Part 1 of my notes for the March 5, 2016 Vintages release begins with five wines from Canada. These include two very good Chardonnays from Quail’s Gate in British Columbia and Peninsula Ridge from Niagara, and three other wines from NIagara: the 2014 Flat Rock Riesling, the 2013 Fielding Estate Gewürztraminer, and a Syrah blend from Henry of Pelham.
These are followed by two wines from the Willamette Valley in Oregon: an excellent Pinot Noir from Scott Paul and a Pinot Gris from Elk Cove. I conclude with a Chardonnay from the Maipo Valley in Chile by William Fèvre, and the latest vintage of the dependable Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand.
QUAILS' GATE CHARDONNAY 2013, BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Vintages #377770 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100The wine pours light yellow, with aromas suggesting lemon, apple, melon and white peach. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity, moderate alcohol, and a slightly creamy texture. Integrated oak spice and vanilla underlie the fruit on the palate, while stony minerality helps lengthen the pleasant, crisp finish. Very good.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • HOBBS & CO. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
PENINSULA RIDGE BARREL AGED CHARDONNAY 2014, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #211490 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Aromas of lemon, apples and distinctive ripe pear mingle with oak notes of resin and vanilla. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity that keeps the fruit fresh and vibrant on the palate. The finish is crisp, with a suggestion of minerality. This is a very good value.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • PMA CANADA LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2014, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #43281 • $16.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Fresh, stony-mineral lime and apple notes, with a hint of smoky rubber, all shout Niagara Riesling. The wine is made in a very off-dry style, that has enough taught acidity to balance the sweetness. It is very approachable and pleasant, the perfect accompaniment for lightly spicy Thai food. What a great value!
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • FLAT ROCK CELLARS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
FIELDING GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #146753 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Here is a nicely aromatic Gewürztraminer. The nose fills with bright aromas of peach blossoms, peaches and tangerines, with a hint of thrills gum at the edges. The wine is off-dry, with balancing acidity, and some richness on the palate. The more chemical thrills gum note recedes on the palate, which swells with vibrant flavours of ripe peach, apricot, tangerines and peach blossoms. A light phenolic bitterness builds on the finish. A very good effort.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • FIELDING ESTATE WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY TREE RED 2013, VQA Ontario
Vintages #247882 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Aromas of blackberries, plums and cherries are complemented by light woody, smoky and roasted notes. Bright acidity drives the palate, with slightly elevated and persistent tannins that carry the fruit through to a lengthy fruit-and-floral finish. Nicely done, and an excellent value.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY EST. WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
SCOTT PAUL LA PAULÉE PINOT NOIR 2011, Willamette Valley
Vintages #446096 • $50.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100This is a lovely Pinot Noir from Oregon, in my view the most exciting source for Pinot Noir in the US. The wine shows as medium ruby, with garnet on the rim. A core of red cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit aromas is complemented by tangy lemon zest and orange rind grace notes, and is underpinned by a suggestion of dry earth and mushrooms. Fresh acidity drives the palate, with moderate alcohol and lightly chalky tannins framing the pleasant fruit, with bright cranberry and earthy rhubarb flavours adding complexity. Balanced, elegant and very fine.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • LOYAL INTERNATIONAL TRADING (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
ELK COVE PINOT GRIS 2014, Willamette Valley
Vintages #955906 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Pinot Gris is one of the trademark grapes of the Willamette Valley, and this is a very good example. The nose is attractive, with aromas of lemon, apple, pear, white peach and apple blossoms. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity and a slight richness on the palate that nicely complements the tart apple and lemon fruit. Quite delicious.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • B AND W WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
WILLIAM FÈVRE ESPINO GRAN CUVÉE CHARDONNAY 2013, Maipo Valley
Vintages #45146 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is a very good offering from William Fèvre of Chile. Lemon and apple aromas are framed by light vanilla and oak resin notes. The wine is dry, with fresh acidity, slightly elevated alcohol and body, with a rich and slightly creamy texture that softens the wine without hiding a light minerality that builds on the finish. This is rather elegant and sophisticated for the price — excellent value.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • WINE GURU SELECTION INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #974527 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100The 2015 vintage continues to hold the quality of this very well-priced Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is light straw, with a core of lemon and grapefruit aromas, with hints of riper melon and pineapple, and all surrounded by herbaceous notes suggesting grass and a light jalapeno earthiness. The earthy and green notes recede on the palate, with the grapefruit flavours coming strongly to the fore, carried by high acidity to a lengthy and drying finish. A vibrant expression of New Zealand Savvy, with nice complexity. It continues to be a very good value.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review