bench, 88-1  -- V, Jordan, Canada, #286377 $17.19
  • Cave Spring CSV Chardonnay 2006 VQA Beamsville Bench, 84 -- Jordan, Canada, #Winery $28.68
(G - General listing, V – Vintages, O - Other, r-v - Rating-Value)


CAVE SPRING CSV CHARDONNAY 2006 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Canada, 13.5% D, #Winery $28.68 (Tasted May 12, 2009)

Notes from the winery are “Barrel fermented in French oak, 60% of which was new, followed by 10 months of barrel ageing sur lie. The nose is quite nutty with notes of butterscotch, fresh cream and vanilla; the palate is dry and hefty, with fresh apple and cedar up front and a very crisp, tense middle with a distinctly stony austerity that firmly underpins rich crème brûlée flavours; the finish lavishes with barrel complexity, including notes of vanilla, butterscotch and toast; all in all, delicate yet demanding wine with finely interwoven flavours and an arresting clarity of fruit (11/08) Best approached starting in 2010, this vintage possesses the structure and weight to cellar until at least 2016. .. ” My notes: In appearance and nose this is the quintessential chard… a pale golden colour with spicy, buttery aromas. Not as creamy as some but providing a good mouthfeel nevertheless, not too viscous and a nice tang level. I would be curious to try the 2007 vintage to see if it has more fruit, this leaving a taste of unsweetened pineapple and herbal tea uncharacteristic of the nose and not for everyone. I did not get the 'vanilla, butterscotch and toast'. Not a sipper - have with chicken pasta, a bouillabaisse, grilled garlic shrimp or white fishes. Perhaps waiting ‘til 2010 is the right step? 84

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2007 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Canada, 13.0% MD, #246579 $15.28 (Tasted May 12, 2009)

Notes from the winery are “Cool fermentation in stainless steel, with malolactic fermentation inhibited, to preserve this clone’s aromatics and acidity… Dominated on the nose by the clone’s muscat-tinged orange-blossom aromas plus a cocktail of tangerine, melon and pear; the palate is very full and oily, yet precise and refreshing; the attack is crisp, spicy and lychee-like, while the mid-palate softens and becomes very viscous; the warmth of the wine’s considerable body carries intense spice and orange marmalade flavours very long on the finish (10/08). Our richest, most aromatic Musqué in over a decade, this vintage is best appreciated in the first 3 years…” My notes: A pale golden colour and aromas of orange and peach fill the bowl making this an inviting sipper. The firm nip and flavours of green melon and spice refreshes the palate going well with seafood dishes, cold and sliced chicken breast or Asian fare. I’d say it’s leaning toward being full-bodied with a noticeable touch of sweetness, a viscous mouthfeel and lasting melon grassiness to the long finish. Save for a mixed social including ABC imbibers. Showing some youthfulness now and should keep up to two years. 89

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHENIN BLANC 2007 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Canada, 12.0% D, #Winery $18.15 (Tasted May 3, 2009)

Notes from the winery are “Cool fermentation in stainless steel, arrested by sudden chilling, leaving a natural residual sweetness. A nose of ripe blueberry, Golden Delicious apple, white peach and papaya, with flinty complexity; the palate starts off with a kiss of sweetness and a supple feel, but is quickly restrained by dry, chalky textures and skate-blade acidity in the middle. Notes of apple and grapefruit rind punctuate what is a long, filigreed finish (7/08)… high levels of extract and near perfect ripeness promise continued development until at least 2012... “ My notes: There’s a bit of grapefruit in the nose along with the aroma of young peach. A light blond colour and a thin film showing a few fast tears. Then the first sip gives a firm lemon lime tang and slight green apple flavour covering any hint of sweeetness, quite a refresher for a summer stint on the patio. Have with fresh oysters, cheesy finger foods, bbq’d shrimp, proscuitto wrapped asparagus, the usual grilled seafood or cold chicken slices. Drinking young now this should cellar well for a few years. 91

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2007 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Canada, 11.0% MD, #286377 $17.19 (Tasted May 8, 2009)

Notes from the winery are “Cool fermentation in stainless steel over a 3 week period using selected yeast strains; left on the lees for 2 months. Explosive aromas of ripe yellow grapefruit, rhubarb, white peach and Anjou pear with notes of white flower (Fresia) and wet stone in behind; the palate is full, slightly off dry and a touch oily, with lime and grapefruit zest on the attack, stony/chalky textures in the middle and a finish of candied orange essence and ginger spice (6/08). While very ripe in character, this vintage retains enough acidity and overall structure to cellar until at least 2015... ” My notes: A pale golden and delicate (almost none) fragrance of field flowers once it’s off chill. A swirl leaves a light film and fast legs on the bowl and the first sip shows some sweetness but nicely balanced with a lime tartness - comes across as D for dry. Grapefruit and lime builds on the tongue and through a moderately dry finish making this a pleasant aperitif - it’s unfortunate that it lacks a nose. This should pair well with fresh oysters or with freshwater fish, grilled with greens. A drink now but could cellar up to two years. 88

CAVE SPRING GAMAY 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Jordan, Canada, 12.5% D, #228569 $12.41 (Tasted May 1, 2009)

Notes (2006 vintage) from the winery are “Two thirds of the cuvée was barrel aged for 7 months in 75% older, and 25% new French and Hungarian oak barrels. A lighter red evoking the vivacious berry/pepper character of gamay alongside earthy complexity, light tannins and a hint of oak. Best enjoyed for its forward fruit character in the first 3 years, but should hold until 2011... “ and Beppi Crosariol said “In a blind tasting, I'd bet some experts would confuse it with good pinot noir.” My notes: A mid ruby with a dull cast and light film sending fast tears down the glass. This has an aroma that needs time to develop in the bowl, a combination of earth, a ripe berry blend and white pepper. Then a delicate first sip that builds on the roof with warmth and spicy berries and leaving a velvet fuzz on the tongue. On the thin side of medium-bodied, with well developed flavours but not overpowered by fruit, ie. well balanced. Have as a companion to prime rib roast or a grilled rib eye. This should cellar well adding satin and a deeper complexity to make this an excellent value. 90