Tuesday, November 01, 2011

November 2011 Whites+: 16 Tasted of 16

Montreal Olympic Place, '78
This month I've separated Reds from the rest, Whites+. Hopefully this simplifies finding a specific wine and for editing. The Intro is repeated in both.

Several factors instigated my collection of wines for November:
  • My BH had a beautiful Pinot Noir from Oregon when dining with friends. This led to the Chelalem Pinot as well as the Chelalem Pinot Gris purchased for my natal day... and I've added a few more to compare.
  • Never having used Vintages OnLine service I reviewed the wines they had available. Unsurprisingly most of the offerings were in a much higher price bracket than my budget… one exception was the Sarah Powell Pinot Noir reduced by $10 to $29. Worth a try? I’ll see.
  • Beppi Crosariol in his article of October 20th gave high 80’s for a few economical wines thus the French Malbec, the BC Cab Merlot and Chilean Syrah were added. This list was expanded to include three Mission Hill’s, four Cono Sur’s and three Argentine’s from the General shelves. I’ve been neglecting the Generals lately due to a focus on Niagara wines. 
  • Three French bubblies, one from Alsace near the border with Germany, one from the west of mid centre, one from the south near the Mediterranean and, while we`re there, a couple of Provence XD rosés, my favourites.
...and thanks for the suggestions in Tweets received.  Salut, Ww

THE LINEUP - grouped by whites, rosés, sparkles and other:

  • Emiliana Natura Un-oaked Chardonnay 2011, 90-2 --  V, Casablanca Valley, Chile,  #061895  $15.95
  • Carmen Reserva Chardonnay 2010, 89-2 --  G, Casablanca Valley, Chile, #235663 $10.95 
  • Cono Sur Viognier 2010,  84  --  G, Colchagua Valley, Chile,  #064287  $10.00
  • Mission Hill ‘Five Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc 2009 VQA Okanagan Valley,  84  --  G, BC, Canada,  #145094  $14.95
  • Chehalem Reserve Pinot Gris 2007,  82  --  V,  Willamette Valley, Oregon, #180372 $22.95
  • Hahn Estates Chardonnay Monterey 2008, 81 --  G, Soledad, California, #234393 $16.95  
  • Cono Sur Riesling 2011,  80  --  G, Central Valley, Chile,  #156653  $9.95  
  • Cono Sur Chardonnay Organic 2011, 80  --  G, San Antonio Valley, Chile, #230565  $11.95
  • Mission Hill ‘Five Vineyards’ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 VQA Okanagan Valley,  80  --  G, BC, Canada, #145086  $14.95    

  • Château de Trinquevedel Tavel Rosé 2010, 89-1  --  V,  Tavel, France, #729947 $17.95
  • The Wolftrap Rosé 2010,  88-1  --  V, Franschoek, South Africa, #169409  $12.95
  • Domaine Houchart Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010,  88-1  --  V,  Aix-en-Provence, France, #118653 $13.95
  • Finca Flichman 'Misterio' Rosé Malbec-Shiraz 2010, 85 --  G, Mendoza, Argentina,  #170126 $8.20 

  • Brisebarre Brut Vouvray NV,  89-1 --  V,  Loire, France, #226241  $18.95
  • Mausberg Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant d’Alsace NV,  88-1 --  V,  Beblenheim, France,  #171785 $17.95
  • Antech ‘Expression’ Brut Crémant de Limoux 2008,  88-1 --  V, Limoux, France, #068239  $17.95
(G - General Listing, V - Vintages,  r-v - Rating-Value)

CHEHALEM RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2007, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 13.5% D, #180372  $22.95  (Tasted November 21, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages on November 13, 2010.  This has an old rating of 92 (February 1, 2009) by Paul Gregutt (Wine Enthusiast).   My notes:The film is thin showing a lacy rim immediately that recedes slowly without tears.  A faint nose not discernibly aromatic and a first sip that is nippy and lacking distinguishable flavours, a tame grapefruit perhaps. Light-bodied, a short finish leaving the palate dry and grassy. Was OK with Cuban cod with tomatoes with a broccoli side but not contributing much as a partner. Could be past peak if a 92 two years ago.  A drink now. 82

CONO SUR RIESLING 2011, Central Valley, Chile, 13.0% D, #156653  $9.95  (Tasted November 17, 2011)  CS
A General listing. My notes: A pale yellow with a subtle scent of grapefruit. A swirl leaves a lacy rim that recedes slowly until nothing. The first sip has flavours of lemon-lime with a balanced acid, tangy not sharp and declines slowly, evenly until a dryness takes over. Refreshing as an aperitif or midday sipper and should go well with grilled seafood and asparagus - not likely roast chicken nor pork. A reasonable impression of a riesling and for the price should appeal to patrons at a stand-up bar.  80
CONO SUR VIOGNIER 2010, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 14.0% D, #064287  $10.00  (Tasted November 6, 2011)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  There’s a greenish tint to the clear new gold colour. The film sticks to the glass, runs slow tears then breaks into fragmented islands. Hardly a scent in the nose, perhaps a lemon/melon combination and the first sip is smooth, tangy, full-bodied and has a tropical citrus flavour. The finish has a lemongrass aftertaste riding on the silky texture. Pair with any seafood or grilled white fowl entrée. Not a floral or delicate Viognier although has some interesting qualities in its fullness. If you are looking for Viognier there’s other choices. If you’re looking for a rounded, smooth textured meal white this is an economical choice. A drink now and preferred to the Cono Sur Chardonnay Organic. 84

CONO SUR CHARDONNAY ORGANIC 2011, San Antonio Valley, Chile, 13.5% D, #230565  $11.95  (Tasted November 2, 2011)  CS
A General listing. My notes:  A just perceptible aroma of honey and grapefruit when chilled becoming more prominent gaining a perfumed scent as the wine warms. The colour is a shiny light lemon and leaves a light film with a solid rim shedding a few slow tears. A touch of silk with a sweet-edged lemon flavour followed by an intense tang then finishing tart and grassy. A refreshing sipper for a hot day or a straightforward complement with diner meals - went nicely with Longo’s grilled salmon burgers and sweet potato fries. A commercial beverage to appeal to an on-the-go urban consumer.  80
MISSION HILL  'FIVE VINEYARDS' PINOT BLANC 2009 VQA Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada, 13.5% D, #145094    $14.95  (Tasted November 10, 2011)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  A light golden in the glass with the subtle sweet scent of mown hay. The film sticks then slowly fragments evenly down the glass. Nicely tart with some roundness and a slight flavour of light honey barely sweet or balanced with the tart of white grapefruit. Finishes with a light crushed seed dryness. Clean and crisp on the palate and has an interesting but not outstanding character, as a sipper better offchill slightly - pair with a seafood entrée or a green salad. Not for cellaring - a drink now.  84
MISSION HILL 'FIVE VINEYARDS' SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009 VQA Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada, 13.5% D, #145086   $14.95  (Tasted November 17, 2011)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  Chill well, below 12oC, before serving to retain meagre aroma and fruit otherwise expect a flat profile. A bland blond colour with a nose that’s just discernible as soft melon. The first sip has a lemon and melon aspect with a light tang.  Finishes with soft fruit and modest acid leaving a slight flavour blend and dry.  I found it difficult to pair - try with a buffet of finger foods, party shrimp or hummus and dry crackers. Has an interesting depth when quaffed and character builds with each sip. Not for cellaring and disappointing compared with a varietal driven SB - Bordeaux or New Zealand. 80

EMILIANA NATURA UN-OAKED CHARDONNAY 2011, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 14.0% XD, #061895   $15.95  (Tasted November 13, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages on October 29, 2011. My notes: A new gold with a green tint and an aroma of green grapefruit, a hint of pear and a touch of vanilla for a nose. A lacy rim forms immediately and slides quickly down the glass. The first taste has a full nip front to back side to side with a silkiness adding interest to lightly rounded flavours of honeydew melon and pear. The taste continues through a long warm finish ending with only a suspicion of fruity sweetness - quite delicious. Cellaring for several years could hold a surprise - perhaps four years tops.  An honest expression of a terroir biased chard.  90

CARMEN RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2010, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 13.5% D, #235663  $10.95  (Tasted November 21, 2011)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  A Reserva for $11 - I must not understand how the term applies but who pays attention to labels at this price point? The colour is a light gold, crystal clean. The nose needs time to establish a presence then a delicate melon with a tinge of spicy floral. A swirl leaves long legs from a lacy rim slow to recede breaking into columns. The first sip, medium-bodied, mixes softness with a light tang and apricot melon flavours. Warm on the throat and a moderate length ending soft. Has a full character evenly divided between texture, spicy depth and soft fruit so delivers overall. Serve well chilled and watch for changes. Will match with Cuban-inspired Cod on Tomatoes tonight - was an excellent match. Cellaring for several years should be OK - didn’t sense too much grass to come forward. 89

HAHN ESTATES CHARDONNAY MONTEREY 2008, Soledad, California, 14.6% D, #234393  $16.95  (Tasted November 14, 2011)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  A pale yellow with a faint citrus aroma. A swirl leaves a firm film that‘s slow to shed tiny tears.  There’s a reasonable softness and round texture to the first sip, a shallow acid accompanies a leaf and bramble flavour that continues to a long dry finish. Did not pair well with roast chicken with root vegetables and rosemary. Not that interesting as a sipper. Has the tang but lacks sufficient flavour to complement other entrees - perhaps would go with fresh oysters. 81

FINCA FLICHMAN MISTERIO ROSÉ MALBEC-SHIRAZ 2010, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.0% D, #170126  $8.20  (Tasted November 3, 2011)  CS
A General listing. My notes: A raspberry red, clear and bright and an aroma of fresh red cherry and subtle Melba apple gives this appeal for two senses. Serve chilled there’s a silkiness to flavours of a red cherry and raspberry blend, a dryness edged with a suspicion of natural sugar leading into a long finish ending chalk dry.  A light hearted beverage for an afternoon social or lo-cal luncheon sipper, before and after, not during unless it‘s warmed Maple syrup on hot waffles. A drink now.  85

CHÂTEAU DE TRINQUEVEDEL TAVEL ROSÉ 2010, Tavel, France, 13.5% XD, #729947  $17.95  (Tasted November 20, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages  on May 28, 2011. Produced by the Demoulin family from the same sand and pebbly vineyards for four generations.   My notes:  The route from Tavel to Aix-en-Provence - charming contryside and countless value wines. A candied cherry red in a tulip glass  with a faint cherry nose that presumes some sweetness and a touch of floral. The first sip has enough sharpness to gain immediate attention. A sour cherry flavour has a natural sugary edge and leaves an oil slick on the lips. The finish is smooth throughout with a watermelon and cherry blend set off by a satin dryness. Have as a summer sipper with two maraschino cherries and crushed ice or as an aperitif before a seafood entrée or with crab crêpes. A drink now. 89

DOMAINE HOUCHART CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROSÉ 2010, Aix-en-Provence, France, 13.0% XD, #118653  $13.95  (Tasted November 9, 2011)  CS
Released by Vintages on September 3, 2011. Produced by Domaine Quiot family from Chateauneuf-du-Pape. A blend of 35% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Mourvèdre and 5% other grapes.  My notes: A powder puff pink with a salmon blush. A subtle scent of peeled Melba apple and peach. A thin film quickly fragmenting leaving a few isolated islands on the glass. So far, a moderate but positive appeal. The first sip has the smoothness of sprinkled talc, a tang that prickles the tongue and flavour of almost ripe red cherries. A lightish medium-bodied sipper with a lingering allure... and enough there to balance a plate of crispy critters and sweet potato fries. I’d be tempted to cellar this a year or two looking for additional depth. 88
ANTECH 'EXPRESSION' BRUT CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2008, Limoux, France  12.0% XD, #068239  $17.95  (Tasted November 20, 2011) CS


Released by Vintages on May 14, 2011 and is made in the traditional method using a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Mauzac (the traditional principal variety of Limoux in Languedoc).  My notes:  A burst of fine bubbles on pouring with streams of fine bubbles continuing to rise from the glass gives a festive first impression. A light blond colour and a slight pie dough aroma. Bubbles continue to form the rim encouraging a first sip. Serve well chilled for the spritz bite and an extra dry layering, a mineral flavouring, a smooth texture and touch of lime. The finish extends the flavours until declining to a delicate yeasty aftertaste. An oyster partner for sure… or shelled crustaceans on a stick then bbq’d to a pinkish hue. We’re having between bites of chicken Wellingtons and roast butternut squash - just OK - light on complementing flavours. 88
BRISEBARRE BRUT VOUVRAY NV, Loire, France, 12.5% XD, #226241  $18.95  (Tasted November 15, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages on October 1, 2011 and is made in the traditional method using 100% Chenin Blanc. My notes:  A touch of pastry dough and a sniff of apple - together it’s subtle apple pie. The initial burst of bubbles subsides quickly leaving streams of tiny ones mysteriously springing from the glass. A mid gold colour and a thin lacy rim sets the start of tasting. A strong spritz on the tongue brightens an initial softness and the flavour of tart apple skins wakes the palate. Have with seafoods, fish or crustaceans, lightly grilled or shrimps with a coconut shell. Cellaring for several years should prove interesting possibly introducing more ‘cream’.  Quite refreshing now and for many occasions.  89
MAUSBERG BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS CRÉMANT D'ALSACE NV, Beblenheim, France, 12.0% XD, #171785  $17.95  (Tasted November 19, 2011) CS
Release by Vintages on July 23, 2011.  My notes: Produced by Cave de Hoen. You can hear the smoothness in the first pour. A burst of fine mousse quickly settling to steady streams. Serve well chilled and let the changes meet your mood - from sharp and metallic to mellow and mallible. The fruit,  more nuances that outright flavours, is of melon and apple. The finish is fairly short ending dry with some chalk to go with a mild tang. Have with grilled chicken or seafood. Better to have on a sunny afternoon or with a late breakfast omelette - hold the ketchup. Could have more flavour but it’s Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois so expect modesty. Keep on hand up to a year. 88

THE WOLFTRAP ROSÉ 2010, Franschoek, South Africa, 13.5% MD, #169409  $12.95  (Tasted November 7, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages on July 9, 2011. Produced by Boekenhoutskloof and a blend of 66% Syrah, 20% Cinsault and 14% Grenache. Rated 88 by Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellar (Mar/Apr 2011).  My notes:  The Wolftrap White 2010 was recommended by Sarah Ahmed (@sarahwine)  ‘The Wine Detective, an independent, award-winning wine writer and communicator’ according to her website. The white is no longer available at Vintages so I’ll try their rosé, a similar blend to the southern France roses and a coquettish salmon pink. However, with Mourvèdre missing and higher Syrah content the profile has a spicier nose and flavouring and a lighter body. The sweet is not intrusive and there's a slight herbal edge to a white cherry scent that’s also reflected in the flavour. Medium-bodied with an appealing smoothness and finishing with spice and cherry remnants. An interesting sipper for its different terroir and blending. Introduce as a mystery sipper for an afternoon tasting or have as a prelude to a bouillabaisse or seafood entrée. Cellaring for a few years should be OK.  88

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