The Chardonnay featured today is a Burgundy from the Cote Côte Chalonnaise sub-region, and, more specifically, the Montagny AOC. Personally, I am much more of a red wine drinker, and when I do go for whites, Chardonnay is not generally my first choice. I like trying new wines of all sorts, though, and this particular one turned out to be decidedly good…
- Winery: EARL Clos Salomon
- Price: $27.70 CDN
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: < 1.2 g/L
This Chardonnay has a very pale straw color with a slight greenish tint. It has green and golden apples on the nose with faint floral notes, some peach and a touch of honey. It is medium full bodied with a rich, almost buttery texture. The acidity is refreshing and the initial impact is robust with the sharp savor of green apple followed by a more mellow fruitiness. It has some floral tones, and a woody note along with a very faint hint of fennel. The overall effect is well-rounded and very nice indeed.
Two summers ago, I tried the 2014 vintage of this particular Pinot Noir and my notes, though brief, were not all that complimentary and I gave it a two star rating. I gave three stars to a 2013 Merlot from the same winery, but again, my notes didn’t sing high praises and I was thus not expecting a great deal here. As it happens, though, this selection turned out very nicely…
- Winery: Kim Crawford Wines
- Price: $20.00 at SAQ
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: 2.7 g/L
The color is a medium dark ruby and I noted a tiny bit of effervescence on decanting, although this dispersed quickly. The nose is muted, though very slightly aromatic, and there is a base fruitiness of raspberry and cherry along with a very faint floral scent. The body is medium light and the texture quite smooth. It is off dry and the acidity quite strong with tannins that present intermittently yet are still nicely prominent here and there. The dominant impact is of tangy, almost citrus-y, red-fruit, and this is complemented with a nice woodiness, and a faint touch of pepper. It is a nice refreshing sipping wine.
I was rather intrigued by the name of this wine but, after having a look on-line for an explanation, I am still in the dark as to the inspiration. The bottle simply declares it to be a blend without specifying any varietals, but the vintners website lists the composition as being Merlot 56%, Cabernet Sauvignon 41%, Pinot Noir 2%, Cabernet Franc 1%. The sugar content is quite high but, ultimately, the actual effect is not that sweet…
- Winery: The Malivoire Wine Company
- Price: $15.95 at LCBO
- Alcohol: 12.5%
- Sugar: 13 g/L
The color is a fairly dark cherry red with a faint purple tint. An aromatic nose is dominated by red fruit and ripe dark berries and there is a pleasant sawdust quality with light floral notes and just an ephemeral hint of vanilla. It is medium bodied with a fairly smooth texture and the moderate sweetness is nicely offset by a medium acidity that rises just after the beginning before the nicely smooth and moderate tannins develop. The fruitiness is more sour than is suggested on the nose, having an almost citrusy character, but there is a nice blackcurrant note right at the start. There is a bit of oakiness, and just a hint of spice coming through near the end, but the finish a little short. Still, it is not a bad sipping wine and should appeal to a broad range of tastes and do well as an aperitif.
The Rully AOC appellation of Burgundy includes both red and whites from the Chalonnaise subregion, with Pinot Nor and Chardonnay being the main varietals. Today’s selection is a Pinot Noir, and a very nice one indeed….
- Producer: Domaine Claudie Jobard
- Price: $29.95 CDN
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: 1.8 g/L
The color is a very dark cherry red. It has an exceptionally aromatic nose with cherry, raspberry and dark fruit dominating above some highlights that are faintly floral and grassy. The texture is fairly smooth and medium bodied and the effect is quite dry. The acidity and tannins are both moderately light and well balanced, with the tannins lasting fairly long into a decent finish. Blackcurrant and sweet cherry dominate the fruits and the floral quality of the nose is far more pronounced on the palate. There is also a spicy, peppery quality, along with a definite woodiness and leather, that all develop well together at first, with wood and pepper finishing. The floral quality is a bit strong, but, overall, this is a lovely sipping wine.
Chablis, is well a well known name and refers to Chardonnays from Burgundy, but, while there is a specific Chablis AOC, there is also a lesser known ‘Petit Chabis’ AOC as well. The wines belonging to this AOC are sometimes regarded as the ‘jewels’ of Chablis, but I was not overly impressed with today’s representative selection …
- Winery: Domaine Chevalier
- Price: $23.55 at SAQ
- Alcohol: 12%
- Sugar: 3.4 g/L
This Chardonnay is a medium straw color with a slight reddish tint. The nose is muted with very little in the way of fruitiness. It is very strong on straw and dried grass and also has a sulfur component. It is off dry and moderately acidic with muted sour apple flavors coupled with hay, and there is a strong vegetal and mineral presence as well. I thought the balance was ragged and the overall effect not especially pleasing.
The rather cutesy name of this particular selection made me suspicious that it might be an over-sweet wine with little in the way of complexity but, to my pleasure, it turned out to be very nice. I ended up giving it a five star rating because the general quality is deserving given the decently low price. Even those who prefer whites to reds may find this pleasing…
- Winery: Cupcake Vineyards
- Price: $14.65 CDN
- Alcohol: 13.5%
- Sugar: 3.7 g/L
This Californian table wine is actually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (84%) and Merlot (16%). It is a very dark ruby in color and medium-full bodied with a smooth texture. The nose is quite aromatic with red fruit and blackberry along with some jam-like notes and just a hint of vanilla. It is off-dry with mild acidity and smooth tannins that balance very well. The taste is boldly fruity, with plum, ripe raspberry and elderberry in the mix, and there is a floral component along with a pleasing spiciness. The acidity picks up into a decently long finish and , right near the end there is a faint woody, even slightly earthy, quality. This is a very nice wine that should have a broad appeal.
As I have mentioned before, the wine classification scheme in Burgundy is the most complex in all France, with geographical location being supplanted by a classification system of all. The top-most of these is the ‘Grand Cru’ designation, with the second being Premier (1er) Cru. Today’s Chardonnay, is from the Cote Chalonnaise subregion of Burgundy, where there is not only a Montagny AOC, but 49 vineyards in the district that are entitled, as with this selection, to carry the Montagny 1er Cru AOC on their labels…
- Winery: La Cave des Vignerons de Buxy
- Price: $24.95 CDN
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar < 1.2 g/L
The color of this Chardonnay is a very pale, slightly greenish yellow. The fruity component of the nose is muted, but slightly aromatic, and there is a flinty, mineral quality with some notes of grass and hay. The texture is smooth and the brisk acidity strikes sharply at first, but in a way that is refreshing rather than overwhelming. There are green and yellow apple notes beneath a very pleasant woodiness, and these components are rounded out by a faint smoky honey effect. This a very decent Chardonnay, and probably one of the better ones I have tasted thus far.
This selection is a Pinot Noir from Burgundy’s Gevrey-Chambertin AOC in the Cote de Nuits Subregion. At $56, it is approaching the upper limit of what I will generally pay for a bottle of wine outside a restaurant and, unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing. I might have given a three star rating if this had been a relatively cheap purchase, but, given the price-tag, I only rate it at two…
- Winery: Bouchard Père & Fils
- Price: $56.25 at SAQ
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: 2.1 g/L
This Pinot Noir medium ruby with a slightly rusty quality. The nose is quite aromatic featuring cherry and raspberry, with robust floral notes and a faintly vegetal, forest-floor undertone. It is medium bodied and quite dry with an acidity that kicks in immediately and then mellows as the tannins develop. The latter are smooth at first but get a bit jarring towards the end and leave a faintly acrid taste in a finish that is quite short. The dominant taste is sour cherry with some plum, and the floral quality of the nose comes through but is more muted. There is a woodiness but no special highlights. Possibly a few more years will improve the roughness of this vintage.
I am loathe to ever give a single star rating to wines… chiefly, that means they are virtually non-drinkable. This specimen, being a Merlot blend from Bordeaux, came very close to such a rating….
Producer: Union des Producteurs de Rauzan-Grangeneuve
Price $12.65 at SAQ
Alcohol: 12% Sugar: 2.8 g/L
Blend: Merlot: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon: 25%
The color is a very opaque red-purple. There are very muted dark-red fruits on the nose coupled with the sweetness of jam and a vaguely,meaty, animal quality. The body is medium and the effect off-dry with an acidity that rises at the start and fades quickly. The tannin are quite smooth generally, but lurk in the background and only really assert themselves as a slight acerbity near the finish. The dominant mouth effect is of cherry cough syrup and candy floss along with a woodiness paired with a burnt paper quality. In all, this is not a complex wine or nice tasting and not one I would even buy for cooking, much less drinking.
Pouilly-Fuisse is one of those wine names that became lodged in my mind long before I ever became a confirmed oenophile. Like, say, ‘Chateau Lafite Rothschild’, or ‘La Veuve Clicquot, the name carries a certain cachet, but, until now, I had never tried one of these.
The Pouilly-Fuisse AOC belongs to the Maconnais sub-region of Burgundy and the grape used in that AOC is exclusively Chardonnay. I am not a huge fan of that varietal, as I think I have mentioned before, but this particular wine is very good indeed….
- Producer: Albert Bichot
- Price: $25.40 CDN
- Alcohol : 13.3%
- Sugar: 1.6 g/L
The color is a fairly pale straw color with a faint greenish tinge. The nose is quite aromatic with aromas of honey, peach and green apple, with some moderately strong floral highlights, and there are background tones of dry grass and sawdust. The body is medium full and the texture quite smooth, albeit with a mineral hard edge. It is very dry, with a sharp burst of acidity at the outset that moderates through to the nice long finish. The fruitiness of the nose is not quite as forward in the mouth but the woodiness is much more apparent and has a quality of fresh cut wood with a surprising hint of balsam. There are mineral notes beneath a mellow honey taste and, overall, the wine is sharply refreshing and interesting.