June 27, 2015 Release Part 2: Spotlight on white wines

I found some very interesting white wines in this release. I begin with a fine local summer sipper, the Malivoire Musqué “Spritz”, a lightly sparkling sweet white wine. My favourite wine of the release is a California Chardonnay, the premium Estate Chardonnay from Grgich Hills in Napa. In addition, I present a local unoaked Chardonnay, four aromatic white wines, including an excellent Condrieu, four rather different expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, and end with a Chenin Blanc from Ken Forrester in South Africa. Quite a good and varied selection, I think!


MALIVOIRE MUSQUÉ SPRITZ 2014, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula

Vintages #189670 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
Watery white, lightly sparkling, medium sweet but still crisp and fresh, this is a perfect use for the aromatic Chardonnay Musqué. Apple blossom, red apples, white fowers, peaches and a hint of lemon fill the nose and wash the palate, that finishes with some freshness. Fun, easy-drinking, and a stylish local alternative to Prosecco.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #346304 • $66.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 92/100
I'm always excited to taste the Estate Chardonnay, and it continues to be one of my very favourite California Chards. The wine is light yellow, and the nose is so very intense: it first shows a very pungent reductive-matchstick component, but underneath crisp lemon and green apple fruit layer with minerals, floral notes and smoke. The wine is dry, with elevated (and I think natural) acidity and balanced alcohol, with just a hint of heat on the mid-palate. There is slightly more wood apparent on the palate that needs some time to integrate, but lots of complexity and depth. Very California in its confident fruit and luxurious use of wood, yet the grapes are not too ripe, and the wine is balanced and elegant in a way I don't expect from most Napa Chardonnays. It is by far my favourite wine of this release, and though it's very delicious now, it really should be allowed to age in bottle for at least another two or three years, if not more.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • ROGERS & COMPANY (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #210062 • $14.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 87.5/100
This is a fresh, lightly floral, lemon and green apple scented unoaked Chardonnay. With brisk acidity and moderate alcohol, the palate stays crisp and clean, with a suggestion of minerality and an herbal spearmint note on the finish. A good unoaked Chardonnay at an excellent price.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • CALAMUS ESTATE WINERY (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review

I seldom focus on aromatic whites, but this release has some very good offerings that really should be acknowledged.



Vintages #414466 • $49.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
It is a rare treat to find a Condrieu in Ontario. This is a classic expression of Viognier: rather deep yellow-gold, with high intensity aromas of honeysuckle, peach blossoms, ripe peaches, oranges, ginger and fresh herbs. The wine is dry, with balanced acidity and alcohol, rich with a creamy texture, honeyed and spicy, in addition to the floral and fruit notes. Quite lovely, though a premium-priced wine to be sure.
Tasted June 16, 2015 • VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #242958 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
Ann Sperling, better known in Ontario for her work as winemaker at Southbrook Winery, brings a few of the wines from her family estate in Kelowna, BC into the Ontario market each year. Her 2013 Gewürztraminer is a very nice introduction to her craft. High intensity but still very pretty aromas of white flowers, peach and apple blossoms, red apples, grapefruit and melon fill the nose — so expressive, but without the "over-the-top" florality that can mar this variety for me. The wine is just off-dry, and has balanced acidity and alcohol. The palate is rich and slightly creamy, and the floral notes recede as the red apple, grapefruit and peach fruit step forward. A very good wine.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • SPERLING VINEYARDS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #656801 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
This is a "full bore" Gewürztraminer that drops the gloves on the first sniff and keeps on punching. The nose displays exuberant florality: acacia, peach and apple blossoms, with orange peel and rosewater, and red apple, grapefruit and watermelon fruit underneath. The wine is verging on off-dry, nicely balanced with some richness that complements the fruit. The finish is long and slightly spicy. A very well-priced example.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • LACEY INTERNATIONAL (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


COLOMÉ TORRONTÉS 2013, Calchaquí Valley, Salta

Vintages #357913 • $13.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100
This is a very good and quaffable example of a variety I don't drink often. Torrontés is an aromatic grape that can be easily confused with Viognier. This wine has an intense and vibrant nose, very floral, with an aroma that I characterize as Thrills gum, and then layers of peach, peach blossom, red apple, apple blossoms and grapefruit. It is nicely balanced, the alcohol is controlled, and the finish is long, pretty and pleasant. I would keep this chilled, and then enjoy it as a sipper, although it will work well with spicy dishes.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • PREVEDELLO AND MATHEWS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review

The following four Sauvignon Blancs reflect interesting stylistic, regional and winemaking differences.


DOG POINT SECTION 94 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012, Marlborough, South Island

Vintages #325977 • $44.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100
This is an ultra-premium New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that pushes away from the popular mainstream expression with riper fruit, fermentation with indigenous yeasts and aging in older oak barrels for 18 months. The nose is unusual: slightly sweaty and herbaceous, but smoke and light wood spice take the fore, with grapefruit, lemon and yellow apple lurking underneath. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity and balanced alcohol, and the palate shows some honeyed richness and depth, with minerality building through the long finish. Ageworthy and serious.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #974527 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
This is one of the better mainstream "Savvys" that we get in Ontario on a regular basis. You'll find intense aromas reminiscent of green peppers and lychee, with grapefruit and sweeter pineapples and peaches. The wine is dry, and the palate is fresh and clean with balanced alcohol. Grapefruit, peach and pineapple flavours fill the palate, with the herbaceous elements largely subdued, but re-emerging as a fennel-like nuance on the finish. Altogether satisfying: complex yet balanced.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula

Vintages #89011 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100
I like this local expression of Sauvignon Blanc. It begins with a light herbaceous and grassy streak, slightly sweaty, and builds complexity with green herbs, grapefruit, red apple and melon aromas. It's dry, with crisp acidity and modest alcohol. Some minerality enhances the pleasant, lingering finish. You'll be pleased when you compare this with similarly priced New Zealand Savvy.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • FEATHERSTONE WINERY (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #418889 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
This is a very good example of basic Bordeaux Blanc. A light herbaceous element underlies green apple, lime, pear, and a riper melon note. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity and modest alcohol. The herbaceous elements recede to the background on the palate, and the fruit steps gently forward. If you expect the pungent aromas and flavours of the New Zealand standard, you might find this rather neutral, but I'd say that it's subtle and nuanced. It is also very good and well-priced.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • HERITAGE CELLARS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review

Sadly for many people, Chenin Blanc is an unopened book. The final wine, a Chenin from South Africa, is an excellent introduction to the variety.



Vintages #231282 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
This wine is often offered by the LCBO and is always worth trying. I found the nose a little shy on my tasting, but there is certainly dried honey, lemon, yellow apples, a hint of white flowers, and a slightly resinous wood-spice component. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity and alcohol. The palate is rich and honeyed, with a light yogurt-lactic note. The minerality shines through on the finish. A very well-priced introduction to one of the signature grape varieties of South Africa.
Tasted June 12, 2015 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


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