I found a great deal to please me in the July 25 Vintages release, but I particularly enjoyed the sparkling and still white wines that I present in Part 1 here. The sparklers include a Crémant de Bourgogne that I thought was well above the norm that we find here in Ontario (at least in the half-bottle format that I tasted), along with an excellent non-vintage Champagne from a large négociant-manipulant, an austere Vouvray, and an excellent Cava. I’ve included a sparkling red Lambrusco in Part 2.
The still white wines include three fine French wines (a village-level Chassagne-Montrachet, a Sancerre and a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape), two exciting whites from New Zealand (a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay), a fine trocken Riesling from Germany and a white Malagousia-Assyrtiko blend from Greece. All in all, an excellent array of wines! I review eight red wines in Part 2.
BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE NV, Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Burgundy
Vintages #641423 • $11.95 • 375ml. • 89/100The wine has an expressive Chardonnay nose of lemon juice, yellow apple and floral notes, surrounded by toast, brioche and hazelnuts. It is Brut, with very elevated acidity that hides a modest amount of residual sugar to remain crisp on the palate, with a firm texture that finishes on a light sponge-toffee note. This is a charming and quite complex Crémant that I highly recommend in this 375 ml format.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CHARLES HEIDSIECK BRUT RÉSERVE CHAMPAGNE AC NV
Vintages #36962 • $69.95 • 750ml. • 92/100Here is a very high quality non-vintage Champagne at a relatively reasonable price. 60% of athe wine is from the 2008 vintage, with 40% older reserve vintages, and was disgorged in 2014, implying at least five years on lees in the bottle. And it shows. The wine is a deep yellow-gold, rich with autolytic character of brioche, toast, caramel and nuts, although ripe yellow and lemon-citrus fruit are still dominant. The wine is dry, with some sweetness that is masked by the brisk acidity, and that emerges on the palate as a real richness in taste and texture. The finish is long and toasty. An excellent wine from one of the prestige Champagne houses.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • GLAZER'S OF CANADA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CHÂTEAU MONCONTOUR TÊTE DE CUVÉE BRUT VOUVRAY NV, Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Loire
Vintages #207936 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a traditional method sparkling wine from Vouvray, which means it is made from Chenin Blanc. The wine has lots of Chenin character: aromas of beeswax and honey, green apple and lemon-lime, a floral lift, and a slightly earthy-chalky underpinning that is framed by a light brioche note. The wine is just off-dry, although the high acidity almost hides the sweetness. The fine mousse gives an impression of crispness, and the sharp green apple flavour becomes slightly bitter on the long finish. The wine is interesting, well-made, and possibly a little austere for some, but it is a very good example that performs extremely well for the price.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • S. SCHIRALLI AGENCIES LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
NAVERAN BRUT NATURE MILLESSIME CAVA DO 2011
Vintages #414649 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Cava is composed of the three main Cava grapes (Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada) along with a dash of Chardonnay. The wine is medium yellow-gold, with a pleasant lemony, yellow apple and floral nose and a light bready-brioche note. The wine is dry, with high acidity and modest alcohol. The palate has a crisp, firm texture, with toasty flavours complementing the fruit, and leading to a slightly bitter finish. This is a very good Cava, with more complexity and interest than average.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • ATLAS TRADING (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
ROUX PÈRE & FILS LES CHAUMES CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET AC 2013
Vintages #208512 • $64.95 • 750ml. • 91/100This wine is from the village level lieu-dit Les Chaumes of Chassagne-Montrachet. Aromas of yellow apple and lemon, white flowers, vanilla, hazelnuts and a light woody resin are bolstered by a firmer chalky-limestone edge that adds some depth. The oak resin and spice are more noticeable on the palate, but never dominate the fruit and other flavours. There is a fine stony-mineral finish. A year or two of bottle age will allow this to integrate seamlessly. Very fine.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE AC 2013
Vintages #65573 • $26.95 • 750ml. • 91/100"Caillottes" refers to the stony, limestone-rich calcareous soils of the vineyards near the village of Bué and the hamlet of Amigny in Sancerre. The wine is medium straw with yellow highlights, and the intense nose suggests flinty minerals, green apples and lemons, with white flowers, and just a hint of hay and grass. The palate is dry, crisp and balanced, full of chalky minerality, with citrus and apple fruit lingering on a firm and flinty finish. Textbook Sancerre that is slightly austere — and quite excellent!
Tasted July 10, 2015 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE BLANC AC 2013
Vintages #704429 • $44.95 • 750ml. • 91/100This is a blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, with smaller amounts of Clairette and Bourboulenc. The wine pours light yellow, with gold highlights. While the nose is a little subdued right now, the aromas of white flowers, peach blossoms, peaches and lemons still present themselves with clarity and precision. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity and balanced alcohol. The palate expands with a suggestion of barrel exposure, as ripe yellow apple, honeysuckle and a honey note add complexity. A light bitter streak with an herbal-fennel overtone adds some texture and interest on the finish. This is compelling now, but it will benefit from another year or two of cellar time.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOG POINT VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2012, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #238568 • $42.95 • 750ml. • 92/100Dog Point Vineyards is particularly well known for its Sauvignon Blanc, but makes excellent Pinot Noir and a small amount of Chardonnay. This is a terrific example of the latter. It is medium yellow, with an intense smoky, flinty reductive nose, with very noticeable but enticing barrel toast, and lemon and yellow apple fruit nestling underneath. Acidity briskly carries the smoke and flint through the fruit on the palate, into a long and stony finish. This is a real tour de force, well worth the premium price.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
SERESIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #735043 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 91/100Seresin is a prominent Marlborough winery that works organically and biodynamically in their estate vineyards. This Sauvignon Blanc, which includes 6% Semillon, is fermented with wild yeasts, with 15% of the wine fermented in old French oak barriques. The nose has a light smoky-reductive note, with aromas of lemons, yellow apples, and hints of beeswax and barrel toast. Lively acidity balances a richness on the palate, with the ripe and slightly waxy fruit leading to a long finish. This is a serious, lovely wine that pushes well beyond the typical $20 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. A real treat.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • DIONYSUS WINES & SPIRITS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN HATTENHEIM ALTE REBEN RIESLING TROCKEN 2012, Qualitätswein
Vintages #416891 • $28.95 • 750ml. • 90/100I love this style of Riesling. While "trocken" (dry) doesn't mean that the wine must be fermented totally dry, it does have to meet a prescribed balance of acidity and residual sugar that makes it taste dry. In this case the 8 grams of residual sugar come across as an extra richness that balances high acidity, with an absence of perceptible sweetness. Beginning with an intense mineral, rubber and smoky attack, aromas of red apples, lemon juice, dried herbs and ginger fill the nose. The rubber-smoky notes recede on the palate, leaving a stony-slate essence, with the fruit and herbs remaining in the background. Terrific wine.
Tasted July 17, 2015 • SYLVESTRE WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
KTIMA GEROVASSILIOU WHITE 2014, PGI Epanomi
Vintages #999714 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a blend of the aromatic Malagousia with mineral-laden Assyrtiko, from the hands of Evangelos Gerovassiliou, who pioneered the revival of Malagousia in northern Greece. The nose suggests the rather intense aromatics of Malagousia — white peaches, peach blossoms, apple blossoms, lemon, melon and dried herbs. Crisp elevated acidity may be Assyrtiko leaving its mark, and the fruit mellows on the palate, with some depth and breadth that suggests barrel exposure. All-in-all, nicely balanced and a very good wine.
Tasted July 10, 2015 • THE KOLONAKI GROUP INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation