available August 6, 2016
White wines can provide so much interest and diversity, and I can almost always find wines that intrigue. Here I’ve chosen eight examples that I strongly recommend, from Fiano, Semillon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Moschofilero and of course Chardonnay.
One of my highlights is a Fiano, which is one of Italy’s great white grape varieties: the 2014 Colli di Lapio Fianon di Avellino. My second selection is a Hunter Valley Semillon, the 2015 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon. Normally we see these wines after they have aged for seven to ten years, but this a youthful, simple but vibrant wine that is quite delicious for those of us who love high acidity. But given some significant bottle age, the wine will have the opportunity to evolve into a different animal altogether, as with the example reviewed here.
The next three examples are more aromatic wines: the 2015 Thorn-Clarke Eden Trail Riesling, from the Eden Valley in South Australia, the 2015 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough, and the 2015 Troupis Moschofilero, from Mantinia in the Peloponnese. I end with three very different expressions of Chardonnay: a big, ripe but still vibrant wine from Santa Barbara County in California, the 2012 Sanford Chardonnay, a rather crisper Chardonnay from Eden Valley in South Australia, the 2014 Hill-Smith Estate Chardonnay, and finally a more aromatic Chardonnay from the Côtes Catalanes in southern France that includes a small amount of Viognier, the 2014 Domaine LaFage Cadireta Blanc.
2014 COLLI DI LAPIO FIANO DI AVELLINO DOCG
Vintages #455253 • $30.95 • 750ml. • 90/100Fiano is one of Italy's great white wine varieties, and Fiano di Avellino is one of its greatest expressions. Aromas of lemon and apricot fruit, green herbs and white flowers are underscored by stony minerality. The wine is bone dry, with crisp acidity countered by a lightly creamy palate, that supports surprisingly rich, ripe fruit. But while the fruit is ripe, there is still a vibrant core that maintains a stony minerality through the long finish. This is a fine Fiano that is drinking beautifully now, but will evolve gracefully in the cellar for many years.
Tasted July 26, 2016 • EX-CELLARS WINE SERVICES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 MCWILLIAM'S MOUNT PLEASANT ELIZABETH SEMILLON, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Vintages #724492 • $15.75 • 750ml. • 89/100This fits the profile of very young Hunter Valley Semillon. It's light straw in colour, with fresh, slightly "green" aromas of lemon-lime, green apples and drying grass. The wine is bone dry, with a fresh acidic core, and a lemony palate that extends into a lengthy finish. In other words, it's a pleasant, light wine, highly drinkable now. But what intrigues me is what just might happen if it is given a chance to age. I will be buying five or six bottles at this amazing price, drinking one or two to fix the youthful profile in my mind, and then will re-try the next bottle after another five years. I would like to save at least one bottle for a decade. Will the Hunter Valley Semillon magic happen? It's certainly worth a try.
Tasted Aug 2, 2016 • E&J GALLO WINERY CANADA LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 THORN-CLARKE EDEN TRAIL RIESLING, Eden Valley, South Australia
Vintages #457242 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The nose of lemon-lime, white flowers, a hint of crisp red apples and stony minerality foretells the structure. It's dry, with high acidity, very modest alcohol and just a little generosity from a minim of hidden residual sugar. The drying, mineral finish loses all the fruit except for a lingering lemon-infused stoniness. This is a fine entry-level Riesling from the Eden Valley that can give some pleasure in the short term, but should actually age well for at least five to ten years. A fine value.
Tasted Aug 2, 2016 • S. SCHIRALLI AGENCIES LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 WITHER HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #919514 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The wine is watery white, with hints of straw. The nose is fresh and crisp, suggesting grapefruit, green apples and melon, with notes of grass and bell pepper. High acidity hides a touch of residual sugar, keeping the perception of the wine as being quite dry. The palate seems a little richer and riper than the nose suggests — still grapefruit-inflected, but the melon is riper and there's a suggestion of pineapple, while the grassy notes recede — and finishes with lingering citrus and minerality. Very pleasant and a good value.
Tasted July 26, 2016 • SELECT WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 TROUPIS MOSCHOFILERO, PDO Mantinia
Vintages #463422 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a good, easy drinking and charming wine from the aromatic grape Moschofilero. The wine is very light straw, with glints of gold. Pretty, delicate peach and apple blossom aromas accompany deeper Meyer lemon and honeydew melon aromas. The wine is fully dry, with brisk acidity and just a trifle more weight than the modest alcohol suggests. The palate is bright and fresh, and the fruit and floral notes lead into a lengthy mineral-tinged finish. Quite elegant, and an excellent value.
Tasted July 26, 2016 • VICTORY WINE & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2012 SANFORD CHARDONNAY, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County
Vintages #956003 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a full-bodied, ripe but balanced Chardonnay from the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County. The wine is medium yellow, with aromas suggesting lemon, ripe apple and pineapple fruit, white flowers, and oak-derived notes such as vanilla and toasted hazelnuts. The wine is dry, with firm acidity and elevated alcohol, leading to a full body. The palate is rich and creamy, and while the oak is still rather obvious (and time should help with that), the seam of acidity carries it quite well. A very good example of California Chardonnay.
Tasted July 26, 2016 • MONDIA ALLIANCE CANADA INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 HILL-SMITH ESTATE CHARDONNAY, Eden Valley, South Australia
Vintages #361584 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is an elegant Chardonnay from the Eden Valley. Smoky-flinty notes introduce crisp lemon, apple and white peach aromas, with a modest vanilla-oak spice undernote. The wine is bone dry, with a creamy texture that softens the crisp acidity, and carries the lemony fruit into a persistent, mineral-tinged finish. A very good value.
Tasted July 26, 2016 • B AND W WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 DOMAINE LAFAGE CADIRETA BLANC, IGP Côtes Catalanes
Vintages #448472 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is an interesting Chardonnay from the Côtes Catalanes that is supplemented by a small amount of Viognier. The impact of the Viognier is noted by an immediate floral and peach lift over a deeper lemon and apple frame, backed by hints of vanilla. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity and a rich and creamy palate that belies the moderate alcohol. Peach and apple blossoms sit lightly on the lemon-apple palate, and a bitter almond note adds interest to the finish. Very much worth a WineDiscovery exploration.
Tasted July 26, 2016 • GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation