available in Ontario October 29, 2016
I love to beat the drum for white wine, but today I’m just going to let the wines speak for themselves. I present an interesting variety of grapes and expressions, beginning with a truly excellent wine, but in all cases providing interest and real drinkability.
The lead wine is the 2013 Weinbach Cuvée Laurence Gewurztraminer from Alsace. To be sure this comes at a high price, but it is a great opportunity to find out how beautiful and compelling “Gewurz” can be — a wine for contemplation and enjoyment.
The rest of the roster is filled out by a Fiano from Campania, two Sauvignon Blancs (Sancerre and New Zealand), two Rieslings from Niagara, four Chardonnays (from Chablis, Niagara, the Mâcon and interestingly, Alto Adige), an Alvarinho from Portugal, and a Roditis-Sauvignon Blanc blend from Macedonia. Great values, and full-on enjoyment!
2013 WEINBACH CUVÉE LAURENCE GEWURZTRAMINER, AC Alsace
Vintages #581975 • $64.00 • 750ml. • 92/100What a brilliant wine! It is medium yellow in hue, highly aromatic, with aromas suggesting roses and peach blossoms, peach, apricot, melon, apple and lemon fruit, with toasted almonds, ginger, dry herbs and stony minerality — so complex and vibrant. The wine is off-dry, with brisk acidity, balanced alcohol and a rich, slightly creamy palate that takes on a honeyed character. The fruit replays over and over, with just a little heat building on the mid-palate as the peach, apricot and nutty flavours intensify and the acidity firms and extends into a mineral-driven finish. This is an exceptional expression of Alsatian Gewurztraminer.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • LIFFORD WINE & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 MASTROBERARDINO FIANO DI AVELLINO DOCG
Vintages #323998 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 90/100Note: the wine listed for release was the Mastroberardino Radici Fiano, but the wine we tasted, the picture provided, and price quoted, are all for the basic Fiano di Avelino, which is listed and reviewed here. Mastroberardino is one of Campania's iconic producers, and I always watch for their Fiano and Greco wines. This Fiano is straw-yellow in hue. Lightly floral, with a core of lemon, apple and pear fruit, the apple note becomes more perfumed and ripe as the wine warms, adding a suggestion of white peach as well. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, and a medium body. On the palate a green herbal undertone leads the core of fruit, and notes of blanched almonds and a firm minerality well up towards the finish. Pleasant now, the acidity suggests that this wine can be aged for at least three to five years (and likely more), as good Fiano can be.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE AC
Vintages #65573 • $26.95 • 750ml. • 90/100Here is another fine Sancerre from Jean-Max Roger. His Caillottes brand refers to the stones on the surface of the clay-limestone vineyards near the village of Bué. The wine is light straw-yellow in colour. The nose is a little reticent, with stony, herbal, lime and green apple notes, and then stony again ... not quite neutral, but expressing a depth of minerality that is startling. The wine is bone-dry, with brisk acidity and moderate alcohol. On the palate, a slight creaminess leads the attack, transforming as the acidity and minerality take over, and the finish dries and lingers. An excellent example of Sancerre.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 STONELEIGH LATITUDE SAUVIGNON BLANC, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #324228 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 89/100Stoneleigh's wines are always worth trying, and this is no exception. The wine is light straw in colour, with a rather strident and reductive nose — slightly sweaty, grassy and herbal, suggesting jalopena pepper and a little grapefruit underneath — almost an exaggeration of the style. But the palate cleans up nicely. The wine is dry, with brisk acidity and balanced alcohol. The stridency dissipates, as the herbal, pepper and grassy notes mellow, and are subsumed by the grapefruit element that dominates towards the finish, and lingers with stony minerality. Dynamic and fascinating.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • CORBY SPIRIT AND WINE LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #183491 • $23.75 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a re-release from June 2016, and I'm just going to repeat my note and score from that time — it's spot on. "Hidden Bench continues on its path of consistent and low-key excellence with the latest edition of its Estate Riesling. Aromas and flavours of crisp, fresh red apple, lime and lemon fruit are backed by a nuance of rubber-petrol. The wine tips over to off-dry, but its high acidity keeps the palate both fresh and elegant, and carries into a lingering lemon, apple and mineral finish. This is one of the very best off-dry-but-crisp Niagara Rieslings that I've tasted recently — pitch-perfect and charming."
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • MARK ANTHONY BRANDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #80234 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88/100I think that with this vintage, the Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling returns to good form. The wine is light straw in colour, with a lively nose suggesting apple blossoms, perfumed red apples, lemon, lime and just a hint of rubbery minerality. The wine is decidedly off-dry, but the high acidity masks some of the sweetness, ermerging as a richness on the attack. But the crisp, fresh acidity gathers force over the mid-palate, and lingers on the zingy, mineral finish. This is a very nice expression of the sweet-tart style of Niagara Riesling.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • FEATHERSTONE WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 DOMAINE SÉGUINOT-BORDET CHABLIS AC
Vintages #289371 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100This is an interesting expression of basic Chablis. The nose is fairly neutral, with some green apple and lime notes, and then a deeper chalky minerality. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, modest alcohol and a medium body — surprisingly creamy, with the acids nicely balanced by that texture. Lemon, lime and green apple fruit wash over the palate, while the acidity and stony minerality punch through on the finish, with a lingering tart lime-and-stone aftertaste. Both accessable and rewarding.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • THE CASE FOR WINE (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #286278 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine is light yellow in the glass, and slightly smoky and reductive on the nose, hiding yellow apple and lemon fruit, and a suggestion of vanilla and oak spice. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity that brings the lemon, apple and melon fruit to the fore. A subtle richness balances that acidity on the mid-palate, then wanes on the finish, which dries with tart lemon and stony minerality. Quite a complex experience, and as always a great value from Flat Rock.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • FLAT ROCK CELLARS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 MALLORY & BENJAMIN TALMARD MÂCON-UCHIZY AC
Vintages #733956 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a simple basic Macon. The wine is light yellow, with aromas of crisp lemon and green apple fruit, with subtle green melon and white peach notes following. The wine is bone-dry, with brisk acidity, balanced alcohol and lots of freshness on the palate. The fruit repeats on the palate, and the finish is lengthy, with the green fruit, acid and a pleasant drying stoniness lingering. A fine value.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • STEN O. KJELLBERG (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 ST. PAULS CHARDONNAY, DOC Südtirol/Alto Adige
Vintages #455170 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a Chardonnay from Südtirol/Alto Adige, in northern Italy. The wine is light straw, with fresh, clean green apple and lemon fruit on the nose. It is dry and crisp, with balanced alcohol, and some richness on the palate that nicely balances the brisk acidity. Hints of vanilla and resin lend a sense of breadth that suggests some aging in older oak, while pleasant green apple and lemon fruit with a hint of herbal licorice wash the palate, and linger pleasantly on the finish. Excellent value.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 NORTICO ALVARINHO, Vinho Regional Minho
Vintages #471300 • $13.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a simple, easy-drinking Alvarinho from Minho. The wine is straw-yellow, with notes of white peach, lemon, apple, and a hint of green herbs. The wine is dry, with fresh acidity and modest alcohol, showing mostly peach and apple fruit, with a little lemon zest on the palate, and a pleasant, crisp finish. Fine value.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • TERRA FIRMA WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 KIR-YIANNI ESTATE WHITE
Vintages #464511 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is an interesting blend of 50% Roditis and 50% Sauvignon Blanc from PGI Florina in Macedonia. The wine is light straw with glints of yellow. Lemon, apple and peach fruit aromas are complemented by green herbs and grass, with a smoky-reductive note. The wine is dry, with fresh acidity, balanced alcohol and medium body — fresh, clean and lively. An excellent selection for WineDiscovery.
Tasted Sep 23, 2016 • THE KOLONAKI GROUP INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation