Three Chardonnays and a range of aromatic whites

"... three Chardonnays from Canada and Australia, and five more aromatic wines: Garganega, Riesling, Viognier, Torrontés and Muscat ..."

available in Ontario after March 18, 2017

After reporting on seven Sauvignon Blancs from this Vintages release in another article, I still have eight more white wines to recommend. The array starts with three excellent Chardonnays: from 2027 Cellars and Cave Spring Cellars in Niagara, and from Juniper Estate of Margaret River in Australia.

Then we start ramping up the aromatics, with an elegant Soave from Pieropan, followed by the latest vintage of Vineland Estates’ Elevation St. Urban’s Vineyard Riesling. We end with three wines at the upper end aromatically: a Viognier-based Côtes du Rhône from E. Guigal, a Torrontés from Alamos, and a non-vintage Yellow Muscat from Puklus.

Highly aromatic wines can be intimidating to pair with food, and the lowest common denominator recommendation is always “spicy Thai”. But really, lots of pairings work if you experiment, and with more aggressive aromas and flavours in either the wine or the food, it can be hit or miss, with the unexpected sometimes working brilliantly. And the good news is that none of these wines is so expensive that you can’t just close a bottle that doesn’t work, put it in the fridge for later, and open another. Some of the best pairings you’ll find are a matter of luck. Just embrace the process!


2027 WISMER VINEYARD FOX CROFT BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2014, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment

Vintages #421362 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
The wine is a lighter straw colour with glints of yellow. Some obvious oak spice and hints of resin introduce aromas of lemon, yellow apple and toast, with a slightly leesy note. It is dry, with bright acidity that keeps the fruit on the palate fresh and vibrant, contrasting nicely with a creamy richness that suggests some lees stirring, and focuses the finish into a crisp and stony firmness. Elegant and refined. Delicious now, but with even more potential from several years of cellaring to settle and integrate the oak influence. Niagara acidity wins the day for sure.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • 2027 CELLARS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


CAVE SPRING CELLARS ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY 2014, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment

Vintages #256552 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
Also released November 26, 2016. The 2014 edition of this wine is hard-pressed to meet the high expectations set by the excellent 2013, although it comes close, with a rather different personality. The wine is straw-yellow in colour. There is a light herbal-fennel element on the nose, with green apple and lemon fruit and a faint scent of white flowers. The wine is bone-dry, with fresh acidity balanced by a little creamy texture on the palate. The barrel notes are subtle, suggesting mostly older oak, with just a hint of resin. Fruit is somewhat riper on the palate, and the finish is drying, tart and mineral. While I am maintaining my rating of 89, this vintage may not have the broader appeal of the 2013 — but I appreciate the precise, focused nature of the wine.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • CAVE SPRING CELLARS LTD., (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


JUNIPER ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2014, Margaret River, Western Australia

Vintages #481044 • $34.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
The wine is a lighter straw colour. The nose is slightly reductive with a hint of smoke and mineral, then white flowers, lemon, yellow apple and melon with light vanilla and resin notes. The palate is dry, with crisp acidity, moderate alcohol with some creamy richness. The fruit is ripe yet full of life and freshness, with a little spice and resin, and a lingering stony-mineral finish. Bright, vibrant with depth.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • VINEXX (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #946848 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100
This Soave Classico is 85% Graganega and 15% Trebbiano di Soave (Verdicchio). It is a lighter straw-yellow in colour, with a pleasantly aromatic nose suggesting apple blossoms and red apples, lemons and white peaches. Crisp acidity keeps the palate fresh and clean, and the fruit plays brightly on the palate — simple, delicate and very pleasant.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • VON TERRA ENTERPRISES LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #38117 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
The elevation Riesling is sourced from Vineland's St. Urban Vineyard, originally planted between 1979 and 1981. The wine is watery white, with glints of straw. Vivid aromas of red apple, lemon, lime, pear and white peach fruit are graced by apple blossoms. The wine is medium-dry, with vibrant acidity, softened by the residual sugar that gives the delicate fruit on the palate a subtle richness. Let the wine sit on your tongue, swallow, and enjoy the lingering fruit. I love the fact that there is no early petrol here, just the ethereal purity of the fruit from the vineyard.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • VINELAND ESTATE WINES LTD., (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #290296 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
This Southern Rhône white is 65% Viognier, with 15% Roussanne, 8% each of Marsanne and Clairette, and 2% each of Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc. The wine is straw-yellow, quite aromatic with bright aromas of peach blossoms and peaches, apricots, red apples and Meyer lemon. The wine is dry, with enough firm acidity underlying the ripe, luscious and slightly honeyed palate that the wine has liveliness and good structure. Very attractive.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • VINEXX (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #81539 • $14.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100
Torrontés has become Argentina's most widely planted white grape variety, and it thrives in Salta, the region from which this wine is sourced. While Salta is in the northwest corner of the country, much closer to the equator than Mendoza, the vineyards are relatively high in the Andes, meaning that the sun-filled climate is also relatively cool, allowing for good levels of acidity. The nose is very aromatic, with notes of slightly soapy rosewater and peach blossoms, then ripe peach, melon, perfumed red apple and lemon. Surprisingly fresh acidity balances the palate, where a hint of residual sweetness subsumes into a juicy richness, and the light soapy character on the nose disappears as the pleasant, ripe fruit dominates. Aromatic, crisp and tangy. A fine value.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • E&J GALLO WINERY CANADA LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #46508 • $16.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
This is an aromatic wine made from Yellow Muscat. Complex but delicate peach blossom, ripe peach, apricot and grapey Muscat notes are backed by aromas of Meyer lemon and Golden Delicious apples. The wine is medium-dry, but the bright acidity balances and constrains the sweetness, adding a honeyed richness to the palate. The fruit is ripe and juicy, but the finish dries a little as the acidity lingers. A compelling, finely-etched, aromatic wine.
Tasted 3/14/2017 • KARL K KOVACS AGENCIES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


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