available from October 15, 2016
I am recommending two sparkling wines from this release. The first is a non-vintage champagne, the non-vintage De Castelnau Brut Réserve, and the second is a very good and competitively priced Crémant de Bourgogne, the Louis Bouillot Perle D’Aurore Brut Rosé.
I presented a list of attractive red wines in the companion article on this release, and here I present my recommended white table wines. I’ve been on a bit of a Chardonnay kick lately, but when there is so much good, elegant and drinkable Chardonnay available, why not go with the flow? I begin with two Chablis, the excellent 2014 Jean-Marc Brocard Butteaux Chablis 1er Cru, and the 2015 Louis Moreau Chablis. I continue with a good basic Burgundy, the fresh and crisp 2015 Maison Chanzy Bourgogne Chardonnay. Finally I found two good examples from the new world, the 2015 Catena Chardonnay from Mendoza, Argentina, and a rather restrained but still very Californian 2014 Buena Vista Chardonnay from the Sonoma portion of Carneros.
Next are two attractive Rieslings. The first is from the Mosel, the 2015 Dr. Loosen Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett, while the second is from the Beamsville Bench in Niagara, the 2015 Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling.
The final two wines take us a tiny step off the beaten path, although I’m pretty sure that anyone who takes that step will appreciate these very much. The first is a Grenache Blanc blend from southern France, the 2015 Saint-Roch Vieilles Vignes Côtes du Roussillon. The second is an interesting Pinot Gris (definitely not Grigio) from the Waipara Valley in New Zealand, the 2015 Mount Brown Estates Pinot Gris.
DE CASTELNAU BRUT RÉSERVE CHAMPAGNE AC
Vintages #453688 • $49.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91.5/100The wine is medium straw-yellow in hue. The nose entices, exhibiting both ripe and lightly bruised apple, with lemon, hints of ginger, caramel, white chocolate and sweet brioche. The wine is dry, with firm acidity that underpins a creamy richness on the palate, and that focuses into the crisp, mineral finish. Nicely balanced overall, with some real complexity and interest. Good value for Champagne.
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • IMPRESE INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE D'AURORE BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE , Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, Franc
Vintages #48793 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is a very good Crémant. It is a pretty salmon colour, with a slightly reticent nose that shows some cherry and berry fruit, with a hint of toast. But the wine jumps on the palate, with bright acidity that enhances the fruit — crisp, elegant and vibrant. The subtle toasty note adds some breadth, complementing the creamy texture, while a little residual sugar is masked by the acidity. Overall this is very attractive, and a great value.
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
JEAN-MARC BROCARD BUTTEAUX CHABLIS 1ER CRU AC 2014
Vintages #294165 • $46.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 92/100Butteaux is a premier cru vineyard that is actually inside the larger (and better known) Montmains premier cru. It is situated southwest from the town of Chablis, across the Serein River from the Grand Cru sites, and has a south-east aspect. The wine is medium straw-yellow. Smoky-mineral aromas lead into crisp, fresh green apple and lime fruit notes. The wine is bone-dry, with high acidity and balanced alcohol. The palate certainly has some weight and a light creaminess from the wine's time on fine lees. But overall it has a firm, acidic, mineral and limestone character, with the fruit present but understated. It finishes long, with an impression of lime-tinged chalky stones. Brilliant!
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • PREVEDELLO AND MATHEWS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LOUIS MOREAU CHABLIS AC 2015
Vintages #124305 • $25.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100The wine is light straw in colour. Aromas of crisp green apples, lemon, lime, white flowers and wet chalk fill the nose. The wine is bone-dry, with high acidity, balanced alcohol and a medium body. The palate is crisp and fresh, with tart green apple and citrus fruit flavours leading into a stony finish. A very good base Chablis.
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • ARTISANAL WINE IMPORTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MAISON CHANZY BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2015, AC Bourgogne
Vintages #470468 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100This is a very good basic white Burgundy. The wine is light straw with hints of green. Lime, green apple, honeydew melon and green herb notes fill the nose. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, modest alcohol and a medium body. On the palate the light resin and vanilla tones nicely complement the fresh, crisp fruit. A fine value.
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • TASTEVIN SELECTIONS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CATENA CHARDONNAY 2015, Mendoza
Vintages #918805 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100The Catena Chardonnay is mid-yellow in hue, with aromas suggesting lemon, apple and white peach fruit, and a light dusting of vanilla. The wine is dry, with bright acidity, and balanced alcohol. The palate is slightly creamy, nicely softening the fruit and spice. There is certainly a sense of underlying oak that gives the palate some breadth rather than specific oak-derived flavours. This is a very well-made wine, and a fine value.
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
BUENA VISTA CHARDONNAY 2014, Carneros, Sonoma County
Vintages #67405 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100The wine is medium yellow in colour. Light resin, vanilla and smoky notes lead to yellow apple, ripe pear and lemon fruit aromas. The palate is surprisingly fresh, clean and crisp, oak is moderate, apple and lemon fruit are expressive, and the finish is lengthy. Nicely balanced — a refined and elegant California Chardonnay at a surprisingly fair price.
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • FAMILY WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DR. LOOSEN BLUE SLATE RIESLING KABINETT 2015, Prädikatswein
Vintages #160846 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is a delicious Riesling. The wine is light straw in hue. An envelope of stony minerality with a hint of rubber surrounds a core of red apple, lemon, melon and white peach aromas, with some ginger spice and a hint of fresh herbs. The wine is medium-dry, with high acidity and low alcohol. On the palate the fresh apple, lime and peach flavours take on a slightly honeyed and spicy character, but the seam of focused acidity remains vibrant to the lengthy, luscious finish. An excellent wine at a great price.
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • SELECT WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2015, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #251439 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is my favourite estate-level Riesling from Fielding to date. The wine is watery white, and the nose vibrant and fresh, with aromas reminiscent of lemon, red apples, peach and peach blossoms, and underlying it all, a hint of stony minerality. The wine is certainly off-dry, but high acidity masks a great deal of the residual sugar, and defines the palate, which, though quite luscious on the attack, dries into a tart, citric and stony finish. While the wine is very accessible and charming, it has the backbone to stand up to spicy food. Of course it will serve as a delicious aperitif too.
Tasted Oct 4, 2016 • FIELDING ESTATE WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON AP 2015
Vintages #175232 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100There is a lot going on here in this Grenache Blanc blend from southern France. The wine is light straw, with light floral, fresh lemon, green apple, and pear aromas fronting riper peach and apricot notes. It is dry, with fresh acidity and nicely balanced alcohol. There is good weight on the palate, counter-balanced by brisk acidity that carries the elegant fruit into a long finish. I like this a great deal, and it's an excellent value too.
Tasted Sept 16, 2016 • GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MOUNT BROWN ESTATES PINOT GRIS 2015, Waipara Valley, South Island
Vintages #466037 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100While Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are perhaps better-known wines from the Waipara Valley, this Pinot Gris shows itself as a variety and style that excels there. The wine is medium straw in colour, with aromas suggesting rich, ripe apple, yellow melon, apricot, peach and white grapefruit. It is dry, with balanced acidity and alcohol, and a rich, creamy body. The ripe pomaceous and stone fruit are countered by a slight drying bitterness on the finish. This is a terrific value and well worth exploring. Highly recommended.
Tasted Oct 11 2016 • SANTOS FINE WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation