I continue to be intrigued by the white wines available this summer. I begin with an almost-extinct grape variety from Avellino in Campania, Rovello or Grecomusc’ — a fine, mineral-infused wine that ranks high on the “wine discovery” quotient. Then five wines from France: two Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire, a Bordeaux blend, a Muscadet and an Alsatian Pinot Gris. I conclude with a Chenin Blanc from South Africa, a Chardonnay from Oregon, a Semillon from Washington and a Viognier from Australia.
2012 CONTRADE DI TAURASI GRECOMUSC', IGT Campania Bianco
Vintages #418715 • $32.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is an interesting wine made from a rare and almost extinct grape variety — Rovello Bianco, locally known as Grecomusc' or Greco Muscio — from Taurasi, Mirabella Eclano and Bonito in Avellino Campania. Contrade di Taurasi has replanted and nurtured this variety, and I for one am very happy that they have! The wine is medium yellow, with a slightly restrained mineral-laden nose reminiscent of wet stones , earth, and just a hint of white flowers, pears and lime, with a light herbal note. The wine is bone dry, with brisk acidity, understated but not quite austere, and a very mineral finish. I like this very much, and I'm willing to swallow the price to support this revival.
Tasted July 24, 2015 • GROUPE SOLEIL (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 CHÂTEAU FAVRAY POUILLY-FUMÉ AC
Vintages #323642 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 90/100The limestone soils of Pouilly Fumé are nicely expressed here, with a chalky minerality underpinning aromas of cut grass and hay, grapefruit, lime, green apples and white flowers. Balanced, fresh, crisp and dry, the palate swells with verve and life. This is a lovely wine for the price. Tasted July 24, 2015, (90)
Tasted July 24, 2015 • NOKHRIN CORPORATION (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 DOMAINE DES CÔTES BLANCHES SANCERRE AC
Vintages #409292 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 89/100Here is another good Sancerre. It is light straw-yellow. The herbaceous elements (cut grass and hay) are fairly subdued on the nose, while the pretty floral, green apple, lime and pear notes come to the fore, with a stony element underlying the fruit. The wine is dry, balanced and crisp, and on the palate the chalky minerality becomes more dominant, leading to a pleasant mineral finish.
Tasted July 24, 2015 • BRAND NEW DAY WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 CHÂTEAU MARTINON BLANC, AC Entre-deux-Mers
Vintages #421230 • $14.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a traditional Bordeaux white Semillon-based blend from Entre-deux-Mers, with 30% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Muscadelle, rather different from the very modern Sauvignon Blanc-based whites that have become so much more common. That being said, the Sauvignon Blanc certainly sems to take precedence. The nose is slightly herbaceous, with a scent of cut grass, followed by aromas of lemon, grapefruit, green apple and white flowers. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity, and the grassy, lime and green apple notes on the palate lead to a nicely mineral finish. This is an excellent value.
Tasted July 24, 2015 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 CLOS LES MONTYS VIEILLES VIGNES MUSCADET SÈVRE & MAINE SUR LIE AC
Vintages #297911 • $13.95 • 750ml. • 87.5/100With its pale straw colour, and aromas of green apples, lime and pear, all inside a frame of wet stones, this is a good, typical Muscadet. The wine is bone dry, with vibrant acidity and crisp stoniness that is balanced with just a hint of creaminess from the time on lees. What a value at this price!
Tasted July 24, 2015 • ROUGE ET BLANC LTD (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2010 RIEFLÉ STEINERT PINOT GRIS, AC Alsace Grand Cru
Vintages #408229 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 90/100If you want to find out about Pinot Gris — as a contrast to Pinot Grigio — this Alsatian wine is a good place to start. The wine is rather deep yellow, with gold highlights. The nose suggests rich and ripe fruit: honey, very ripe yellow apples, ripe peaches and apricots, and then ginger and a bitter herbal note. The wine is off-dry, still with elevated acidity, but rich with alcohol and a lightly honeyed sweetness, contrasting with a bitterness at the base reminiscent of apricot pit. A challenging and exciting wine.
Tasted July 24, 2015 • TANDEM SELECTIONS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 MULDERBOSCH CHENIN BLANC, WO Western Cape
Vintages #675421 • $14.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a representative Chenin Blanc from South Africa that has performed well over several vintages. The wine is medium straw-yellow, with a complex smoky nose that hints of oak spice and resin, lemon juice, yellow apples and floral notes with an almost earthy underpinning. The wine crisp and dry, with some richness on the palate as the fruit comes to the fore and the reductive elements recede. Very good value.
Tasted July 24, 2015 • ABCON INTERNATIONAL (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 A TO Z WINEWORKS CHARDONNAY, Oregon
Vintages #269258 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a fresh, unoaked Chardonnay from Oregon, featuring pears, red apples, white peach and fresh herbs on the nose. The wine is dry, balanced, with firm acidity, lots of freshness and a very attractive bitter and stony finish. Simple but attractive.
Tasted July 24, 2015 • TANNIN FINE WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 L'ECOLE NO. 41 SEMILLON, Columbia Valley
Vintages #982157 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This Semillon is supplemented with 13% Sauvignon Blanc. 2013 was a warm vintage in Washington, and this wine reflects the heat with elevated alcohol and noticeable ripeness. The wine is light yellow, with white flower and peach blossom aromas, with lemon, stone fruit, and a dry herb note, and notes of wood spice and resin. The wine is dry, with elevated alcohol, and a richness and breadth that carries the ripe peach, grapefruit and yellow apple fruit to a slightly bitter finish.
Tasted July 24, 2015 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 YALUMBA THE Y SERIES VIOGNIER, South Australia
Vintages #624502 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 89/100You don't have to be a fan of Viognier to find this wine intriguing. The wine is light straw-yellow, with a fresh, zingy nose that suggests peaches, perfumed red apples, with a floral lift and a spicy-ginger nuance — direct and clean, but still rather subtle. The wine is dry, balanced and crisp, and the fruit and other flavours remains focused on the palate. Would that more Viognier was like this! It's an excellent value to boot.
Tasted July 24, 2015 • B AND W WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation