available in Ontario from July 22, 2017
With almost every Vintages release I am able to find a great array of white table wines that are both very good and attractively priced. And if you follow these reviews, you will know how much variety, interest and pure drinkability that white wines can provide us.
This release continues that trend. The diversity is on point, with the thirteen wines representing eight varieties, and nine wine regions in six countries. Value is high as well. I have awarded five of the wines scores of 90 or 91 points — quite exceptional in my judgement. The prices are very compelling too: seven are priced under $20, four more between $20 and $24, and the remaining two are about $35.
For those still focused on Chardonnay with the i4C event just ending, the list begins with four more Chardonnays to enjoy from Chablis, Ontario, the Okanagan and Mâcon:
- 2014 Sylvain Mosnier Beauroy Chablis 1er Cru AC
- 2015 Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench
- 2014 Quails’ Gate Chardonnay BC, VQA Okanagan Valley
- 2015 Domaine Des Tourterelles, Mâcon Villages AC
A terrific Vouvray presents an interesting comparison point with two excellent Ontario Rieslings — brilliant acidity in all cases providing the starting point:
- 2015 Bernard Fouquet Le Petit Clos Dry Vouvray Domaine des Aubuisières AC
- 2016 Norman Hardie Riesling VQA Ontario
- 2013 Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling VQA Vinemount Ridge
Two Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs provide a lot of interest, with the first, in particular, straying a little from the regional benchmark style.
- 2015 Momo Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, South Island
- 2015 Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island
The final four wines provide a delightful world tour of less well-known grapes and regions:
- 2015 Rabl Grüner Veltliner DAC Kamptal
- 2015 Les Vignes De Bila-Haut Côtes Du Roussillon Blanc AC
- 2015 Anselmo Mendes Passaros Vinho Verde DOC
- 2015 Janare Falanghina Del Sannio DOP
SYLVAIN MOSNIER BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU AC 2014
Vintages #488817 • $34.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100I love the general character of Chablis from the cooler 2014 vintage, and this is a fine example. The lightly smoky-flinty, lemon and green apple nose follows through into the focused palate — all precise, stony minerality, with a modest leesy depth and texture that edges the wine away from complete austerity. A very good Beauroy indeed.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • MIH SELECTIONS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment
Vintages #256552 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Bright lemon and green apple fruit, a sprinkle of green herbs, and a hint of barrel spice define the nose. The palate is crisp and clean, there is a light, leesy note supporting the fruit, and the oak spice is subtle and integrated. Very good, focused Chardonnay from the Beamsville Bench. A great value.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • CAVE SPRING CELLARS LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
QUAILS' GATE CHARDONNAY 2014, BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Vintages #377770 • $23.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This wine has been released several times through Vintages, the last in March, 2017. While a first bottle was flawed, with reductive and onion skin elements, the second bottle was in line with my previous note here. The wine "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 June 30, 2017 • HOBBS & COMPANY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE DES TOURTERELLES MACON VILLAGES AC 2015
Vintages #489799 • $16.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100This is a pleasant Macon Villages: straw-yellow in colour, with crisp lemon, red apple and melon fruit on the nose. It is dry, balanced, with bright acidity, some fleshy weight (although oak is not a factor), and a brisk, acid-driven and stony finish. A tremendous value indeed.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • NOSH FOOD & WINE CONSULTANCY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
BERNARD FOUQUET LE PETIT CLOS DRY VOUVRAY 2015, Domaine des Aubuisières, AC
Vintages #489468 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100This is a lively, vivacious Vouvray, lightly floral, with honeyed lemon, yellow apple and white peach notes on the nose. Vivid acidity defines the palate, hiding any possible residual sugar — so presenting the wine as fully dry — and giving the fruit a firm, green apple character. Saline minerality underlies it all, and carries into a lengthy, citrus finish. Wonderful now, this certainly has the acidity and substance to age for another five or more years. Highly recommended.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • TERRA FINE WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
NORMAN HARDIE RIESLING 2016, VQA Ontario
Vintages #131169 • $20.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is a minty, herbal and stony-mineral Riesling, with just a suggestion of lemon-apple fruit on the nose. Vibrant acidity hides significant residual sugar, cleaning and drying the mid-palate, and focusing into a stony, saline finish. It is startlingly non-fruity and savoury, and very Hardiesque — that's a good thing, but perhaps a bit of a challenge.
Tasted July 18, 2017 • HARDIE WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING 2013, VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment
Vintages #241182 • $35.20 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100The wine is straw-yellow in colour. The nose is subdued and almost neutral at this tasting, with an underlying nuance of Riesling rubber-mineral, and hints of white flowers, apple and lemon-lime. The wine is off-dry, with high, zesty acidity, low alcohol and precise lemon and apple fruit. The palate is focused, linear and direct, with the residual sugar portraying itself as a juicy acidity rather than sweetness, and the finish dries into a citrussy, stony minerality. There is an interesting and significant change from my previous tasting for the November 2016 Vintages release of this wine about nine months ago, where I noted much brighter and forward fruit on the nose and palate. The wine is now about structure and minerality — perhaps the result of some bottle evolution, or perhaps just a phase, but in any event fascinating.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • STRATUS VINEYARDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MOMO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #9167 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100A smoky-reductive attack initially hides a layer of vegetal, grassy aromas, with lemon, white grapefruit and green apple underneath. The palate is firm and bone-dry, with high acidity driving the vibrant fruit, a pleasant savoury element underlying it all, and emerging as a light herbal-mint note towards the finish. By no means mainstream Marlborough, but that just adds to the interest. A very compelling value from the excellent Seresin Estate.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • DIONYSUS WINES & SPIRITS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
VAVASOUR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015, Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #713958 • $23.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Bright lemon and green apple on the nose, with grassy, earthy and smoky undertones. More grapefruit on the palate, lightly herbal, with crisp, mouth-watering acidity that keeps the palate lively and fresh, and lingers on the finish as drying, mineral-tinged citrus. Very pleasant.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • SELECT WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
RABL GRÜNER VELTLINER 2015, DAC Kamptal
Vintages #295709 • $14.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Fairly neutral on the nose, with hints of lemon, yellow apple, green herbs and an earthy undertone. Dry, with bright acidity and a lighter body, the palate is clean and lively with a contrasting creamy richness. The lemon and apple fruit linger into the stony, mineral finish. A lovely little wine and a very fine value.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • THOMPSON VINTAGE TRADE LTD (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC AC 2015
Vintages #485656 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Michel Chapoutier's Bila-Haut Blanc is a blend based on Grenache Blanc, with Grenache Gris and Macabeu. Subtle aromas suggest white flowers, lemon, ripe apple and white peach. The wine is dry, with nicely balanced acidity and simple, direct fruit. There is no oak, and the freshness suggests a moderately early harvest. A very good value, giving lots of pleasure.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
ANSELMO MENDES PASSAROS VINHO VERDE DOC 2015
Vintages #190546 • $13.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100From the excellent producer Anselmo Mendes, this Alvarinho blend has 20% Trajadura that softens the Alvarinho just a little. Fresh apple, lemon zest, yellow melon and peach on the nose, with a floral, peach blossom grace note. Crisp, dry, with juicy fruit on the palate, it is simple, direct and full of life — fully ready to drink. An excellent quality Vinho Verde (no CO2 here for sure), at a very competitive price.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • TERROIR WINE IMPORTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
JANARE FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO DOP 2015
Vintages #387647 • $16.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Falanghina is Campania's third major white grape, after Fiano and Greco, and easily the most approachable. This example has a cheerfully floral nose, with lemon, green apple and melon fruit, and a savoury, fresh herb note. Nicely balanced, the fresh acidity contrasts with the fruit that has a more generous character on the palate — the citrus taking on a grapefruit tone and adding a suggestion of peach towards the finish. A fine value.
Tasted June 30, 2017 • THE VINE/ROBERT GROH AGENCY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation