available in Ontario from February 3, 2018
Our previous review article of sparkling and white wines featured diversity due to different grape varieties. This article features eight white wines from just three varieties — Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay — but the diversity and interest come from their origins and winemaking styles.
The two Rieslings provide a dramatic contrast in both structure and flavour profile. The first is a bone-dry and rather austere Australian, the 2016 Pewsey Vale Single Vineyard Estate Riesling from the Eden Valley, while the second is a sweetish Kabinett level wine from the Pfalz, the 2015 Darting Düerkheimer Hochbenn Riesling Kabinett.
The three Sauvignon Blancs range widely in style as well, from the subtle, stony 2015 André Dezat et Fils Pouilly-Fumé, through the rather reserved and nuanced 2016 Framingham Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough that seems to be representing a bit of shift in style, and ending with the full-bore pungency of a more mainstream New Zealand savvy, the 2016 Middle-Earth Sauvignon Blanc from Nelson.
Finally the three Chardonnays are quite distinctive, beginning with a slightly generous Chablis from a warm vintage, the 2015 J. Moreau & Fils Chablis, moving to a balanced but more aromatic and riper-fruited wine from Roussillon, the 2016 Novellum Chardonnay, and ending up in Sonoma County, with the 2016 Rodney Strong Chardonnay that displays California ripeness and oak treatment but in a surprisingly constrained and balanced package.
As always, enjoy the diversity!
PEWSEY VALE SINGLE VINEYARD ESTATE RIESLING 2016, Eden Valley, South Australia
Vintages #686600 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100A must buy for those who love dry Rieslings. The nose is dense, stony and slightly earthy, with a lime-and-lemon edge, and an airy, lightly floral lift. You can guess at future bottle evolution, but for now it's a mineral undertone. Add some tart green apple to the limey palate, but it's really all about the bone-dry and firm acidic structure, that emphasizes the wine's stony-mineral essence. Linear, direct, focused — a delicious, savoury wine. Buy a case!
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • B AND W WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
DARTING DÜERKHEIMER HOCHBENN RIESLING KABINETT 2015, Prädikatswein
Vintages #523944 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100The eloquent nose suggests perfumed red apples and honey, backed by earthy wet stones, and edged by a spray of white flowers. At the sweeter end of medium-dry, the palate is framed by its honeyed nature, lightly waxy, with ethereal floral and red apple tones taking on a riper peach and apricot character. Acidity firms the palate and concentrates nicely on the finish. A very pleasant, sweeter Kabinett.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • H.H.D. IMPORTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
ANDRÉ DEZAT ET FILS POUILLY FUMÉ AC 2015
Vintages #527226 • $26.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100This is a nuanced Pouilly Fumé, with flinty-smoky aromas, a gentle breadth that suggests wet stones, and a hint of dried herbs, all surrounding an understated lemon and white grapefruit essence. The wine is bone-dry, with vivid acidity that focuses the light lemony-grapefruit palate. Despite the ripe vintage, the wine maintains its direct, linear and stony-mineral old world character. Compelling!
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • BRAND NEW DAY WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
FRAMINGHAM SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #606848 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This wine takes us to the more nuanced side of Marlborough, closer to the Loire heritage of the grape. The nose has a spacious depth, with delicate notes of dried herbs, wet stones and petrichor, with a lemony backdrop. A seam of lemon-grapefruit jumps forward on the palate, and the finish lingers with salty white grapefruit. I love this style that seems to be emerging from Marlborough, and highly recommend this example.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
MIDDLE-EARTH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016, Nelson, South Island
Vintages #391987 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is a more mainstream New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc — this time not from Marlborough but from Nelson, to the northwest. You'll find a rather pungent herbal-vegetal nose, with an underlying core of grapefruit that manages to show itself as the glass warms. The herbal and grassy elements step back on the palate, allowing the juicy white grapefruit and green apple to shine, driven by the crisp acidity that focuses the finish into a zesty grapefruit essence edged by wet stones. Full of life and flavour, and very smartly priced.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • THOMPSON VINTAGE TRADE LTD (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
J. MOREAU & FILS CHABLIS AC 2015
Vintages #466144 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is the third release of this wine, and my note from July of 2017 is still spot on: "... subtle notes of green herbs, lemon and green apple on the nose. The palate shows some leesy creaminess, but the warm 2015 vintage manifests itself both in a little more generosity and richness on the palate than might be typical, as well as with slightly reduced acidity. So while the wine has the focused and linear character of Chablis, it is very approachable in the shorter term, and is certainly a very good value."
Tasted Jan 23, 2018 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
NOVELLUM CHARDONNAY 2016, Roussillon
Vintages #390781 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This lovely, understated wine has nuanced aromatics that grow in the glass, suggesting white flowers, perfumed red apples and lemon zest. If there's wood, it's very subtle, and suggests breadth from process rather than flavour. Bright acids underpin the fruit on the palate, that has a gentle leesy richness. Riper peach and grapefruit notes emerge without suggesting over-ripeness, as though there might be Chardonnay Musqué in the blend. (I know that the 2014 spent time on Viognier lees, but couldn't confirm this for the 2016). Overall, a very satisfying wine: bright, fresh, yet with a subtle richness and breadth.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
RODNEY STRONG CHARDONNAY 2016, Sonoma County
Vintages #226936 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Here's a more traditional California Chardonnay that I can actually get behind. It's got the oak frame and ripe fruit that lovers of the genre will want, but it's all relatively constrained and nicely balanced. Hints of smoke and wet stones and a leesy note surround gentle lemon and apple fruit on the nose. Firm acidity frames the palate, so that the oaky resin and vanilla sweetness isn't cloyng, and the lemony fruit can linger with a freshness on the finish. Very good, and very fairly priced.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • MARK ANTHONY BRANDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review