Friday, September 02, 2011

September 2011 Whites+: 15 Tasted of 15

Craggy Range - the mountains
I've split the September wines into Reds and Whites+ to facilitate editing - and hopefully it'll help find wines more easily. Some of the text has been repeated as it applies to Whites+. 

the Winery, April 2003
[Much has been said lately about biodynamic and other viticulture practices that break away from conventional methods. Over the next few months I’ll be looking for examples of ‘biodynamic’ wines and those claiming to be ’organic’, ’natural’ or at least using ‘sustainable practices’. A first search found 7 biodynamic (3 under $20) listed on the LCBO website and 101 organics.

Another category recently referred to in a tweet is called 'vegan' wines i.e. those which have had no animal by-product used during their production. No 'vegan' wines were found with an LCBO search.]

...and to support the GOLocal initiative I've added three Ontario VQA whites from a winery, Château des Charmes,  I haven't tried in a long while. 

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP - grouped by whites, rosés, sparkles and other:
  • William Fèvre Chile Gran Cuvée Chardonnay 2009, 91-2 -- V, Santiago, Chile, #045146 $16.95
  • Craggy Range ‘Te Muna Road Single Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc 2009, 90-1 -- V, Martinborough, NZ, #225706 $24.95
  • Skuttlebutt Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2008, 89-2 -- G, Margaret River, Australia, #157867 $14.95
  • Heimberger les Origines Vieilles Vignes Gewurztraminer 2009, 89-1 -- V, Beblenheim, Alsace, #223933 $17.95
  • Bonterra Chardonnay 2009, 88-1 -- V, Mendocino County, USA, #342436 $18.95
  • Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2009, 88-1 -- V, Mendocino, California, #046334 $19.95
  • Château des Charmes Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2008 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, 87-1  --  G, NOTL, Ontario, #081653  $13.95
  • Gold Ring Chardonnay 2009, 83*see note -- V, Mendocino County, California, #239442 $16.95
  • Château des Charmes Sur Lie Chardonnay 2007 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, 82  --  G, NOTL, Ontario,  #056754 $10.95 
  • Yalumba 'Y Series' Riesling 2009, 82 -- G, Eden Valley, Australia, #212753 $14.95
  • Napa Ridge Chardonnay 2009, 82  --  V,  Napa, California, #213678 $18.95
  • Château des Charmes Aligote 2009 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, 81  --  G,  NOTL, Ontario, #284950 $13.55 
  • Blu Giovello Pinot Grigio 2010,  79  --  G, Venezie, Italy, #580183 $12.95   

  • Delas Frères Saint Esprit Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2010, 90-2 -- V, Tournon-sur-Rhône, France, #224964 $12.95
  • Yalumba 'Y Series' Sangiovese Rosé 2010, 88-1 -- G, Eden Valley, South Australia,  #234419 $14.95 

(G - General Listing, V - Vintages, r-v - Rating-Value)


HEIMBERGER  LES ORIGINES VIEILLES VIGNES GEWURZTRAMINER 2009, Beblenheim, Alsace, 13.0% MD, #223933 $17.95 (Tasted September 2, 2011) CS
A Vintages release on May 28, 2011. My notes: First a new gold colour with a faint aroma of mild honey and field hay. Then a film that slowly separates into islands and shows a few slow tears. The first sip is full in the mouth, viscous, with a mild honey and grassy tartness before the swallow slides pleasingly leaving a sweet lining and ending dry and spicy. Less floral and a more pronounced spice throughout than expected. We’ll see how it pairs with Metro’s sushi: shrimp, salmon and sticky rice - not quite the sushi match but OK. Cellaring for several years could integrate the honey with the spice and grass. Keep chilled.  89
DELAS  ‘SAINT ESPRIT’ CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ 2010, Tournon-sur-Rhône, France , 14.0% XD, #224964 $12.95 (Tasted September 12, 2011) CS

A Vintages release on June 11, 2011.  This rosé is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Cinsault. It is made using the superior saignée method (bleeding off free-run juice after a short maceration on the skins - 18 hours in this case).  My notes: There’s a peach blush for visual appeal and a scent of rose tainted peach adding sniff appeal. The first sip has a pleasing fullness, a nice nip and dryness to refresh the palate. The flavour combines watermelon with cantaloupe without any underlying sweetness - as advertised, XD. Serve chilled watching for change as the glass warms. The glass bowl is covered with fragmenting lace from slow tears. Perfect for a summer afternoon - party sausage or bacon wrapped goodies would add to the experience. Was excellent with Pad Thai noodles, bean sprouts and Coconut Shrimp .  Should be able to cellar for a few years - go yearly.  90

CRAGGY RANGE ‘TE MUNA ROAD SINGLE VINEYARD’ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009, Martinborough, NZ, 13.5% XD, #225706 $24.95 (Tasted September 23, 2011) CS

Released by Vintages on May 14, 2011. My notes: A light blond with a green tint and subtle aromas of green gooseberries, not much when chilled, slightly more when off chill. Served chilled the fruit lays nicely on the taste buds while a delightful combination of dry viscosity and lime tang gives character to an interesting first sip. The finish remains true until fruit fades leaving a light oil on lips. Larger sips reveal an interesting fullness. Have with grilled scallops or bearded mussels in a curried broth and crusty breads. Cellaring for a few years should integrate fruit increasing the roundness that’s at first tasting. Very clean - a Martinborough not a Marlbourough and overall halfway to Europe.  90

WILLIAM FÈVRE CHILE GRAN CUVÉE CHARDONNAY 2009, Santiago (Pirque), Chile, 13.9% XD, #045146 $16.95 (Tasted September 12, 2011) CS

Released by Vintages on August 6, 2011 and rated 88 by Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar (May/June 2011). My notes: This has a curious nose of lime zest, Bosc pear and spice that anticipates a pronounced tang. The film recedes from an unbroken rim until islands of lace and tears remain. The colour is mid golden and the first sip has a sustained tanginess with flavours of lime, soft butter and a crushed spice. A persistent finishes finally ends, except for the subtle butter and spice, warm & dry. Interesting as a sipper altho may not suit anyone looking for conventional fruit, this went nicely with scallops, grilled with parmesan cheese, and whole wheat noodles. Cellaring for many years is likely. 91

GOLD RING CHARDONNAY 2009, Mendocino County, California, 15.5% XD, #239442 $16.95 (Tasted September 8, 2011) CS

Released by Vintages on August 20, 2011 and a product of the Rutherford Wine Company from grapes organically grown along the Russian River.  My notes: A soft golden blond with a light citrus and lemongrass nose. The film firmly attaches until clusters of slow tears clear a path for lacy islands. The first sip is astringent through to the throat, full in the mouth with buttery texture and burnt caramel. Interesting for its strength and smoothness but with a rawness not appealing to  all tastes. Have with tuna- or swordfish steak, grilled salmon, lake trout or mussels curried or in a tomato sauce. Cellaring for several years may soften acids but not the alcohol. *Much better the next day! +3  83

YALUMBA 'Y SERIES' SANGIOVESE ROSÉ 2010, Eden Valley, South Australia, 12.5% D, #234419 $14.95 (Tasted September 5, 2011) CS

A General listing and judged the best rosé of the Perth Royal Wine Show 2010. My notes:  Common in Tuscan wines Sangiovese has its origin in ancient times as inferred by its root name, ’Blood of Jove’.  This blend of grapes from two separate regions, Barossa and Wrattonbully, shows a  deep rosy peach colour with a pronounced aromatic nose partly floral and partly stone fruit. The film runs slow tears leaving the rim lacy until breaking into islands linked by globules. Bright on the palate with a touch of sweet watermelon and cherry flavours match the acid nicely then ends dry to the tongue. An interesting sipper as well as a match for most seafoods, crustaceans and small denizens of the sea prepared with flavourful sauces. Cellaring for several years could lead to a pleasing outcome.  88 

YALUMBA 'Y SERIES' RIESLING 2009, Eden Valley, Australia, 11.0% D, #212753 $14.95 (Tasted September 14, 2011) CS

A General listing. My notes:A pale gold in the glass with a subtle scent of oleander given time to develop - not much to sniff tho‘. A thin film recedes slowly from a lacy rim and the first sip confirms a light-bodied, dry wisp of citrus that spreads to the back of the throat then finishes dry with a mineral note, not pronounced.  As a sipper, shallow textured but with an interesting citrus roundness - did not contribute much to a grilled salmon filet with green beans and stir-fried bean sprouts. A lighter entrée of seared scallops or shrimp with brown rice would likely have been more appropriate. Serve as a before dinner sipper or a party quencher. A drink now.  82

SKUTTLEBUTT SAUVIGNON BLANC-SEMILLON 2008, Margaret River, Australia, 13.0% D, #157867 $14.95 (Tasted September 25, 2011) CS

My notes: Previously tasted in November 2009 as Skuttlebutt Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008, #047621 @ $15.95 and rated 88. Perhaps a rebottling by Stella Bella Wines, dormant inventory or ?  The colour of clear light lime juice in the glass and aromas of green gooseberries with some pond allure, tangy to the nose. The film is firm on the glass and sheds long slow legs from a solid rim. The first sip has a roundness to complement fresh gooseberry flavours - scrumptious to the palate having a long finish ending with enough tang to remain interesting.  I don’t think this should be cellared - the freshness could give  a seafood entrée that something special. Have with a.) scallops b.) bearded mussels c.) whole trout stuffed with crab meat.  89 

PAUL DOLAN VINEYARDS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009, Mendocino, California, 13.5% XD, #046334 $19.95 (Tasted September 7, 2011) CS
Released by Vintages on April 30, 2011. My notes: Paul Dolan noticed the difference in his vines when he discontinued use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This sauvignon blanc is an example of his present day organic viticulture.  There are tiny bubbles, very few, sticking to the glass on pouring and a film that recedes quickly from a lacy rim. A clean nose without appreciable scent - perhaps there’s more as it warms? - waited and not much change - perhaps a lemon zest.  Nice depth and balance of citrus fruit, acid with a softness and slight roundness makes this an appealing white  - serve with a buffet spread. The finish carries tasty elements ending eventually tart and a touch of chalk. A thirst quencher to go with bacon wrapped mushrooms or creamy potato & leek soup.  88

BONTERRA CHARDONNAY 2009, Mendocino County, USA, 13.5% D, #342436 $18.95 (Tasted September 5, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release with an unknown date. My notes: By Fetzer Vineyards and is certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers. A blend of  96% Chardonnay, 3% Muscat, 1% Rousanne and 1% Viognier.  A mid gold colour nicely clear, an almost perceptible aroma of honeyed coated grapefruit and an even film that breaks into lacy islands. If you prefer medium-bodied, bright and full of grassy grapefruit this is a pleasant sipper. The acidity and fullness went nicely with crab (I used lobster) burgers with red pepper dressing on a bed of romaine lettuce hearts especially refreshing at the meal end. As well, pair with mussels or other crustaceans. A drink now.  88

BLU GIOVELLO PINOT GRIGIO 2010, Venezie, Italy, 11.5% D, #580183 $12.95  (Tasted September 13, 2011)  CS
A General listing.  My notes: One of seven wines for this international label, and entry level, produced by Piera Martellozzo. The website claims “all my wines are produced to the logic of sustainability’, from the traditional range to the specific ‘ORGANIC’ selection.” I prefer statements, on the label, of certification by an independent body.  The nose is a faint citrus and the colour is a faint blond. The film recedes quickly following a lacy rim. The first sip no longer has the fruit of the 2007 vintage (March 2009) but a tinge of lemon balanced by a tart, light-bodied presence in the mouth. The finish continues with warmth and a brightness that gradually fades to a dry lemon zest. There was insufficient body, flavour and acid to contribute to an entrée of sweet curried chicken pieces over basmati rice. By itself an adequate social sipper but without depth of the varietal and lacking much interest.   A drink now.  79 

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ALIGOTÉ 2009 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, NOTL, Ontario, 13.0% D, #284950  $13.55 (Tasted September 21, 2011)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  A light citrus colour with negligible scent and a film that lies lightly on the bowl shedding tiny tears from a fragmented rim.  The first sip has a smooth balance of acid and white grapefruit leading to a moderate finish retaining tangy and dry  elements of both. An economical sipper for a social gathering, by itself or with a buffet of bacon wrapped asparagus, a cheese assortment or tri cornered sandwiches. Not a conversation starter. Pair with a salad of greens or grilled chicken breast. A drink now.  81

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES CHARDONNAY BARREL FERMENTED 2008 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, NOTL, Ontario, 13.0% D, #081653   $13.95  (Tasted September 16, 2011)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: This chardonnay has a polished crystal mid gold with a possible green tint on pouring. A swirl leaves a lacy rim to recede slowly and a lemon zest scent to accumulate in the bowl. A silk touch with a refreshingly tart citrus burst pleasantly surprises the palate cresting a short time then ending with a firm grassy tang. Chilled it’s a fresh sipper to please most of a buffet crowd and likely could companion a Swiss Chalet chicken dinner or other fowl or fish entrée. Has nice fruit and some depth with a price point to encourage trying a year or two in the cellar.  87
CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES SUR LIE CHARDONNAY 2007 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, NOTL, Ontario,  NOTL, Ontario, 13.0% D, #056754  $10.95  (Tasted September 16, 2011)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: A mid gold colour with negligible scent. A thin film leaves lacy layers as it recedes in the bowl. The first sip has a pleasing combination of tart and light citrus leaving the palate fairly dry without appealing remnants - did not get 'sur lie' cream. A conservative sipper that could possibly entice ABC advocates. A no-show when paired with tomato slices on multigrain breads pan-warmed with shredded parmesan cheese - difficult to pair. Treat as a buffet sipper with cheese options, party sausage  or hummus dips with dry crackers. A reasonable quaffer.  82

NAPA RIDGE CHARDONNAY 2009, Napa, California, 12.5% XD, #213678   $18.95  (Tasted September 18, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages on September 3, 2011 and an Antares Wine Company label a  Bronco Wine Company affiliate.  My notes:  Two interesting manuals (Manual 1Manual 2 ) can be found on the Bronco Wine Company website. Unfortunately they have been  formatted so that a fee is required to convert them to printable form. This chardonnay has a new gold with a tint of green and showing a film that fragments into islands then shrinking globules. Scarcely a sniff and a first sip that has a nice softness, off chill, slight grassy tang and a growing savoury and honey nectar flavours. Lasting a short while, the finish ends soft with a edge of yeast. A sipper for a social setting with a variety of snacks to mix-match to guests’  tastes. Should be okay with seafood entrées or aged cheddar pieces on toasts. A drink now.  82


Wine Spectator & Domaine Cazes on Large-Scale Biodynamics

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