available from September 3, 2016
My two featured sparkling wines are both local Niagara products. The first is Peller Estates’ well-known non-vintage Ice Cuvée Rosé Traditional Method Sparkling Wine, while the second is the very interesting 2014 Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Sparkling Riesling.
I’ve also chosen seven white wines: a very fine Spâtlese Mosel Riesling, three Chardonnays (a 1er Cru Chablis, a local Niagara offering, and a basic white Burgundy), an excellent Alsatian Pinot Gris, a local Niagara Gewürztraminer, and a Vinho Verde. The value quotient is very high in these selections, but I particularly point to the first two wines as exceptional price/value selections.
PELLER ESTATES ICE CUVÉE ROSÉ , Méthode Classique, Enhanced with a dosage of Icewine, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #113035 • $35.35 • 750ml. • 89.5/100The Ice Cuvée Rosé is 70% Pinot Noir, 28.5% Chardonnay, with the balance Gamay Noir. This light salmon-coloured traditional method sparkling wine is a bit of a Niagara classic, with its sweetening dosage after disgorgement composed of icewine. Pretty aromas of red apples and apple blossoms, lemon, strawberries and raspberries are supplemented by lightly bready and sweet brioche notes. The wine is clearly off-dry, but the fresh acidity and bright creamy mousse create a pleasant balance, with a vibrant and lengthy berry and lemon-tinged finish.
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • ANDREW PELLER LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
TAWSE SPARK LIMESTONE RIDGE SPARKLING RIESLING 2014, Traditional method, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #370361 • $20.20 • 750ml. • 89/100This traditional method sparkling wine shows lots of Riesling character. It is a lighter straw colour, with a slightly mineral-rubber note, waxy and honeyed, and a core of crisp lemon and green apple fruit. The wine is dry, with high acidity and very modest alcohol, a balance that keeps the palate fresh and bright, with a zingy, lingering, lemon-stony finish. What an excellent value!
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • TAWSE WINERY INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
WEINGUT VOLLENWEIDER WOLFER GOLDGRUBE GOLDKAPSEL RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2009, Mosel
Vintages #464727 • $27.95 • 375ml. • 91/100This is an opportunity to try a luxuriously ripe and sweet Mosel Riesling at a compelling price. The wine is light straw-yellow, with a rich honey and beeswax-infused nose that features a light petrol note overlaying a core of red apple and lemon. But the wine really blossoms on the palate: it is semi-sweet, with high acidity that balances the sweetness, and low alcohol that supports the luscious richness of the body. Honeyed red apples, lemons, tangerines, apricots, apricot jam, melons ... the complex flavours repeat and rearrange themselves as you allow the wine to wash over your palate, endlessly lingering. An amazing value indeed, and a wonderful treat.
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • JOHN HANNA & SONS LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE HAMELIN BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU AC 2014
Vintages #391805 • $32.95 • 750ml. • 91/100This Premier Cru Chablis from Domaine Hamelin is one of the two great values of the wines that I was able to taste from this release. The wine is straw-yellow, with a vibrant nose suggesting green apples and lemons, lightly floral, with some breadth that hints of a touch of aging in older barrels. The wine is bone dry, with high acidity that focuses the crisp, tart fruit, balanced by a leesy richness. Piercing apple and lemon fruit converge as a saline minerality rises towards the finish. Brilliant.
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2014, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #268342 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100I believe that this is the third Vintages release of the 2014 Estate Chardonnay from Henry of Pelham over the past year or so, and I've rated it similarly each time. The main difference now is that the oak frame is really beginning to integrate, and while there is still a slight resinous note on the nose, it is now mostly lemon and apple fruit, with a light vanilla undertone. The wine is dry, with brisk acidity, balanced alcohol, and a lightly creamy texture. The oak is receding on the palate, leaving vibrant but now mellowing apple and lemon fruit. The finish is lengthy. This is a great value that is drinking nicely now, but will reward three or more additional years of cellar time.
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY EST. WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY AC 2013
Vintages #455147 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100La Chablisienne is the large (and very good) co-operative producer of Chablis, and it is interesting that they would bottle this wine as a "Bourgogne" rather than as Chablis, since it really fits the profile of a base Chablis. Perhaps some of the grapes come from outside Chablis, though I couldn't find any details on this. The wine is light straw in colour, with a "green" tonality to the nose: green apples, lemon-lime, and green herbs. It is bone-dry, with high acidity, moderate alcohol, and a clean, crisp, fresh and vibrant palate, backed by some clean stony minerality. Simple but quite delicious, and a truly excellent value.
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
JOSEPH CATTIN HATSCHBOURG TRÉSOR DES SEIGNEURS PINOT GRIS 2013, AC Alsace Grand Cru
Vintages #260240 • $27.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is an interesting introduction to a richly styled Alsatian Pinot Gris from the Grand Cru Hatschbourg vineyard. The wine is medium gold in hue, with a high-intensity nose suggesting ripe peaches and apricots, Meyer lemon, and yellow apples, and hints of ginger and almonds. The wine is medium-dry (23 grams/litre of residual sugar), with balanced alcohol and acidity, creamy and quite luscious on the palate. The nutty and spicy character develops a little more on the palate, complementing the rich, ripe and complex fruits, that also take on a suggestion of dried fruits as well. A fine value for this Grand Cru wine from Alsace.
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • DIONYSUS WINES & SPIRITS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CAVE SPRING CELLARS ESTATE BOTTLED GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #302059 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is an excellent Gewürztraminer from Cave Spring. The wine is medium yellow, with a complex nose that begins with pretty florality — white flowers, peach and apple blossoms — followed by fruit notes suggesting ripe peaches, apricots, red apples, lemons and melons. The wine is off-dry, with balanced alcohol and acidity, and some richness on the palate. Add a honeyed and marmalade quality to the cornucopia of fruit on the palate — so rich and dense. This is a fine value and a very well-made wine, not to be missed.
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • CAVE SPRING CELLARS LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MARIA PAPOILA VINHO VERDE DOC 2014
Vintages #408146 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100This blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho is not your fresh, effervescent Vinho Verde, and it's not intended to be so. The wine seems to have spent at least a short period on its lees, and certainly had no C02 added. The wine is light yellow, lightly floral, with aromas of lemon, apple, apricot and white peach, and a firm, stony undernote. The wine is just off-dry, although the brisk acidity largely masks any sweetness. The palate has a slightly waxy and honeyed tone that softens the acidity, but doesn't mask the stony minerality that gathers on the finish. An excellent value.
Tasted Aug 19, 2016 • FREE HOUSE ONTARIO WINE & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation