Part 3 of my reviews for December 15, 2015 focuses on ten white wines, seven of which are delicious Chardonnays. The first three are from Burgundy: a Premier Cru Beauroy from Hamelin, a very good Chablis from Domaine de Colombier, and a Pouilly-Fuissé from Domaine de Chalet Pouilly. Next is a very fine Chardonnay from Italy, followed by two from Australia, and finishing with a very good-value local Chardonnay from Cave Spring.
But before I begin with all that Chardonnay, here is an excellent oaked Sauvignon Blanc from Hidden Bench in Ontario, which they label as Fumé Blanc. It is followed by two distinctive Alsatian wines — the Mambourg Gewürztraminer from Pierre Sparr and an attractive Pinot Blanc from Domaine Zinck.
HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2013, Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #68825 • $27.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100The wine is medium yellow, with a vibrant nose suggesting fresh herbs and mint over notes of lemon, apple and vanilla. The wine is dry, with slightly elevated acidity that balances some richness — a creamy texture and lactic flavours that suggest extended lees contact. There is some real elegance here, that reminds me of a good Graves white rather than a California Fumé Blanc. This is a very fine effort.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • HIDDEN BENCH VINEYARDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
PIERRE SPARR MAMBOURG GEWURZTRAMINER 2013, AC Alsace Grand Cru
Vintages #915157 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is a very good example of Alsace Gewürztraminer from the Grand Cru vineyard Mambourg. The wine is medium yellow, with a very intense nose that explodes with exuberant floral notes — peach blossoms and honeysuckle — then settles into rich peach, apricot, grapefruit and orange fruit aromas. The wine is medium-sweet, but still retains a balanced acidity. The palate is underlaid by a phenolic bitterness, that contrasts nicely with the sweetness. Very good.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE ZINCK PINOT BLANC 2014, AC Alsace
Vintages #435040 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is a light and lively expression of Pinot Blanc. From the fresh green apple, lime and floral nose, to the crisp mineral-driven finish, this is a fairly simple but elegant wine. It will make you wonder why you don't drink more Pinot Blanc!
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • LIFFORD WINE & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
I’ll begin with the three Burgundies. Generally speaking, I find that Chablis continues to be one of the best relative values for white wines, at all levels.
DOMAINE HAMELIN BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU AC 2012
Vintages #391805 • $33.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 92/100This is a lovely premier cru Chablis: there is an immediate sense of breadth on the nose, with the yellow apple and lemon fruit aromas softened by a suggestion of yeast and fresh yoghurt. On the palate the brisk acidity is balanced by a creamy texture, and the lightly lactic character gives way to firm saline minerality that builds on the finish. A fine Chablis and an excellent value.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE DU COLOMBIER CHABLIS AC 2014
Vintages #366419 • $23.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100On the nose the fresh, crisp lemon-lime, green apple and white flowers surround a core of chalky stone, that turns into liquid salty rocks on the palate. The acidity is brisk, with just enough generosity to keep this from austerity, while maintaining its true, mineral Chablis character. Lovely wine for the price.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • C & E WORLDFINDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE DE CHALET POUILLY POUILLY-FUISSÉ AC 2013
Vintages #295717 • $34.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This Pouilly-Fuissé pours light yellow in the glass. Bright lemon and apple fruit are complemented by a pleasantly resinous and spicy frame. The wood notes on the palate are beginning to integrate with the green apple and lemon core, helped by the brisk acidity that delivers a crisp mid-palate and a lengthy mineral finish. Really quite a lovely wine.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • OKWINE (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
This Chardonnay from Friuli has featured at several blind and not-blind tastings with sommeliers recently, and it definitely holds its own relative to other excellent Chardonnays.
JERMANN CHARDONNAY 2014, IGT Venezia Giulia
Vintages #429902 • $34.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100This is a fine Chardonnay from the excellent Friuli producer Jermann. Delicate aromas of lemon, green apple and white flowers mesh with vanilla and a light resin note on the nose. The palate is focused and precise, with a lightly creamy texture, balanced by crisp acidity that carries the fruit and a streak of chalky minerality into a long finish. Elegant and quite delicious.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • HALPERN ENTERPRISES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
Finally, the two Australian and the one Canadian offering are very good values.
MOUNTADAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2013, High Eden, Eden Valley, South Australia
Vintages #333211 • $23.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is a fine Australian Chardonnay. The nose presents a core of green apple and lemon aromas, surrounded by smoky and toasty notes that indicate a significant aging regime with new oak. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity and balanced alcohol. It is slightly resinous and smoky on the palate, with riper red apple, peach and lemon curd flavours leading into a long finish. Nice complexity and very pleasing.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • CORK AND CROWN (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2014, Coonawarra, South Australia
Vintages #468728 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Here is a very well-priced Australian Chardonnay. Pleasant white peach, red apple and lemon notes fill the nose. The wine is very dry, with elevated acidity and fresh, clean flavours. It is lightly oaked, with a nicely mineral finish. A fine value indeed.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • TREASURY WINE ESTATES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CAVE SPRING CELLARS ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY 2013, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #256552 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100The Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay continues to be a very competitive offering. Green apple and lemon fruit aromas with vanilla and a suggestion of resin define the nose. The wine has bright acidity that nicely carries the fruit and wood notes on the palate, with a light herbal lift and streak of minerality on the finish. There is some interest and complexity here in this fine local value.
Tasted Nov 20, 2015 • CAVE SPRING CELLARS LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation