This and my next post show some of the great diversity among white wines in the current release. Here I am presenting what I think of as the more mainstream whites other than Chardonnay: Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc, then a Grüner Veltliner and two wines from the Loire — a Savennières and a Muscadet. My final post on the whites from this release will wander further from the beaten path.
As I check over my notes, I realize that the theme is “minerality”. Words like “mineral”, “stony”, “limestone”, “chalky”, even “rubber” and “earthy” appear in every note. It’s an unintended theme, but certainly reflects what I like in my white wines!
I’ll begin with two Ontario Rieslings.
2013 NORMAN HARDIE RIESLING, VQA Ontario
Vintages #131169 • $21.00 • 750ml. • 89/100Norman Hardie's Riesling is a blend of County and Niagara fruit, hence the VQA Ontario designation. For me the County limestone minerality steals the day, with a slight rubbery edge, and crisp lime and green apple fruit. The wine reads as virtually dry, with just-perceptible residual sugar masked by high acidity which, with the low alcohol, keeps the lime and mineral palate crisp and clean. Excellent.
Tasted July 7, 2015 • HARDIE WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #89029 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a very attractive off-dry Riesling, with high acidity that keeps the palate pleasantly fresh. The nose is quite vibrant, with a hint of Riesling rubber, green and red apples, zesty lemon-lime, green herbs and white blossoms. A streak of minerality underlies the palate. Very good quality at a very affordable price.
Tasted July 7, 2015 • TAWSE WINERY INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
Three Sauvignon Blancs hail from New Zealand, the Loire, and from just beyond the north-eastern Loire, in Saint-Bris, Chablis.
2014 DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #677450 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a very classy expression of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that I previously reviewed in April 2015. The nose is intense and complex, with aromas ranging from struck flint to fresh cut grass, with lychee, grapefruit, melon and yellow apple fruit in between. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity and balanced alcohol, and some richness on the palate that brings the grapefruit, melon and apple fruit to the fore, as grassy notes recede and the minerality underpins it all. Lovely wine, one of the very best New Zealand Savvys in this price range.
Tasted June 26, 2015 • LIQUID ART FINE WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 JEAN-PIERRE BAILLY POUILLY-FUMÉ AC
Vintages #408815 • $22.95 • 750ml. • 90/100Here is a crisp and vibrant Pouilly Fumé, with chalky limestone and struck flint on the nose, then a suggestion of hay and cut grass, lime and crisp green apple. The wine is dry with high acidity. The minerality defines the palate, with the fruit, grass and now dried herbs playing a supporting role. Restrained, verging on austere, but remaining approachable. Very attractive.
Tasted June 26 and July 7, 2015 • ABCON INTERNATIONAL (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
About 100 km east and north of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, the Sauvignon Blanc of Saint-Bris in Chablis shares a similar chalky limestone terroir.
2014 LA CHABLISIENNE SAINT BRIS AC
Vintages #641753 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100This fresh and bone dry Sauvignon displays its chalky-limestone roots. The attractive nose suggests aromas of hay and green herbs, a slightly earthy and stony minerality, lime, grapefruit and delicate white flowers. Acid is firm, forming the mineral spine of the palate, that carries the citrus and herbal flavours until it shrugs them off on the chalky finish. A very good wine, with a very attractive price.
Tasted June 26, 2015 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
The final three wines hail from Austria, Savennièrres and Muscadet respectively.
2013 SALOMON-UNDHOF KREMSER TOR ALTE REBEN RESERVE GRÜNER VELTLINER, DAC Kremstal
Vintages #392332 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The nose is quite expressive, with lots of fresh lime and green apple, pear, honeydew melon, with white pepper and a slightly earthy undertone. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity and balanced alcohol. The palate shows some richness, slightly honeyed yet earthy, with a pleasant citrus character. But for me it's more about the texture than the fruit. Very good introduction to Grüner.
Tasted July 7, 2015 • LAMPRECHT INTERNATIONAL (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2011 DOMAINE DES BAUMARD CLOS DE SAINT YVES SAVENNIÈRES AC
Vintages #16717 • $34.95 • 750ml. • 92/100A classic Savennières, with honey and beeswax, lemon, yellow apple and hay on the nose. The wine is dry with high acidity and balanced alcohol. While the fruit remains on the palate, a salty minerality combines the honey and beeswax to take over and form a dense textured core. Fascinating now, but with years ahead if properly cellared. Highly recommended.
Tasted July 7, 2015 • ROGERS & COMPANY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 PIERRE-LUC BOUCHAUD MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE, SUR LIE AC
Vintages #82461 • $14.95 • 750ml. • 88/100Here is a typical Muscadet: crisp and fresh, dry with high acidity and modest alcohol. While there is a little green apple and lime fruit, the story is the stony minerality that drives the nose and anchors the palate, which is slightly enriched with the merest hint of lees and cream. Very good example and a fine value.
Tasted June 26, 2015 • EX-CELLARS WINE SERVICES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
My fourth post, presenting some less-well-known wines and grape varieties, is here.