By DEAN TUDOR
From Chateau des Charmes :
1. Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – St. David’s Bench, $15.95: cork finished unlike the NOTL bottling of their sauvignon blanc. Typical MVC but greater than expected at this price level: gooseberries, nettles, herbs, citrus. Useful as aperitif and with savoury first courses. From the generally excellent 2007 vintage, it should keep for a few years as a Sancerre would. 12.5% ABV (3,523 cases made).
2. Aligoté 2007 – Niagara on the Lake, $13.45: uniquely grown at Chateau des Charmes. Aligoté is the wine of choice in Kir; it is the second white wine of Burgundy. In profile, it is a bit like chardonnay but near the sauvignon blanc end: crispy citrus-green apple. 12% ABV (2,169 cases).
3. Gamay Noir Droit 2007 – St. David’s Bench, $16.95: here is another specialty of the Bosc family. The GN Droit is so-named because the vine shoots straight up – it has been developed through clonal research, and ripens almost two weeks later than regular Gamay. Thus, there are higher sugar levels and deeper colour. It is a body and soul wine in its gamay flavour profile. 13% ABV (2,484 cases).
and the new winemaker Bruce Nicholson, who announced four tiers: « Varietal series », « Reserve series », « Winemaker’s series », and « Founders’ series ».
1. Chardonnay Varietal Series 2006, $10.95: this is a fruit-driven chardonnay, with tones of citrus and green apples, moving through to the finish. Tastes unoaked. 12% ABV (36,000 cases).
2. Chardonnay Reserve 2006, $15.50: some tropicality supported by vanilla from the oak aging complexity, nicely balanced on the finish. 12.5% ABV (4,200 cases).
3. Riesling Varietal Series 2007, $12.25: MVC aromas of lean apples and lemons, some pear drops developing on the mid-palate through to the finish. 11% ABV (5,000 cases).
4. Riesling Reserve 2007, $14.25: honeyed tones support some apples and lemons, grapefruit, long soft acid finish for food. 11.5% ABV (1,400 cases).
5. Pinot Noir Varietal Series 2007, $14.95: red fruit tones (raspberry, cranberry, and even rhubarb) still need time to resolve. 12.5% ABV (11,200 cases).
6. Pinot Noir Reserve 2007, $18.25: plum has been added to the cranberry-raspberry flavours, indicating some smoky wood aging and balancing. Needs time, but should be voluptuous based on the year. 12.5% ABV (3,000 cases).
7. Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2006, $69.95, Vintages Dec. 6, in a premium black gift box. 375 mL size, of course. 9% ABV (lower than the 2005 which was 11.5% ABV). No oak aging. MVC tones of nectarine, apricot, some ginger, with pear and citrus on the mid-palate. More a frizzante or petillant than a full-blown sparkler. Best by itself with no food (1,440 bottles).
8. Riesling Icewine 2007, $70.05, Vintages Dec. 6. 375 mL size. A classic, with tones of lime and grapefruit, found in many Ontario Rieslings. Ripe peaches too, of course, finishing with some austere minerality. 190 cases