available from August 20, 2016
An excellent and well-priced Grand Cru Champagne along with a local sparkling wine kick off this edition of the WineDiscovery buyers guide. The Champagne is the non-vintage Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Réserve Brut from Guy Charlemagne, while the local sparkler is the 2009 vintage of the always interesting Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling, Méthode Traditionnelle.
I always look forward to tasting new wines from Chablis, and the two featured here are fine examples. These are the 2014 Jean Collet & Fils Montée de Tonnerre Chablis 1er Cru, and the 2014 Jean-Marc Brocard Domaine Sainte Claire Chablis. Ontario is well-represented by the excellent 2014 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay, VQA Prince Edward County, while the final Chardonnay is a very good Montagny, the 2014 André Goichot Les Guignottes.
The final two white wines are from Italy: a fine 2014 Greco di Tufo from Mastroberardino, and a pretty, fresh Soave, the 2014 La Cappuccina.
GUY CHARLEMAGNE BLANC DE BLANCS GRAND CRU RÉSERVE BRUT CHAMPAGNE AC
Vintages #143263 • $61.95 • 750ml. • 92/100This is a Grand Cru blanc de blancs (100% Chardonnay) from Le Mesnil sur Oger and Oger Côte des Blancs. The wine is a youthful light straw-yellow. Vibrant lemon, green and yellow apple fruit are softened by aromas of brioche, light toast, blanched almonds and white chocolate. Crisp acidity balances a richer texture on the palate, still with tart fruit but also some hints of bruising on the apple. Limestone minerality becomes apparent on the focused finish. A very good Champagne, and an excellent value for a fine Grand Cru.
Tasted August 16, 2016 • GROUPE SOLEIL (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FLAT ROCK CELLARS RIDDLED SPARKLING 2009, Méthode Traditionnelle, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Vintages #383315 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 88/100Very light yellow, with a foamy mousse, the nose suggests lemon, tart green apple fruit and "green" notes — green herbs and a spearmint character. There is a hint of residual sugar that is well hidden by very firm acidity, and the palate is lemony-fresh and lively. Slightly rustic, simple and direct — an attitude embodied by its pragmatic crown cap closure.
Tasted August 16, 2016 • FLAT ROCK CELLARS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
JEAN COLLET & FILS MONTÉE DE TONNERRE CHABLIS 1ER CRU AC 2014
Vintages #405720 • $37.95 • 750ml. • 92/100This is an excellent premier cru Chablis from the Montée de Tonnerre vineyard just south-east of the Grand Crus. The nose suggests stony, chalky lemon-lime and green apples, with a hint of leesy toast. While the nose is slim and direct, there is a resonance that suggests older barrels. The palate is driven by the high acidity and firm minerality — the citrus and apple fruit are very much an undertone, and the long, stony finish has a limey tang. Very elegant and focused, with great typicity.
Tasted August 9, 2016 • MIH SELECTIONS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
JEAN-MARC BROCARD DOMAINE SAINTE CLAIRE CHABLIS AC 2014
Vintages #356634 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a terrific, focused, stony-mineral Chablis that continues to astound me — over three tastings it has been consistent, startlingly direct, taut, and yet with just enough generosity for elegance without overbearing austerity. With white flowers, lemon, green apple, flint, chalk and brine on the nose, the high acidity that drives the palate is balanced by a yoghurt and cheese rind texture, while stony minerality dominates the finish. This is one of the best base Chablis to come through Vintages in the past year.
Tasted August 9, 2016 • PREVEDELLO AND MATHEWS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014, VQA Prince Edward County
Vintages #148866 • $29.00 • 750ml. • 90/100I am so happy to see the changes at Closson Chase. The wines are becoming more vibrant, with oak treatment more refined and gentle, allowing their Prince Edward County terroir (rather than the barrel program) to tell its story. The 2014 Chardonnay is medium straw-yellow, with obvious (but not strident) oaky resin and vanilla notes on the attack, but lemon and yellow apple fruit shining through. The structure is nicely balanced, with crisp acidity, modest alcohol and some creamy richness. A worthy step towards elegance and directness, and I hope that the success of this wine will encourage further steps to follow. Very good indeed.
Tasted August 9, 2016 • CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARDS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
ANDRÉ GOICHOT LES GUIGNOTTES MONTAGNY AC 2014
Vintages #455139 • $26.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a nicely structured and approachable Montagny. The wine is medium yellow, with aromas suggesting yellow apples, lemon and white flowers, and lightly resinous oak and vanilla. The wine is dry, with moderate alcohol, brisk acidity and some lactic creaminess. The resinous oak recedes on the palate, leaving vanilla and fruit. A pleasant, ripe Chardonnay with lots of life and acidity.
Tasted August 9, 2016 • BAYVIEW PROFESSIONAL SERVICES INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MASTROBERARDINO GRECO DI TUFO DOCG 2014
Vintages #568105 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 90/100Mastroberardino is one of the iconic producers from Campania who spearheaded the revival and promotion of the great white grapes of Campania: Fiano and Greco. This youthful Greco di Tufo is lightly floral, with lemon, yellow melon and white peach aromas, and undertones of blanched almonds and white stones. The wine is bone dry, crisp, vibrant, mineral-tinged and stony — just beginning its potential life. Drink now for immediate pleasure, but squirrel some bottles away and observe the joys of Greco's evolution over time.
Tasted August 9, 2016 • DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LA CAPPUCCINA SOAVE DOC 2014
Vintages #81489 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a crisp and pretty Soave showing light straw that glints of old gold, with aromas of white flowers, lemons, green apples, and honeydew melon. It reads as dry, with very modest residual sugar well masked by firm acidity, and the very modest alcohol perfectly matches the light, firm frame. Fresh, vibrant and lightly mineral through the finish, this is truly a refreshing value!
Tasted August 9, 2016 • HALPERN ENTERPRISES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation