Available in Ontario after March 4, 2017
This is the second of two posts that recommend sparkling and white wines from this Vintages release in Ontario — the first focused on France, while this presents an eclectic selection of wines from the rest of the world. Both of the great-value sparkling wines are produced using the traditional method: the first is a Riesling from Tawse in Ontario, and the second is a Pinot Noir-based wine from South Africa’s Graham Beck.
Seven white table wines include an Austrian Grüner Veltliner from Weingut Loimer, a British Columbian Chardonnay from Quails’ Gate, a Gavi di Gavi from Fontanafredda, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Waimea Estates’ Spinyback label, a South African Chenin Blanc from Vinum Africa, a Spanish Albariño from Paco & Lola, and a Sonoma County Chardonnay from Rodney Strong.
2014 TAWSE SPARK LIMESTONE RIDGE SPARKLING RIESLING, Traditional method, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment
Vintages #370361 • $20.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is the fourth release of the 2014 traditional method sparkling Riesling from Tawse, and it continues to show very well with some interesting Riesling character. It is a lighter straw colour. A slightly mineral-rubber attack is followed by waxy, honeyed, and lightly floral notes, and then a core of crisp lemon, green apple and honeydew fruit. The wine is off-dry, with high acidity that largely disguises the residual sugar, and very modest alcohol — an overall balance that keeps the palate fresh and bright, with a zingy, lingering, lemon-stony finish. What an excellent value!
Tasted 17-Feb-2017 • TAWSE WINERY INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
GRAHAM BECK BRUT PINOT NOIR/CHARDONNAY SPARKLING, Méthode cap classique, WO Western Cape, South Africa
Vintages #593483 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Méthode Cap Classique — South Africa's name for traditional method sparkling wine — is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wine is medium straw, with glints of old gold. Notes of white flowers, dried honey, beeswax and light toast surround a core of lemon and yellow apple fruit. It is dry, with bright acidity and a gentle, harmonious palate: some richness balances firm, crisp fruit, with a stone-tinged underpinning and a drying, salty finish. A very good release of this non-vintage label.
Tasted 17-Feb-2017 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 LOIMER LANGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER, DAC Kamptal
Vintages #142240 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Grüner Veltliner is bright pale straw in colour. On the nose, light earthy and herbal notes underlie lemon, lime and green apple aromas. Bright acidity ensures that the wine reads as dry, with a whisper of residual sugar adding a light, honeyed richness to the palate. The fruit repeats, maintaining its fresh, tart character, with a wet-stone minerality on the drying finish. Quite compelling.
Tasted 2/28/2017 • LE SOMMELIER INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 QUAILS' GATE CHARDONNAY, BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Vintages #377770 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This wine was previously released in October of 2016, and continues to show well. It is made from estate fruit, 40% fermented in French oak with the balance in stainless steel. It is medium straw in colour. A light smoky note introduces aromas suggesting fresh apple and lemon fruit, white flowers, a hint of toast and an underlying stony minerality. The palate is dry, crisp and well-balanced — very approachable right now, but certainly worth cellaring over the short to medium term. I like the style, with just enough oak to generate a little heft behind the freshness. A very good value.
Tasted 2/28/2017 • HOBBS & COMPANY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 FONTANAFREDDA GAVI DI GAVI DOCG
Vintages #366948 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 88/100Gavi, made from Piedmont's premium white grape Cortese, is generally a crisp, mineral and floral wine, and Fontanafredda gives us a dependable example. The wine is pale straw-yellow, with fresh aromas of lemon, red apple, spring flowers and wet stone minerality. It is bone dry, with vivacious acidity and a lighter body. The fruit is lively and fresh on the palate, and the finish is crisp and stony. Very good value.
Tasted 21-Feb-17 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 SPINYBACK SAUVIGNON BLANC, Nelson, South Island
Vintages #694737 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine has a smoky, grassy, earthy nose, inflected with Jalapeno peppers, before white grapefruit, green apple and melon aromas burst to the fore. It is bone dry, with vivid acidity and balanced alcohol. Lime, grapefruit and apple flavours brighten the palate, with the earthy-vegetal notes receding, and the finish is crisp and mineral. A lively, mainstream New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Tasted 2/28/2017 • CHURCHILL CELLARS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 VINUM AFRICA CHENIN BLANC, WO Stellenbosch
Vintages #739995 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Chenin Blanc is sourced largely from old bush vines from the Helderberg Mountain region in Stellenbosch. It is medium yellow, with lightly smoky, honey and beeswax aromas backing a core of white flowers, lemons, pears and yellow apples. Firm acidity is balanced by a rich palate, where some riper apricot and peach notes add to the complexity, and lead into a harmonious finish with lingering fruit, dried honey and beeswax. 30% aged in mixed use Burgundian oak barrels, the remainder in stainless steel. Excellent value indeed.
Tasted 2/28/2017 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2015 PACO & LOLA ALBARIÑO, DO Rías Baixas
Vintages #350041 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a pleasant and rather typical Albariño from Rias Baixas: a lighter straw colour with glints of yellow, and bright, fresh aromas of honeysuckle and spring flowers, lemon, red apple, melon and white peach. It's dry, with lively acidity contrasting with some creamy richness, that softens the palate but doesn't remove the vibrant fruit and stony minerality. A very good value.
Tasted 21-Feb-17 • AZUREAU WINE AGENCY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 RODNEY STRONG CHALK HILL CHARDONNAY, Sonoma County
Vintages #275552 • $26.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Chardonnay is from the Russian River region of Sonoma County, and reflects the slightly cooler environment. Light smoky and leesy notes underpin ripe fruit on the nose, suggesting creamy lemon curd, ripe yellow apples, melon and pineapple, with vanilla and a hint of cedary resin. The wine is dry, with elevated alcohol that adds body and richness rather than heat, and enough acidity to provide balance and life. The fruit is rich and ripe on the palate, and the finish dries and slims down enough to offer a note of stony minerality. A balanced version of California Chardonnay, and one of the best values in that genre.
Tasted 2/28/2017 • MARK ANTHONY BRANDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation