Over the course of the year, I taste and make notes on far more red wines than white wines, and certainly Vintages/LCBO releases more reds than whites. But I find that I actually publish at least as many reviews of white wines as reds. To be sure, I love white wine, but I also believe that in some ways whites are easier to think about and review. They tend to be fresher, less often over-ripe (which blurs the distinctive character of each type of grape), and are less likely to be subjected to obvious winemaking and “makeup”. So they are more likely to express their varietal nature and their place of origin, which heightens my interest.
In any event, I have found a set of eleven rather delicious whites, made from six varieties and sourced from nine different regions, and happily present them to you. These include a Grüner Veltliner from Kamptal, three Chardonnays from Chablis and the Russian River Valley, three Sauvignon Blancs from Sancerre and Marlborough, an Alvarinho from Vinho Verde, two Rieslings from Niagara and the Mosel, and a Muscadet Sèvre et Maine.
The first wine is a Grüner Veltliner from the excellent producer Fred Loimer.
LOIMER LANGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2014, DAC Kamptal
Vintages #142240 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 90/100The wine's earthy-herbal-stony-mineral and lemon-tinged nose perfectly suits its silvery-straw appearance. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity, modest alcohol and medium body. There is some richness on the palate that promotes white pepper, lemon and green apple flavours, while the earthy and mineral notes resurface on the finish. This is a real treat — both distinctive, and distinctly, Grüner Veltliner.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • LE SOMMELIER INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
Next are two wines from Chablis, and a very good Russian River Valley Chardonnay.
SYLVAIN MOSNIER CÔTE DE LÉCHET CHABLIS 1ER CRU AC 2013
Vintages #318139 • $35.95 • 750ml. • 92/100The nose presents smoky-reductive notes, a hint of cheese rind, and lots of chalky minerality, before showing green apple, lemon, and melon aromas underneath. The palate is vibrantly stony and mineral, framed by high acidity that is heightened by the wine's complete dryness. Light cheese rind and lemon-apple notes rise on the mid-palate, and carry into the chalky, stony and almost endless finish. Truly lovely.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • MIH SELECTIONS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE MILLET CHABLIS AC 2014
Vintages #447193 • $26.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100The crushed stone, green apple and lemon aromas, with a hint of white flowers and a subtle leesy note, say it all: Chablis. The wine is bone dry, with high acidity, a medium body, and nicely balanced palate where the aromas are translated into crisp, well-etched flavours. The finish is long and slightly saline. This is everything I hope for in a base Chablis, and is very good indeed.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CLOS DU BOIS CALCAIRE CHARDONNAY 2013, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Vintages #421941 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 90/100The nose is nicely focused, with crisp but ripe lemon and apple fruit, underlying earthy-mineral notes, and a frame of vanilla and light resin. Elevated acid and alcohol are balanced with a light, creamy richness that adds weight to the lively palate, and carries into a lingering, stony finish. This is a fine expression of Chardonnay, not just Russian River Chardonnay.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • CONSTELLATION BRANDS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
Of three very attractive Sauvignon Blancs, the first is a rather classically made and mineral-laden Sancerre, followed by two exuberant renditions from Marlborough.
ROLAND TISSIER & FILS SANCERRE AC 2014
Vintages #108514 • $27.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The wine is watery white, with a fine fresh and herbal nose: a hint of grass, focused lime, grapefruit and green apple fruit, and stony minerality. High acidity defines the palate, centring the grapefruit and herbs, and evolving into a stony finish. Pretty, classic Sancerre, and very good.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • ATLAS TRADING (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
STONELEIGH LATITUDE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #324228 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a full-bore New Zealand Savvy, with an intense sweaty-herbal and grapefruit nose, and aromas of hay and riper fruit in the background. The wine is dry with high acidity. The zingy grapefruit on the palate is softened by a definite tinned pear flavour. The finish lingers with grapefruit, pineapple and stony minerality — saline and acidic. Very good.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • CORBY SPIRIT AND WINE LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MOMO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #9167 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100Momo is the second label of the well-regarded Seresin Estate in Marlborough. This is an intensely herbal Marlborough Sauvignon, with bright grapefruit and apple fruit, and a lightly reductive note. The wine is dry, with high acidity and medium alcohol. The palate is crisp and fresh, with the grapefruit coming to the fore as herbal, minty and earthy notes recede into a saline finish. Very good value.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • DIONYSUS WINES & SPIRITS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
Next is a very good wine from Vinho Verde, made from 100% Alvarinho.
DEU LA DEU ALVARINHO 2014, Monção e Melgaço, DOC Vinho Verde
Vintages #40642 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100Many of the Vinho Verde wines we see here in Ontario are blends of local grapes, but this wine is from Monção e Melgaço, a region on the northern border of Vinho Verde where 100% Alvarinho wines (Albariño in Spanish) are both allowed and encouraged. This has a typical nose: floral, slightly herbal, with bright and ripe citrus notes (Meyer lemon, tangerine, grapefruit) and green apple. The wine is dry, medium-bodied, with brisk acidity that defines the mid-palate and drives the crunchy, mineral finish. Very nice expression.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • TERROIR WINE IMPORTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
The first Riesling is a rather dry example from Henry of Pelham in Niagara, followed by an off-dry example from the Mosel.
HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2012, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #557165 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a pleasantly dry style of Riesling, where the residual sugar is nicely masked by high acidity. There is a light rubber note on the nose, that diminishes the floral and apple aromas, although on the palate the lemon and green apple flavours strongly assert themselves with a tart and tingling goodness, that fills the palate and lingers on the stony finish. Nicely done as always.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY EST. WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DR. HERMANN FROM THE SLATE RIESLING 2013, Qualitätswein
Vintages #446617 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100This is a very accessible example of Mosel Riesling. Pretty floral, herbal, honey and beeswax aromas are backed by red apple and lemon fruit notes, with a hint of chemical-rubber. The wine is decidedly off-dry, but the very brisk acidity keeps the palate fresh, where more peach and apricot fruit comes forward, mingling with the honey and wax. The finish lingers and finishes rather dry, as the acidity works its magic. Very good value.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • S.E. ANDREWS & ASSOCIATES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
I end with a very good Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie, from Grand Fief de la Cormeraie.
GRAND FIEF DE LA CORMERAIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2014, Sur lie, AC
Vintages #81745 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100Oysters anyone? Here is a very good value in a textbook Muscadet. The nose suggests crushed rocks and shells in a light brine, then white flowers, lime and green apple aromas and a yeasty-leesy note. The wine is bone dry with high acidity and modest alcohol — fresh, crisp and lively. Perfect.
Tasted March 18, 2016 • LEXCELLENT WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation