Friday, July 22, 2011

A Blind Tasting, July 2011: 4 Tasted of 4

The Start
The Finish
An excuse to stay in an air conditioned suite rather than venturing into 40oC plus humidity is an impromptu wine tasting. Four Sauvignon Blancs expected to be light, fruity, dry with enough depth, texture and finish to quench our thirsts. The remainder of J-T’s Entourage (#234161) from yesterday was on hand for backup.

Two of the wines came from a recent excursion in Niagara Peninsula, one is from a six-pack offered by Tawse Estate and one is from the LCBO not as a benchmark nor ringer but as a style possibly differing from Niagara’s. How do these match tastes that have become accustomed to New Zealand or the Loire Sauvignon Blancs? 

Conclusion: Other countries have set our standard for Sauvignon Blanc that biases my preferences and likely shows in the results below. I do prefer the dry tanginess, the terroir and depth of a Sancerre as well as the in-your-face true fruitiness of a Marlborough. Whether Ontario has the climate or terroir to offer equivalents is uncertain nor is it obligatory to mimic the styles. But a grape is a grape and its wine should show distinct typicity with no ambiguity.

My opinion, Ww
btw my BH and I agreed on the top and bottom.


  • Legends Estate Reserve ‘Lizak Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 91-2  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #Winery  $19.15
  • the Foreign Affair Sauvignon Blanc 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 80  --  O, Vineland, Ontario, #Winery  $25.15
  • Tawse Sauvignon Blanc 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 80  --  O, Vineland, Ontario, #Winery  $24.94
  • McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010, 79  --  V, Adelaide Hills, Australia, #225441  $19.95
(V - Vintages, O - Other, r-v - Rating-Value)


TAWSE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Vineland, Ontario, 10.3% D, #Winery  $24.95  (Tasted July 21, 2011)

1,000 bottles produced:  My notes: A scant floral aroma - not enough to identify - from a light blond colour. The film is firm on the glass producing a ring of slow tears from a fragmenting rim. The first sip pushes a sharpness in front of slight flavours of straw and melon - a touch of sweet, light to medium-bodied and more prominent offchill. The finish has a hint of dry chalk and gooseberry. Pair with light seafood, a buffet table of appetizers: shrimp ring - no sauce, 3-corner sandwiches and fried squid or scampi. A drink now.  80 

LEGENDS ESTATE ‘LIZAK VINEYARDS’ RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5% D,  #Winery  $19.15  (Tasted July 21, 2011)

Owned and operated by the Lizak family. The back label says:  ‘… dominated by tropical notes of melon, pineapple, lime and a hint of passion fruit.’  My notes: A blond with a possible greenish tint, a delicate colour. A firm film crystallizing at the rim then forming slow tears and lacy islands, medium-bodied. The nose develops nicely over a short minute filling the bowl with nettles and soft gooseberries, making sipping more attractive. The burst of acid on the first sip refreshes and leaves a flavour of freshly pressed, almost ripe gooseberries lingering on the palate. Eyes closed this could easily be a New Zealand SB although there’s a touch of rose in the scent. Have with whitefish filets or shellfish - a lightly curried bowl of bearded mussels. Cellaring for a few years should do well.  91

THE FOREIGN AFFAIR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland, Ontario, 13.1% D,  #Winery  $25.15  (Tasted July 21, 2011)

Partial grape drying (appassimento) is used for concentrated flavours and fuller body. A Tasting Note from the winery has "the drying process has concentrated the varietal character.... wonderful lemon, lime and herbs on the nose.... etc."  My notes: A mid new gold colour, crisp and clean, with some visual interest. The nose is on the ripe side of delicate gooseberry and dissipates quickly. The film is firm delaying the start of tears which slowly accumulate sufficiently to drain the rim leaving small globules. The first sip fills the mouth with a dry mineral, a moderate tang and a soft blandness - the finish starts and ends consistent with the first sip. Overall this is medium-bodied with moderate acid, scarce on fruit. 80

MCWILLIAM'S MOUNT PLEASANT ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010, Adelaide Hills, Australia, 13.0% D, #225441  $19.95  (Tasted July 21, 2011)  CS

A Vintages wine with an unknown Release date. The label says ‘…generous passion fruit and lime flavours… a touch of mineral complexity.’  My notes:  ‘A blond with a possible greenish tint, a delicate colour’ as above. The nose has a blandness that is difficult to ignore - as the chill subsides there is some gooseberry creeping through. The film laces at the top and quickly runs slow tears and fragmented islands, medium-bodied. Off-fruit flavours of the first sip and pithy ending leaves a negative impression as a sipper, however, there is a tangy dryness at the start that provides interest.  Pairing with steamed cod or grilled tilapia OK could provide a moderate freshness with a meal.  79

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