Even More Whites you should get to know!

It’s time for the third white wine evening with still more whites you may not have discovered before. How many more could there be? you ask?

I know it’s unthinkable that there are still more to explore!
But it’s true!
I found and purchased the only bottles of the new Italian ‘trending’ Arneis from Roero, Northern Italy; as well as a Columbia Valley Washington Semillon; a South African Chenin Blanc; a Santorini Assyrtiko from Greece; a Chablis and a white Bordeaux that you may not have tried (or at the very least, tried together!)

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Arneis, Malvira Arneis -Roero Piedmonte,  Italy

“ARH-NEYZ”,Malvira Roero, Piedmonte Italy

LCBO Vintages #  418814        $17.95  12.5% alc    3 G/L

Light to medium-bodied, silky texture, moderate acidity. Usually un-oaked, Floral and vibrant with minerality

Weighty fruit and crisp acidity

Pear, apricot and flowers

  • North West Italy, on the French border, home of massively tannic reds Barolo and Barbaresco
  • The best Arneis are in Roero and Langhe Appellations, as well as Liguria (home to pesto pastas) and Sardinia.
  • Pairs well with white sauce pasta, med-weight fish, veal roasts and as an aperitif/digestif
  • Initially planted as pest control, as a bird decoy to protect the expensive and valuable reds.

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Chablis

Alain Geoffroy Beauroy Chablis 1er Cru,  Burgundy, France

LCBO Vintages #733501  $29.95   13% alc  2G/L

Pale gold with green highlights

Clean and crisp

Yellow plum, pear, citrus and flowers

Great finesse and elegance

  • Near the village of Poinchy, south-facing, 30-40 year old vines
  • Soil is Kimmeridgien clay limestone marl
  • Alcoholic and malolactic fermentations in vats
  • Pairs well with soft/goat/blue cheeses, seafood/shellfish, poultry, oysters, grilled white fish, pasta with pesto, mussels with lemon herb

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Assyrtiko – Boutari Santorini Greece

“A SEER TEE KO”

LCBO Vintages #47985  $18.95   13.5 alc   3 G/L

Mineral and citrusy character; green apple and pear, green olive and salinity

  • Vineyards of Santorini are the oldest in Greece (300 years old)
  • Vines not grafted on American rootstock because Phylloxera (vine louse) has never attacked the island
  • Defunct volcanic Caldera loam soil, dry soil. Caldera is a large rectangular lagoon measuring 12 x 7 kms
  • Bush vines are wrapped like woven baskets. Coils hug the ground, over decades nutrients travel far and eventually the vine is cut back to the trunk and training starts all over again. The roots on many vines may be centuries old
  • Pair with seafood, poultry white meat and fish

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Semillon L’Ecole No. 41, Columbia Valley, Washington US

LCBO Vintages #982157 $24.95  13-14.5%alc    2 G/L

Vibrant fruit, balance acidity. Orange blossom, jasmine, honeyed aromas.

Layers of lemon custard, grapefruit, tangy tangerine peel, fresh apricot and starfruit.

Creamy fig note on the finish ?not so much with this one, it’s very very heavy on the oak flavours

When young: melon and pear; reveals honey and nuts as they develop.

  • Rain shadow of Cascade mountain range, vast array of meso-climates; consistent sunny conditions assure great typicity, ripeness and purity of expression
  • 2013 was one of the warmest vintages; with cool nights produces crisp acidity
  • The heat continued in July and kept berry size smaller, thicker skinned, denser structure, highly coloured and flavourful. Harvest started in early September on warmer sites and a dramatic change in the weather mid-September shifted to cool but dry though the rest of the harvest. Slowing down brix and providing ideal hang time for structure and flavour development
  • Barrel fermented 50% wine aged sur Lie for several months
  • Creamy fig notes gives opportunity for interesting food pairing options: meat/fruit combos, Moroccan

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White Bordeaux Blend

Chateau Marinon Blanc; Entre-deux-mers Bordeaux France

LCBO Vintage # 421230   $14.95               13% alc      4 G/L

Zesty, herbal, medium weight; Grassy-citrus, white flower, white pepper, citrus fruits, lime curd, lemon zest, and fresh grass

  • Entre-deux-Mers ( translated means between two tides; thought to originate from Maree= tides not Mers= sea); Between the Garonne and Dordogne (tidal) rivers
  • Entre-deux-Mer has one of the longest histories as a wine producing area in France; dates back 2,000 years. First planted grape vines by ancient Romans
  • Largest Bordeaux wine producing Appellation @ 10,000 hectares, with 250 growers.
  • Only whites from Appellation are labelled Entre-deux-Mers; Nine different AOC in this Bordeaux appellation; .Best reds sold as Bordeaux Superior wine
  • Ageing in oak barrels, stirred Lees, Lees left at the bottom of barrel builds texture, creamy aromas and flavours
  • Not an obvious wine, nothing like a Sancerre nor the pungency of New Zealand

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Chenin Blanc; Mulderbosch; Western Cape, South Africa

LCBO Vintage #675421    $14.95   13.5% alc     4G/L

Golden tinged pale straw with green hue

Aromas of wet river stones, white flower, tangy tropical fruit: ripe mango and pineapple fruit, frangipani (Hawaiian Lei flowers)

Invigorating and fresh, lots of oak and chalkiness; kelpy minerality

  • The Capes signature variety with the largest planting in the world.
  • Cultivating since 1600’s
  • Dry farmed bush vines with 40% trellised
  • Ripeness levels varied
  • Ferment in barriques
  • 5% new French oak, 5%2nd/3rd fill French oak, 90% stainless steel tanks for 8 months, rests on lees for 8 months before blending

Sitting round after the tasting …

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Willamette Valley – Amity Vineyards

Amity Vineyards, the genesis for the whole road trip. Two years ago I found and purchased a bottle of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Amity was its name. I loved it so!

I have yet to find another in the liquor store in my town.  But my enjoyment stuck with me. A deep garnet fuller-bodied ripe Pinot Noir.   Very different from our cold climate Pinots bracing with minerality. Which I love. Don’t get me wrong.

We had such a great time here, it was the last tasting of the day and so relaxed and welcoming, our hostess stayed an hour later on her shift unbeknownst to us at the time(or we would have moved along).  Amity Vineyards was our favourite, hands down.

Fermented in stainless steel tanks, the wines take on the true characteristics and flavors of their varietals and flourish as easy-drinkers.

Myron Redford a pioneer in Oregon wine, started making wine at Amity Vineyards in 1974.  Made famous on his  Pinot Noir, the vineyard is known for its high-quality, fruit forward wines. The tasting room is located in Amity, Oregon.

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Pinot the vineyard cat

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Pinot and Noir….yes!  how could they not be?

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Smoky haze from the forest fires in the central and western part of the state .  I only realised upon returning home that we should have been able to see Mt Hood from Portland but we missed it because of the haze.

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The only winery to serve us snacks!

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Willamette Valley – Domaine Drouhin

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From the website http://www.domainedrouhin.com/en/
The Drouhin Family’s winemaking roots run deep, having taken hold in Burgundy’s best vineyards more than a century ago. Through the years, there has been a very clear link, a continuum, that inhabits Maison Joseph Drouhin, and now Domaine Drouhin Oregon.

Our estate winery in the Dundee Hills creates elegant, fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines forged from our family’s tradition of fine winemaking in France. For more than 25 years, the Drouhin Family has brought a wealth of hard-earned experience to their vineyards in the Willamette Valley, just southwest of Portland, Oregon.

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Willamette Valley – Erath Vineyards

https://www.erath.com/winery/storyOfErath/

The Story of Erath

Erath wines are an expression of the land that the winery has cultivated for more than 40 years, longer than any other winery in the Dundee Hills of Oregon. The red, iron-rich Jory soils, combined with gentle breezes and warming sunshine of a marine climate, have bestowed upon Dundee a terroir of note. It has given rise to the handcrafting phenomenon, and the art of Pinot.

As one of Oregon’s wine pioneers, Dick Erath had always been as tenacious in his approach to Pinot as the Pinot grape is stubborn. The engineer-turned-viticulturist was first inspired to pursue winemaking in 1965 after an early garage experiment. After completing coursework at UC-Davis in 1968, Erath relocated his family from California to the untamed red hills of Dundee. An unheated logger’s cabin on 49 acres would serve as home – and ad hoc winery – for several years.

The following spring, he planted the Dundee Hill’s first wine grapes – 23 varieties. Pinot Noir flourished.

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Willamette Valley – Adelsheim Vineyard

https://www.adelsheim.com/about-us/vineyards/

Most of Adelsheim’s eleven estate vineyards are on the Chehalem Mountains (pronounced “Sha-HAY-lem”), now a highly-respected viticultural area within Oregon’s north Willamette Valley. Our history is closely tied to this area. We planted our original vineyard here in 1972 and ours was the first winery in these mountains.

All the small AVAs recently created in the north Willamette Valley are different. And yet, when viewed on a broader perspective, the wines from the hundreds of sites in the Valley share certain characteristics – they have an intensity of fresh fruit aromas, there is a backbone of acidity which, combined with round, structural tannins, gives these wines liveliness and age ability.  Even the Willamette Valley, a very large AVA already, shares certain things with the rest of Oregon. Interestingly, those things are less about climate and soil and more about people.

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Summer Sparklers!

Summer sparklers

(for Barb’s birthday-gals celebrations)

An evening enjoying and de-mystifying Sparkling wine.

Sparkling wine is always produced from new wine, right after its first fermentation. The new wine is often mixed with other wines from several grape varieties, terroirs and vintages to become the ‘cuvée’ (blend). This cuvée guarantees a constant quality of the sparkling wine, regardless of harvest’s and vintage. And shows the skills of the winemaker. The most important characteristic of a sparkling wine is the secondary fermentation which is induced with a mixture of wine, yeast and sugar called the dosage.

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Delice de Bourgogne (Chasing The Cheese @CheeseNymphs)

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Spanish Cava – Freixenet Brut Negro, Penendes Spain

(Traditional method)

#216945         $13                                 9 G/L Sugar              12 % alc

Pale straw colour. Apple, ripe pear, bright citrus fruit nose. Light yeasty with mineral notes – creamy smoky mouth-feel. Stone fruit: white peach and citrus flavours; grapefruit and ginger finish.

varietals: Parellada 40% (fruit and finesse); Macabeu 35% (assists with aging); Xarel-lo 25% (robustness and acidity)

Macabeu is also called Viura when used as a principal grape in Rioja.

First fermentation in tank for 10-12 days. Second fermentation in bottles in caves for 18 months.

Food pairings: Potato chips! Tapas, tuna, lobster, eggs benedict, oysters caviar, sushi and apps

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Prosecco – Mionetto Il; Valdobbiadene, Veneto, ItalyIMG_9552nc

Charmat/tank method –Soft pressing with must separated

#588053         $14        14 G/L       10.5% alc

Varietal: Glera

Med pale straw colour      Citrus, white pear, melon and floral notes

Dry light bodied crisp and refreshing acidity, * Frizzante with a short citrus finish

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Cono Sur -Bio Bio Valley, Chile

Charmat/tank method

100% Pinot Noir (sustainable and organic viticulture)

#365205          $14               12 G/L Sugar……….12.5 %alc

Pale salmon pink colour. Carbonic maceration in open steel tank.

Raspberry, gooseberry and cherry, rhubarb and blueberries; minerality and creamy hints with bright acidity. On the palate as on the nose sweet red berry fruit with a clean finish.

Cono Sur is present in all premier wine regions in Chile. Bio Bio with the lowest temperatures during ripening season so a natural for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Food pairings: seafood and fried fish, goat cheese, marinated oysters, panko fried fish in vanilla oil.

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Cremant D’Alsace Brut

Pierre Sparr Alsace France

100 % Chardonnay (Blanc de blanc) – Traditional Method

#416040        $19        12 G/L        12.5%

On the nose fresh hay, lemon tart, apple turnovers with distinct flinty minerality

Medium bodied and flavourful with good tingle of acidity on the long finish.

*That typical Alsatian wonderfulness*

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Cremant de Bourgogne, Brut Rose

Louis Bouillot, a Nuits Saint Georges Burgundy France AOC

Traditional Method

Pinot Noir ( Blanc de Noir)

#48793      $ 20            13 G/L         12% alc

Crisp apple, raspberry and pear. Tart berry fruit and yeasty character that boosts the complexity. On the palate: hay bale, rhubarb Some dirt and barnyard was noticed. Very good length.

White wines you will want to get to know

Albarino, Verdejo, Torrontes, Sylvaner, Gruner Veltliner and Viognier all sound like exotic place names rather than wines.

Come, enjoy an evening discovering new white wine varietals. Expand your palate, beyond the popular International varietals. (If you have been lucky enough to have tried one or two before, you already know you will have fun comparing the flight).  They’ve been sitting on the shelf at the wine store all this time. Right under your unsuspecting nose!

I look forward to seeing you at the tasting table,

slainte!

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ALBARINO “al- barin- eeo”

Abellio Albarino D.O. Rais Baixas “re-ahs  buy-shuss”, Spain

#408278 $12.85  12.5 % alc 4 G/L sugar  (bone dry)

Style: light, crisp, – do not age.

bracing, tangy, zippy and mouth-watering with dry minerality

Thick skins on grapes give the intensity of aromas

Fruity: lime, apple, grapefruit, peaches

Floral: blossoms: linden, hyacinth

Spicy: almond/almond paste

Herbal: grass

In Portugal this grape is called Alvarinho; a component of Vinho Verde

Suited to seafood, sushi, tikka masula, pad thai, Indian and Thai food as it is generally low in alcohol and has high acidity

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TORRONTESS “tor-ron-TESS”

Finca EL Origen Reserva; Valle de Cafayate, ArgentinaIMG_9393n

#262089    $15.95   14% alc   4 G/L 

Style: aromatic and flavourful

Medium bodied, well balanced with great structured acidity with soft finish

No oak – drink cold and young, the flavour is lost quickly in the air.

Super aromatic! Torrontess= torrent=aromatic

Starts sweet and finishes dry; similar to Viognier but dry crisp like Sauvignon Blanc

Fruity and floral (Jasmin, lilac)

Green apple, peach, apricot, citrus: orange, grapefruit, lavender and lichee

Versatile food pairing: Asian, Mexican, guacamole, seafood. Pairs well with smoked meats, chicken, aged cheeses, goat cheese

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SYLVANER  “sil-vah-ner”

Pierre Sparr Reserva, Alsace FranceIMG_9402n

#408179  $13.95   12 % alc  8 G/L

Style: aromatic and flavourful – misnomer! Not an aromatic grape

Bright acidity, neutral flavours, crisp and bone dry.

Light to med bodied and well structured.

Dry, floral and fruity: apples and limes, lemon, green apple, spicy quality

Pairs well with asparagus and artichokes, reacts well with onions because of neutral flavours, and surprisingly also Cilantro.

Seafood, fish, cold meats, pork, quiche, salads and vegetable dishes

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GRUNER VELTLINER   “grooner-velt-leener”

Wachau Durnstein Gruner Veltliner Federspiel

#375089   $14.95   12.5 % alc   4 G/L   Wachau, AustriaIMG_9404n

Style: Aromatic and flavourful

“drinking liquid stone”

“the green wine”

Pale lemon green, medium bodied with high acidity

Aromatic and mineral with spicy aromas

Vegetal, white pepper, stone-fruit, citrus: lemon, lime; celery, radish, ginger, crisp citrus fruit, and pear. Herbaceous, and mineral with creamy texture

Elegantly balanced

Good for difficult foods: onion, artichoke and asparagus

French charcuterie, Italian salami, camembert, grilled sardines, green salad, lentils, rabbit, Schnitzel, bratwurst, Asian, Indian, Indonesian, sweet and sour, marinades and sauces

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VERDEJO “ver-day-ho”

Fasto Verdejo Rueda – Rueda SpainIMG_9406n

#400200     $11.60   12.5 % alc   6 G/L

Style: light and crisp

Pale golden lemon, extra dry light in body with subtle aromas of lemon zest, ripe golden apple, grapefruit, passion fruit, anise and fennel hints of fresh herbs.

Ranges from herbaceous in cool vintages and early harvest to tropical fruit late harvests and warmer vintages.

Light in body with more citrus, tropical fruit and fresh herbs

Barrel fermentation can add richness and complexity and aging potential

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VIOGNIER “vee-oh-nay”

La Roche Viognier de la Chevalier, France

#377622       $12.90      13.5 % alc       4 G/LIMG_9408n

Style: Aromatic and flavourful

Deep colour yellow gold, perfume, low acidity (good varietal for blending)

Bone dry; floral and tropical notes, rich with dried fruits and orange blossoms, spices

6 months in steel tanks

Floral: orange blossom, violet, honey

Fruit: over-ripe apricots, mango, pineapple, kiwi, tangerine

Spice: anise, mint

Herbal: mown hay, tobacco

Mouthfeel: creamy, rich, full, viscous

Pairs well with foods that suggest sweet but are not sweet ie: Moroccan, Indian, chutney, mango salsa, tahini and sweet potato, fruit and spice flavours, richer white meats.

Teriyaki salmon, shellfish, General Tso chicken, parmesan risotto, scallop/crab/lobster

Don’t pair with lighter foods and avoid tart/acid based dressings as well as high heat because of high alcohol

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Processing bouquets and flavours:

Malolactic: butter, cream

Oak (light) vanilla, sweet wood

Oak (heavy) oak, smoke, toast

Alcohol: heat, burning