Part 2 of my picks from the December 12, 2015 Vintages release presents nine sparkling wines. Two are from Ontario, three are Champagnes, two are Crémants from Burgundy, there is an excellent Franciacorta, and a cheap and cheerful bubbly from New Zealand.
HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE ESTATE BLANC DE BLANC 2010, Méthode Traditionnelle, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #315200 • $44.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is the premium vintage-dated version of Cuvée Catharine, the Blanc de Blanc (Chardonnay-based) "Carte Blanche", that has spent five years aging on its lees in bottle. The wine is medium yellow, with a nose of lemon, red and yellow apples, dry toast and brioche. Crisp acidity drives the palate, softened by a modicum of residual sugar that adds some richness, while still presenting itself as dry. The lingering finish is crisp and mineral-laden, with a lovely red apple skin texture and flavour. This is a very high quality sparkler from Henry of Pelham.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY EST. WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
TAWSE SPARK LIMESTONE RIDGE SPARKLING RIESLING 2013, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #370361 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Fresh and vibrant aromas fill the nose: apple, lemon, lime and pear fruit, with white flowers, camomile and wet stones. The wine is just off-dry, although the firm acidity hides most of the sweetness, which works to soften the palate. The bubbles maintain the impression of crispness into the pleasant mineral and apple finish. This is a very pleasant, well-priced bubbly.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • TAWSE WINERY INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT PREMIER CHAMPAGNE AC
Vintages #268771 • $69.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100Here is a very good non-vintage Champagne from Louis Roederer: 40% each Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with 20% Pinot Meunier. It is light straw-yellow, with a vibrant nose suggesting toast and yeast, with lemon, lemon zest and ripe yellow apples. Bright acidity and stony minerality balance the richer palate, with brioche supplementing the toast, and the yellow apple flavours taking on a slightly bruised character. All in all some good complexity.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
TARLANT BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE AC
Vintages #664680 • $62.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100The wine shows medium salmon-pink. The pleasant nose suggests strawberries, apple blossoms and slightly bruised red apples, with a toasty-yeasty frame. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity. After an initial richness on the attack that carries the red apple and strawberry flavours, the minerality comes to the fore, with a little lemon and grapefruit zest on the chalk and mineral finish. Quite lovely.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • B AND W WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
PIERRE BRIGANDAT & FILS TRADITION BRUT CHAMPAGNE AC
Vintages #421057 • $43.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is an interesting example of an RM (récoltant-manipulant) or Grower's Champagne — made by a smaller producer who only uses their own grapes. The wine is medium yellow; the nose suggests red apples, lemon and melon, with a reductive bitterness and a light toasty note. Dry, crisp and fresh, there is a little residual sugar well masked by the acidity. There isn't much generosity here, but I think that's the style. A slightly bitter apple skin texture supplements the fruit on the palate, and leads into the chalky-stony finish. Nicely focused and fairly priced.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • CORK AND CROWN (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE D'IVOIRE BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE , Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Burgundy, France
Vintages #48801 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is a very good Chardonnay-based Crémant de Bourgogne. The nose is fresh and clean, featuring bright, green apple and lemon fruit, over a light layer of toast. Elevated acidity keeps the palate crisp, while the frothy mousse adds a pleasant creamy texture. Light, pleasant and a very good value.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
MARIE-PIERRE MANCIAT BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE , Méthode Traditionnelle, AP
Vintages #402362 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100This is a richer, riper example of Crémant de Bourgogne. The nose fills with intense sweet brioche, buttered toast, lemon and green and yellow apples. The wine is off-dry, although acidity keeps the sweetness In check. The pleasant fruit and toasty flavours lead into a stony-mineral finish. A very nice example.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • WINEONLINE MARKETING COMPANY LTD (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CA' DEL BOSCO CUVÉE PRESTIGE BRUT FRANCIACORTA DOCG
Vintages #105353 • $39.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100Franciacorta is Italy's premier traditional method sparkling wine region, and this is a lovely example. It is 75% Chardonnay, with 15% Pinot Nero, and 10% Pinot Bianco, the traditional sparkling wine grape of the region. The wine pours medium yellow, with a rich and evocative nose suggesting sweet pastry, lemons and yellow apples, both fresh and baked as in Tarte Tatin. Firm acidity balances the rich fruit and almost creamy texture, and a surprising herbal note appears on the palate. Lovely complexity.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • VANRICK CORPORATION LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
OYSTER BAY SPARKLING CUVÉE ROSÉ , Charmat Method, New Zealand
Vintages #280172 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 87.5/100This is a pleasant, easy-drinking sparkler. It is medium salmon in colour, with a clean, fresh nose, suggesting red apples, strawberries and lemons, with a lightly floral note. It is crisp, simple and quite pleasing. Fairly priced.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • DELEGAT CANADA LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review